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Norway scores highest for international student satisfaction

Norway has claimed the top spot in this year’s international student satisfaction awards from StudyPortals, overtaking Ireland which came out on top last year.

The University of Oslo (pictured) was rated as 'outstanding'. Photo: flickr/urban_lenny

Only 7.3% of all respondents scored their experience 6 out of 10 or lower

Based on 15,965 online reviews from international students who studied abroad in Europe on StudyPortals’ in 2015-2016, Norway scored 9.26 out of 10, regaining the lead for the Nordic countries. Last year’s first place, Ireland, dropped to second with 9.19.

Despite only being ahead by 0.1, Norway “has always performed well in terms of international student satisfaction,” Manon Bolderman at StudyPortals told The PIE News.

“Polish universities are becoming more well known amongst European students”

“But this year the recent changes in terms of university mergers and reorganisation might have something to do with students in general being happier with the new system,” she said.

This year, five universities were formed as a result of merging existing institutions, with the aim of improving quality in higher education and research.

The availability of courses taught in English, along with the helpful faculty members and friendly students, were plus points pulled out by international students in their online reviews.

“The combination of a great course structure, good professors and their teaching methods exceeded my expectations,” said one student from Brazil, studying in Norway.

sp-fig-1Poland, which last year had a score of 8.85 and came in at sixth place, jumped up to the third highest ranked by international students this year with a score of 9.09.

“Polish universities are becoming more well known amongst European students,” commented Bolderman. “And the universities are very well prepared to welcome the students.”

The reviews regularly referred to the lively student environment, the cities and the people, according to Bolderman.

“Cheap accommodation in dormitories with lots of other Erasmus students,” was one advantage of studying in the country, noted an Italian student in their review.

“Good courses to learn Polish. Everything is cheap,” they added.

Students from France were the most satisfied with their time abroad, according to the awards, with the average French student rating their experience at 9.03.

On the other hand, those from Finland and the Netherlands were the least satisfied, which could be attributed to the education experience at home versus abroad, said Bolderman.

“It can be that Finnish and Dutch students have really high expectations when going abroad”

“Since Finnish and Dutch universities usually offer quite a high teaching quality and great student experience, it can be that Finnish and Dutch students have really high expectations when going abroad, which some of the host countries can simply not live up to,” she commented.

Meanwhile, 153 individual universities qualified for an award, for having over 20 reviews with an average score of between 8 and 10 for student satisfaction.

Fourteen of these were rated as ‘outstanding’, including Poland’s AGH University of Science and Technology, and Wroclaw University, and Norway’s University of Oslo.

This marks the fourth edition of the student satisfaction awards with reviews collected on

Taking into account all the reviews, the overwhelming majority of students were very satisfied with their study experience abroad, with the average score being 8.8 out of 10.

Only 7.3% of all respondents scored their experience 6 out of 10 or lower.

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