Thursday, 25 February 2010

Living costs in Oslo

The University of Oslo estimates that the living costs for a student in Norway for five months and on a "modest budget" are approximately NOK 43 800 -> 5 446 EUR (at the moment), which represent around 1 100 Eur a month. This includes housing, food, Books & supplies, transportation (although this amount is for students who are less than 30 and therefore pay less) and other expenses.

The Comenius scholarship for Norway this year is 813 Eur/month, as anyone can easily find on the Portuguese National Agency's (PNA) website. According to the PNA the European Commission decides the amounts. I wonder where they get their information from to estimate the scholarship amounts, because according to a survey from 2004/2005 where assistants mention the scholarship is not enough, this has been a problem for Comenius assistants for a long time. To make matters worse (in Norway's case specially), no matter where you go, you are paid in Euro and therefore lose money in exchange and so on.

The question is, should they accept less assistants in order to make the experience better for everybody, or does (as in anything else is life) quantity matters more than quality? (the more assistants the less amount for each, but the more people they have doing Comenius the more successful the program looks)

Two things that could help though, would be to be able to stay at students residencies (because they are usually cheaper) and have free guaranteed language courses (like those provided for Erasmus students). Most of Comenius assistants have just finished their degree and are coming from University. This means that most people neither have a job nor a nest egg.

Fortunately, most of us either find a second job during the traineeship or ask their parents/family for help.