Int. Students Union
Orientation Manual for Incoming Students in Ås
Created by the International Student Union (ISU) at UMB
Dear incoming international students, it is a pleasure to welcome you to the University of Life Sciences in Ås. A small cosy and welcoming school, in a small student and farming town. We hope that this short Orientation Manual will help you best prepare for an exciting semester, or a full degree in our alma mater. We encourage that you attend the Introduction Week arranged by SIT (Student Information Center), where you will receive practical information about every aspect of your student and social life at UMB.
You recommend that you keep an eye on our website at http://www.umb.no/isu
and our facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/18710960744/
for updates, practical information on student events and developments around the campus.
Board of the International Students’ Union at UM Ås Community
The parish of Ås
was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838. Ås is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Akershus, with a population of 16.386 in 2009, that is the largest agricultural municipality of Akershus state. Two of Norway's largest highways, European route E6
and European route E18
, run through the municipality, and many of the inhabitants commute from Oslo. A 240 metre (787.4 ft) long bridge, which is a smaller scale recreation of a bridge that Leonardo da Vinci
proposed in 1502 for the crossing of the Golden Horn
is located in the municipality. It was created by Norwegian painter and artist Vebjørn Sand
as part of his Da Vinci project
. The bridge serves as a pedestrian crossing over European route E18. This bridge is famous among Japanese tourists, as they are often seen walking across. (Source: Wikipedia) University of Life Sciences - UMB
The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (Universitetet for miljø- og biovitenskap
, in Norwegian) is a public university, located in Ås, Norway. UMB has around 4000 students. The university is known for its beautiful campus, with spectacular, big and old trees, as well as ponds, flowers and bushes.
Established in 1859 as the Norwegian Agricultural Postgraduate College, it became a scientific university college (vitenskapelig høgskole
) in 1897 and received university status in 2005. Prior to 2005 it was known as Norges landbrukshøgskole (NLH), also in English as Agricultural University of Norway.
UMB is comprised of 8 departments and works closely with 5 centres on campus.
Education at UMB is characterised by its high professional quality, constant teacher-student interaction and a pleasant social and physical environment.
UMB is recognised as a leading international centre of knowledge, focused on higher education and research within environmental- and biosciences.
The university's main specialisation areas are:
- Land Use and Natural Resource Management
Several Master's programmes and one Bachelor programme are conducted fully in English.
It has a vibrant student body and a welcoming teaching and research staff. Do not be surprised to see the Rector of the school grilling for the incoming new students, or being the judge on silly ice-skating and show competition by student groups.
UMB has exchange agreements with more than 93 universities worldwide, including six Nordic, 44 European and eight North American institutions. Institutional partnerships with universities in developing countries are carried out mainly through the Department of International Environmental and Development Studies/Noragric. The objectives of UMB’s cooperation with universities abroad include building strong academic networks, facilitating international exchange and contributing to the competence building with universities in the south. Currently around 21% of student body is International students, which makes UMB the most international proportion-wise.
Among other distinguished UMB graduates are the late Wangari M. Maathai of Kenya, Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Lauri Kristian Relander, President of Finland. Cost of living
UMB recommends that students have a minimum budget of NOK 39,740 (about 5,300 EUR) per semester and NOK 90,800 (about 13,000 EUR) for a full academic year. According to Norwegian government statistics, the average student spends approximately between NOK 7000 (about 1,260 USD) and NOK 9000 (about 1,620 USD) per month.
Unless a student comes to UMB as a part of an exchange program, the student must prove to the Norwegian government that he or she has the above amounts to obtain a student visa. Transportation
The transportation page on the University website here http://www.umb.no/about-umb/article/how-to-find-the-university
, has detailed information on transportation to the university from the airport and other points of entry into Norway.
The bus, train and public transport in general is administered by Ruter in Oslo and Akershus. A bus ticket costs between 30 – 50 NOK depending on how far you are travelling, and can be bought directly on bus. Train
The train to Oslo is called ”Spikkestad” and leaves from Platform 1 in Ås station 34 minutes past every hour, and arrives in Oslo 30 minutes later. The train back to Ås is called ”Moss” and leaves 48 minutes past every hour, usually from platform 9 or 10 in Oslo Central Station. Make sure to keep tickets/receipts of all kind of transportation, while you are on board. Random checks are performed by MInistry of Transport and a fine of 900NOK or more may be enforced in case of absence of proof of ticket.
You can buy tickets from the ticket machine in the station, which accepts coins and bank cards only. You can also buy tickets on board the train, but it will cost 20Nok extra for each trip. The train tickets are also valid on public buses and are valid for more than 1.30 hours, so with a train ticket from Ås to Oslo for example you can also have a bus ride in Oslo for some time. Similarly with the return ticket to Ås you can take the bus back to Pentagon with the same ticket.
The monthly card will take you all over Oslo and Akershus by all means of public transport for 920 NOK a month, and is the best option if you intend to travel every day. For single trips the prices are 70 NOK one way to Oslo. There are no student discounts on this route. IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT TRAIN TRANSPORT:
The trains to and from Oslo consist of wagons called ”Betjent” and are black, and ”Ubetjent” that are orange. This is written clearly on each wagon, but it is important to know why they use this system: If you have a valid ticket, i.e you have a monthly card that is active, you can og into the orange ”Ubetjent” wagons. If you have just purchased your ticket from the machine, you must enter the black ”Betjent” wagon to get your ticket stamped by the conductor. If you go into the ”Ubetjent” orange wagon without stamping your ticket, you will be fined 900 NOK. To be sure the first times you use the train, just ask the conductor when you get on the train which wagon you should go to.
For more information about prices please see: http://ruter.no/en/
for buses and and http://nsb.no
for trains. Note:
Prices indicated are subject to change, check the above mentioned websites for the latest price and route information. Gardermoen Airport
is the main international airport. Major international airlines fly to Gardermoen. You can get to Gardermoen from Ås by regular train via one quick switch in Oslo Central Station (check nsb.no). However, you should buy ticket from Ås to Gardermoen, which will be cheaper then if you buy separate tickets from Ås to Oslo and then from Oslo to Gardermoen. There is also a bus from Korsegaarden in Aas, operated by Bussekspressen that goes to gardermoen Airport, however the ticket on the bus is much more expensive. Should you pick the bus option, make sure to show your student ID, to get 50% discount. The bus company website is http://www.nor-way.no/ Rygge Airport
is located near town of Moss not far from Aas. Students’ most favourite budget air carrier RyanAir.com operates flights from many European destinations to Rygge. Bussekspressent (www.nor-way.no) operates bus route from Korsegaarden to Rygge Airport for cheaper than Rygge Ekspress (http://ryggeekspressen.no/),
which has more frequent buses. Both bus companies offer student discounts. www.wizzair.com
are also considered budget airlines. They fly from Gardermoen airport.
There is a boat line from Oslo to Copenhagen operated by DFDS SEAWAYS. It is students’ favorite and ISU arranges 1-2 boat trips for International Students every year.
Another boat line goes from Oslo to Kiel in Germany.
Norwegian Registration and Bank Account
Registration with the Police/Apply for Residency Permit within Norway
Within 7 days of arriving in Norway, everyone who receives, or has yet to apply for, a residence or study permit must register with the police. At the International Department of police station in neighboring city named Ski, temporary residents must show their passport or other identification papers and provide all requested information. Students will receive a residence permit stamp in their passport.
Remember to take a number from the machine and wait.
The address is: Vestveien 16, 1400 Ski
Working hours: Tuesday 08.00 - 15.00
Wednesday 09.00 - 15.00
Thursday 08.00 - 17.00
Friday 08.00 - 15.00
The International Department does not work on Mondays. Bank Accounts
You will need your residence permit and social security number to open a bank account. Normally, you need a Norwegian identification number as well. However, students staying in Norway less than 6 months are not entitled to a standard Norwegian ID number. Instead, the bank will allocate you a special number designed for short-term residents, called a "D" number. As this can be a slow process, many students elect not to open a Norwegian bank account and instead pay by credit card or withdraw funds from their bank in the home country. Please get in touch with Vilma Bischof at SIT office, for more on financial information. Rough Guide to Your Monthly Budget in Ås
NOK3000 per month. Food
NOK2000 per month. Phone
NOK200 per month. Entertainment
NOK1000 per month. Part time work and work permit
Students can work up to 20 hours pr. week after they have registered with the police and got the Norwegian ID number. One needs to apply for Tax card at Skattekontoret (Tax Office) in town of Ski. Once you have got your Tax Card (skattekort) you give it your employee and can start working. Introduce yourselves with your working rights, benefits and procedures at NEW IN NORWAY website at
SIT usually distributes a copy of NEW IN NORWAY publication with all information during the Introduction Week.
Health and Counselling
The Social Consultant Torgeir Hansen at SiT will be able to help you with a wide range of issues, as well as for help with filling out state forms and paperwork, registering for a general practitioner/doctor etc. Students who get Norwegian ID number are part of the state insurance scheme that covers healthcare. The social consultant at UMB will help to register to have a family doctor/General practitioner, and then make appointments when service is needed. Services of the social consultant are free for UMB students. Check here for contact information:
Check here for useful health information:
Even though Healthcare is free, each visit to a doctor costs 200NOK or more. Additionally, examinations, lab tests, X-rays and other similar services are for fee and students have to cover such costs themselves. All visits to the doctor have to be done through booking an appointment. Social consultant will help with booking an appointment, if help needed. Surviving the Winter
Information on ISU webpage here http://www.umb.no/isu/article/new-in-norway will give you detailed information about winter clothing, food ratio and battling depression. Student Housing
Most first year students live in the Pentagon, a building south of the UMB campus. The Pentagon enhances the international UMB experience. Up to six people share a flat, which includes a private room and a shared toilet, shower, kitchen and living area. The Student Welfare Foundation (SiÅs
) oversees the Pentagon. Private housing in Ås is also available. You can look for options in primate housing market on www.finn.no, www.hybel.no, and www.sias.no public listings.
Entertainment Sports and outdoors activities
One of the main highlights of Norway is its nature and the all the outdoor activities you can practice year round. That is right: all year round!
During the summer and autumn months you can run and bike around the different picturesque country routes around Ås and/or venture to Drøbak and enjoy the fjord and the beautiful views.
While the summer season does not last very long, the winter also provides extra entertainment. Many winter activities are offered in Ås including cross-country skiing, skating, hockey, and tobogganing. So if you like skiing, hope for a good snowy season, and your skiing dreams may just come true here!
ISU has skates for weekly rental for a small fee. UMBI, university sports clubs has skis for weekly rental for a small fee. Social life in Ås
Although Ås is not necessarily bursting with places to go and things to see regarding nightlife, there is always the student society building, Samfunnet. Within the building there are 2 bars, a restaurant, and a cafe, which offer their services and usually have activities occurring to which the international students are encouraged to participate.
There are a couple of bars in the center of Ås that offer food and drinks. They offer student discounts on beer.
ISU with help of the social committee and various students regularly holds social events, competitions, International Food Fstivals, movie nights, salsa classes, theme trips around the area or to Oslo, cooking nights, coffee hours, Boat trips to Copenhagen etc. Keep an eye on ISU webite at www.umb.no/isu
and our facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/18710960744/
Apart from this, there are various student groups, choirs, clubs and unions on campus, offering a wide range of areas of interest to local as well as international students. Similarly, students organize themselves within Pentagon to have dinners and gatherings with each other on different days of the week, so you do not have to worry about meeting people. There is a good chance you will make friends quite soon!
Of course, there are other options for entertainment such as taking the train to Oslo to check out the nightlife there and experience everything that a big city has to offer, at prices you may have never seen before! Oslo has been awarded the "most expensive city in the world", so keeping that in mind, you will find plenty of bars, dancing clubs, movie theatres, plays, ballets, restaurants, etc.
StudentSamfunnet (Student Society) - www.samfunnetiaas.no
Kaffeklubben (Student Kafe) - http://sias.no/english/cafeterias/cafe_klubben.html
GG hallen (GYM) - http://sias.no/english/sports/ Study Process in UMB (
will be discussed in detail by SIT during the Introduction week)
Fronter, Classes, Plagiarism, Exams Shopping
There are several stores for grocery shopping around Aas. Rema1000
in the center of town are the most popular among students due to lower costs. Coop Mega is known for higher costs, and should be considered in cases, when other stores do not offer the product you are looking for. In Rema 1000
students are advised to look for products with labels or brand names First Price
. Those products typically do not compromise on quality but have much lower prices.
All shops close early on Saturday, and are closed on Sundays and holidays.
Beer in shops is sold until 8pm on weekdays and 6pm on weekends. Nattåpen
(45283001) is a service that delivers grocery products until 2 am. Babylon pizza
(http://www.babylon-pizza.net/) and the NT Kiosk
(Asian) by Kiwi offer fast food on spot, but they don't deliver.
in the center of Ås offer household equipment, accessories etc.
Second hand shops and flea markets are popular among students and locals alike. There is a second hand shop under the Main Post office in the center of Ås. Shop works on weekdays (except Monday) from 10:00 – 17:00, and Saturdays from 11:00 – 15:00. This is the ultimate spot for finding cheap cutlery, clothes, appliances etc. They also take in donations, which could be an option when you have finished your amazing time in Ås!
Red Cross house offers second hand sale every week on Wednesday from 6.30-8pm, in their premises in the center of town. Red Cross also accepts donations of used items. Food
Food ratio relevant to Norway: In winter months students are advised to eat fat fish, Special milk with vitamid D, and other products with Omega 3 and vitamin D. Alternative supplements in form of fish oil called tran or Omega 3 capsules are highly recommended. Lack of sun and daylight often leads to lower vitamin D, feeling of tiredness, weakness and depressiveness. Omega 3 and vitamins help cope with the problem.
Food on campus. SIAS operates several cafeterias around the campus, with student-friendly prices. More information on cafeterias here: http://sias.no/english/cafeterias/
Telephone and Internet Sim Cards
. Lebara communication company typically provides free sim cards to international students. You can get one when the company representatives visit the campus at the beginning of semester, or ask the International Officer, Joakim Soltveit, for more. Skype
and other free voice-over service providers are a good way to keep in touch with family and friends back home.
The University provides free wifi on campus under ”eduroam” and cable internet in all student accommodation operated by SiAs. Bring a LAN-cord to connect your computer to internet in your room. To gain internet connection, you will need to register with the Student Computer Service, located at the TF/IMT-building. It is run by students, is free and is open from 10:00 – 15:00 weekdays. We highly recommend to use any free time at the beginning of the semester wisely by registering as soon as you can – sometimes queues can get long and as the semester progresses you will have less time to fix practical things. Banking and Money Exchange
The Norwegian Currency is the Norwegian Krone (abbreviated “kr”,“nkr”, or “NOK”). One krone is made up of 100 øre. However, the smallest coinage is 50øre. Norwegian krone is the only currency accepted in Norway in cash. No Money Exchange options exist in Ås, make sure to exchange enough money in the airport (on the Money Exchange Machines at the far left corner of the arrival hall, or the exchange service in Nordea Bank near the machines, when coming out of the customs area) or in Oslo City Center. Your first week’s shopping will typically exceed $100, so it is recommended to have at least $200 converted into Norwegian Krones, when you arrive to Ås. Credit cards can be used in most shops, Visa cards are the most common.
There is an ATM in the center of Ås. You can also take out money in Kiwi Shop, which offers ATM service. Be sure to check with your bank at home about the fees incurred when accessing your money in Norway. Post Office in Aas provides some banking services on behalf of DnB Bank. The actual DnB bank office in Aas does not offer any Money Exchange or cash related services. Post Office has most banking services except Money Exchange. Opening Bank account and getting a Visa Card from DnB Bank, at Post Office, iis free of charge for students. The Visa card also works as Norwegian Identification Document. Things to bring with you
If you are not able to bring along warm clothes from your home country, it is important to have enough money with you to buy suitable clothing for the different seasons. We suggest that you bring along/buy: waterproof/windproof jacket, woollen sweater, scarves, gloves, hats, warm long underwear (wool)/tights and warm and waterproof shoes/boots. Consider to bring your own sportswear and skiing equipment, as well as hiking and camping equipment. Alcohol in Norway
Alcohol is very expensive in Norway. A 0.5l Beer in a bar will cost from 55-75Nok. Thankfully the beer in Samfunnet/the Student Society is cheaper; 0.5l costs 40-45 NOK. Hard liquor is sold in government licensed monopoly stores called Vinnmonopolet. There are no Vinnmonopolet stores in Ås, although there is one scheduled to open during 2012. The closest for now is in town of Ski. Duty Free shops before arrival or in arriving airport in Oslo offer the best prices for alcohol. One can only import 1 liter of hard liquor from the Duty Free, exceeding the quote may lead to huge fines.
The legal drinking age in Norway is 20 for hard liquor and 18 for beer. No alcohol is served to underage. In an emergency in Norway, dial 110 (FIRE); 112 (POLICE); 113 (AMBULANCE)
Published: May 20, 2012
Last Modified: June 5, 2012
Updated: 05.06.12Printerfriendly version
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