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This situation shows how important sustainability is to our health. We have a lot to learn from our international students.
This situation shows how important sustainability is to our health. We have a lot to learn from our international students.

Corona scholarships to international students in Norway

"Many international students from low-income countries do not benefit from financial crisis packages and many have great difficulties. We are now announcing ten scholarships that specifically target this group", says Eivind Engebretsen from the University of Oslo.

Published

"This way we are able to provide financial assistance while drawing on their specific competence and experiences as students in a Corona-affected Norway", says Eivind Engebretsen.

He is Vice Dean and Executive Chairman of SHE, Center for Excellence in Higher Education at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Oslo.

Many international students have extra difficult days now, without their family or social networks in Norway. Financial crisis packages for students have not eased their situation, as many of these students neither have the opportunity to apply for unemployment benefits nor have the right to support through the State Educational Loan Fund. This issue has recently been raised by among others the national broadcaster NRK.

Students at the Faculty of Medicine have also reported that they experience similar challenges.

"It is also important to identify the learning consequences of the financially demanding situation our students experience, so that we can target educational measures to assist them in their studies", says Kristin Heggen, Center Leader at SHE.

Sustainability is important to our health

"SHE", the Center for Sustainable Health Care Education, provides health science students with knowledge and tools to make sustainable decisions at different levels of the health system.

Now the centre wants to learn from the students’ experiences while providing financial assistance in a difficult situation:

"Addressing global health challenges such as the COVID pandemic is an important aim for our centre and the students' experiences provide useful information for understanding the nature of these challenges. The scholarships will be awarded to students from low-income countries studying at the Faculty of Medicine and who face financial challenges due to the COVID outbreak. This is the center's first announcement and they are pioneers in announcing scholarships of this kind", says Heggen.

Not an emergency fund

"Although the grants compensate for financial needs, this is not to be understood as an emergency fund", says Vice Dean Eivind Engebretsen.

"SHE awards scholarships to these students because we want to make use of their specific expertise. We want them to write short essays describing their learning situation in a Corona-affected Norway. We are interested in their reflections about their encounter with Norwegian society, the university, and the health sector as well as the contact they have had with their home country. These are future healthcare professionals and their experiences in this situation will potentially influence them and their future decision making. Perhaps this particular experience can provide a basis for health professional learning?"

The best essays will be published on the SHE website.

"We will also gather the experience in a report on international students experience from this situation that we want to share with political authorities", says Engebretsen.

About SHE: Center for Excellence in Higher Education

The Center for Sustainable Health Care Education (SHE) provides students with skills and knowledge to make sustainable health care decisions. Students are trained to become change agents for sustainable development on an individual, societal and global level.

Visit the SHE website here.

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