Make good desicions while abroad

Please take steps to make sure you are a socially aware person while on exchange. By doing research in advance you are better equipped to make good choices and can manage your expectations to your exchange better. This is true for yourself, but also for how you meet your new friends and people in the location you will be living for this period.

By identifying support services that can provide help before travelling, you are better prepared and know better what to expect when going to your destination. This also makes it easier if you at any point should need help or anyone to talk to. For example, your host university may have a student organisation you can join or a dedicated member of staff in their student services team who may be good resources for you. There may also be interest groups locally or nationally that you can join.


If you are going on exchange to a non-English-speaking country, we recommend that you take a language course before you leave, even if the teaching takes place in English. Lånekassen may provide financial support for language courses.

In Germany, DAAD offers scholarships to students at bachelor's and master's level who want to take a summer- or professional course in German.

Erasmus+ students may access a language test through EU Academy. This is an informal assessment of your language skills. You may also access language courses through EU Academy.  


Some institutions may have language requirements. Please consult your host institution’s web pages and ask your academic contact person for more information on how you best can prepare for this.


Many universities have student organisations that you may join, and which are great starting points for meeting new people. If you have a particular hobby or field of interest, check if there is a club for this too. If you are going to Europe, membership in the local European Student Network might be useful. Prepare yourself for taking the initiative to get to know new people while you are abroad. If you try new things and are open to new acquaintances, you might just return with new interests and a different set of friends than what you had before.


You are very welcome to go on student exchange if you have any form of disability. Please contact your study adviser and in good time to allow yourself ample planning time. Also, get in touch with your local community or organisation to investigate if they have any contacts that might be useful to you while abroad.

ANSA has webpages with information about facilitation as well as a Social Adviser that can support you in this.

If you have any disabilities that makes exchange not possible without extra funding, you may receive an extra grant if you travel with Erasmus+. Read more about this on HVL’s page about Erasmus+


In some countries, it can be challenging to be openly LGBTQ+. Before you travel, please investigate possible support organisations and interest groups that you can contact if you need to.

The Equaldex website can give an indication of which countries it might be an advantage to prepare extra for. You can for example find information about the development of rights in the country you are going to, read about different topics and see indexes for which countries they rank as LGBTQ+ friendly.


Minority, ethnicity and religion

Not all countries do necessarily have the same laws and customs that you are familiar with from Norway. If you identify with a protected characteristic group, we advise you research the local laws, customs and support provision for minority groups. This includes for example if you are a member of an indigenous people, a faith or ethnicity group that is among the minority in your destination country.


It can be useful to reflect on your own biases towards people with a different background and belief than yourself and to familiarise yourself with the situation in the country you are going to. This may make you better equipped for the experiences you may encounter.

Project Implicit has developed a set of tests to uncover what biases one might have:

Economic inequality

To meet and work with people from all strands of society in a good way, it might be is useful to be aware of whether there is a big difference between rich and poor in the country you are going to. How the country compares to Norway can help determine how you act and behave while on exchange.

You can, for example, use the Gini Index to see an indication of difference between income and wealth among the population of a country:

Academic freedom of expression

As an exchange student, it is important to be aware that the level of academic freedom in another country may vary from what you are used to. If you are going to a country where the Academic Freedom Index score is particularly low, you should be aware that in some cases you may experience pressure on your own academic freedom of expression. Contact if you experience this or if you have any questions.

Academic Freedom Index:


What is academic freedom of expression?

A prerequisite for academic freedom and academic freedom of expression is a culture for open debates, also about controversial topics.  

Ademic freedom of expression means, among other things, that when a member of staff or a student wishes to raise problems, theories or points of view, they should have the opportunity to be heard. They should also expect to be confronted with questions, factual counter arguments and criticism. Even viewpoints with which one deeply disagrees have a place in the public domain. (The Expert Group for Academic Freedom of Expression (2022))

Surveillance or intelligence threats

Norwegian authorities annually publish an assessment of the treat of intelligence from other states. In 2024, China, Russia, North Korea and Iran were considered as states that are highly likely to use intelligence and surveillance.

Targets are often persons with a connection to these states, for example through studies, work, friends or family. Therefore, if you are going on exchange to any of these countries, please be aware of indirect pressure and potential recruitment activity.

Norske myndigheiter gjer årleg ei vurdering av mellom anna trugselen for etterretning frå andre statar i Noreg. I 2024 er Kina, Russland, Nord Korea og Iran vurdert som land som i betydeleg grad gjer dette. Personar som har tilknyting til desse landa, til dømes gjennom studiar, arbeid, vener eller familie vert vurdert som spesielt utsette. Skal du på utveksling til eit av desse landa bør du derfor være merksam på direkte og indirekte press samt rekrutteringsforsøk frå aktørar herifrå.

Read the National Threat Assessment 2024 (in Norwegian only) here: