Welcome in the park for new students

Hundreds of new students were welcomed to UiB and Bergen by Rector Dag Rune Olsen in central Bergen on 12 August 2014.

Rector Dag Rune Olsen chatting with new students at the University of Bergen in Nygårdsparken on 12 August 2014 for the official start of the academic year 2014/2015.
PARK LIFE: Rector Dag Rune Olsen chatting with new students in Nygårdsparken on 12 August 2014 for the official start of the academic year 2014/2015.
Eivind Senneset

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There are 765 new international students arriving in Bergen for the autumn semester 2014. As usual, Germany is number one amongst the international students at the University of Bergen (UiB). More unusual is the huge influx of Brazilian students at UiB this semester, with 46 students from the South American country arriving in Bergen in August 2014. This growth in numbers can mainly be attributed to the research programme Ciência sem Fronteiras (Science without borders), established in 2011 by the Brazilian federal government.

A proper introduction to Norway

During registration on 7 and 8 August, the new international arrivals were met by UiB staff and researchers, who presented them with practical information about the what, where and who at the university.

“Making sure that the new international students get a good first impression of UiB and Norway is vital to recruit international students and staff in the future,”, says Professor Anne Christine Johannessen, UiB’s Vice-Rector for International Affairs. “To ensure this the introduction programme and welcome week is of utter importance.”

Attracting more international students

Vice-Rector Johannessen points out that many international students come to Bergen because of UiB’s good reputation.

“We also have good English-language courses and as a comprehensive university, there are a broad range of subjects to study at UiB,” she says. “I also believe that many are attracted to Bergen and Western Norway because of the nature and opportunities to engage in outdoor activities.”

She is pleased that almost 800 international students have arrived this autumn, but Johannessen believes there is room for many more international recruits.

“We want more international students, especially from developing countries. This is something we work to achieve,” she says, before pointing out that this is not always easy. “The challenge is that students from many countries simply cannot find the funding to study in Norway.”

Record admittance of new students

A total of 6969 new Norwegian students were admitted to UiB in the autumn semester 2014. This is a new record. The 765 new international students can be added to this number.

You can see the students’ own pictures from the opening ceremony at Storify, a social network service, or in various social media by searching for the hash tag #UiB

In previous years, the opening of the academic year has always been in Museum Square, outside of the University Museum of Bergen. This year, however, the ceremony was moved to Nygårdsparken, the park that dominates the southern part of the hill that runs through central Bergen and which is the home of UiB.

Students are future resource

“Norway’s most important future resource is not found in the ground or in the ocean, but is standing right here in the park today. The future is you students and all other young people who seek knowledge and answers to the challenges that lie ahead for the world,” said Rector Dag Rune Olsen in his welcome speech to the new students.

He went on to point out that the university’s ambition and commitment is to make sure that UiB’s students both become attractive to future employers and socially aware citizens.

“At the University of Bergen, we want you ask critical questions, state your opinions, and engage in debate, both about what you are being taught and in society at large.”

(Edited and translated from the Norwegian by Sverre Ole Drønen.)