Oct 2, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Continue with us on our journey around the medical school world as we meet a second-year medical student in Norway.  What common experiences does she share with other medical students around the world?  Let’s take a closer look.

Introducing Sara…

For 20-year old Sara, completing her medical degree will take six years of study at school followed by at least two years of “turnus”—the equivalent of an internship—regardless of her course of study.

Sara’s current course load is fairly “standard” for a second-year student.  She says, “We have normal lectures, anatomy/dissection, laboratory work, team-based learning groups, and case solving groups.”  She adds, “A normal lecture will last for 45 minutes, but we also have practical courses which can last for up to five hours.”

What does she do in-between?  Anything from eating lunch to working out at the gym to studying, or volunteering.  Sara currently volunteers as an online tutor for the Red Cross.  She says, “We don’t have a specific lunch time.  It is often either between lectures (15 minute breaks) or longer breaks between different courses (up to three hours).”

While she’s unsure what she wants to study, she enjoys the field of nutrition.   She’ll be able to take more courses in the field as she continues her studies, but for now, her focus is on mastering the basics.

Balancing Act

Sara begins her day at 6:30 every morning and attends anywhere from one class to five or even six in one day. 

While her study regimen keeps her busy, she finds time to enjoy the things she likes to do.  She says, “Its’ often after all of my classes, early in the morning, or in the longer breaks.”

For some medical students, developing positive working relationships with professors is key to their success, but for Sara, it’s difficult.  Why?  Class size.

She says, “Since our class is really big (over 150 students), we don’t really have a close relationship to most of our professors.  We also have many different professors based on the subject we’re working on.”

The sheer volume of people with whom she interacts prevents her from forming those close relationships—but gives her a wide range of perspectives.

What does she like best?  Practical clinical work.  Sara says that one of her best memories is “Getting to do practical work with fellow students to learn about the human body, like venipuncture, or test of kidney function.”

Advice to prospective students

While balancing coursework, labs, volunteer work, and personal interests, Sarah says that “to study medicine in Norway, proficiency in Norwegian is required, as all of the lectures are in Norwegian.”

Studying medicine in Norway is rewarding—and challenging.  Up for the challenge?  Take a closer look at opportunities in Norway


Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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