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The Good, Bad and Ugly of Study Abroad- How I’m Reliving Freshers

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Exeter chapter.

I will be brutally honest my year abroad studying has not been the dream experience I was expecting…. so far. I will share the trivial things that have made my month and a bit in Norway fun and not so fun. Let us begin with the positive experiences.


My first pro of my study abroad so far has been exploring an entirely new country. I had personally never been to Norway before coming here to study and it is beautiful. I love the architecture living by the ocean, hiking trails and swimming in the lakes. The main perk of where I live is only being a three-minute walk from a lake. I truly love the country.

Another perk has been immersing myself in a different culture. I am surrounded by the language, the people, the food, and the lifestyle. It is both educational and fun to live and breathe a culture different to your own. It has been quite enjoyable forgetting I am English for a while.

Another pro of moving abroad to study is experiencing the university experience somewhere other than Exeter. It is very different, that is for certain. The nightlife is not as prevalent. There are not many societies. The teaching is different as we do a lot of group assignments. Seeing the dynamics between different students abroad. It is all very interesting to me as an observer and as someone living it.


It has been hard to make friends. It is also very lonely. When first arriving, I was put into a social group with other exchange students but one negative with this is that people of the same nationality tend to stick together and unfortunately for me, there are very few British students. We were also given a talk on how hard it is to become friends with Norwegians because they are not very friendly. So far, I only have had one friend so it can be isolating.

Not having friends and family around to support you. I have very good relationships with my mother, boyfriend, and very close friends with whom I frequently call. However, without physical support, it can be challenging. I have especially found this when being unwell. Similarly, to Freshers in the UK the infamous ‘Freshers Flu’ exists here. I had the flu for a week or two shortly in term which put me in a challenging position mentally and physically. I am currently suffering from a mouth infection due to dodgy wisdom teeth growth. Both ailments have made me reach for more support much this is far more challenging being far away from my loved ones.

The other con for me is the language barrier. Despite all my teaching being in English and everyone speaking English it has still been an issue. This varies from going grocery shopping to ordering a coffee and making friends. I have found this to be an issue with Norwegian and International students. I have found it very challenging to form meaningful relationships with people who do not fully understand me as it is hard to get into deeper topics. This is especially an issue as they do not have societies here to meet people with common interests.

Final Thoughts

To summarise, my study abroad year thus far has had its ups and downs, perhaps more downs than ups currently. I truly feel like a fresher again. I remember having similar emotions when I first came to Exeter. Despite this, you must remember things do get better and there is always a solution. If you are feeling down, please contact Exeter Wellbeing as they can provide you with the resources and support you need to get through difficult times. I would also like to add not everyone’s Freshers experience or time abroad will be like mine and some will be enjoying it which is important to note when comparing yourself to others.

Good luck this year and have fun! Make sure to remind yourself to push yourself and join lots of societies and more likely than not the people you meet in Freshers will not be your best friends in three months. You have at least three whole years to have fun and make lifelong friends so do not feel like there is a rush to do so.  

BA Politics and Study Abroad student at the University of Exeter. I have a passion for journalism and wild swimming!