Everyone can experience a variety of personal issues. These issues are often easier to resolve if you ask for help. The student councillor is an experienced professional who students may talk to for guidance and advice. 

Loneliness

Every individual has a need for human interaction. It is essential to thrive and develop as a person. Most people also appreciate being alone. However, the balance between spending time with others and by ourselves is vital to our well-being. If our need for social contact is not met, feelings of loneliness may transpire. 

 

Loneliness as a student

Loneliness may transpire in all phases of life - also as during your study years. 

Particularly vulnerable periods during your studies, where loneliness is more likely to occur: 

* In the beginning of your studies, if you have relocated and are trying to build a new social network. 

* If you are struggling to keep up with your studies 

* If you spend significant periods of time writing a particular assessment, reducing the time you spend socialising with other people 

* If you experience the loss of a dear friend, family member or if someone close to you relocate (e.g. semester abroad) 

* If you struggle with anxiety in social situations and choose to avoid anxiety-inducing social situations. 

* If you and your girlfriend choose to stay at home over socialising with others. 

 

Self-blame

Many people associate having many or popular friends with their sense of self-worth. As such, if you are unhappy with your current circle of friends, it is easy to feel a lack of self-worth. 

Loneliness is often associated with self-blame. Feelings of shame and a lack of self-worth may make it more difficult to interact with others, which leads to an unfruitful circle of isolation. 

 

Talk to a student councellor

You can share your thoughts and worries with the student councellor. The student councellor can be a helpful conversation partner and put you in touch with health-care professionals or other relevant third parties. Perhaps the conversation will shed light on the sources of your loneliness. 

 

You can talk to the student councellor alone or with someone who is familiar with your issues. 

Anxiety

The student councellor do meet students who are struggling with anxiety problems. On this page, you may read about anxiety and how to seek help addressing the problem: 

It is normal and natural to experience anxiety

Most people are anxious at certain stages in their lives. Anxiety is the feeling of:

* Unrest

* Feeling out of place

* Being worried

* Fear of something you cannot put words to

However, anxiety is a natural part of our survical instincts. It has been, and still is, necessary to adapt to dangers and threats of death - by flight or fight.

 

Sometimes people experience that feelings of anxiety inhibits their participation in social life and activities. One may dread such activities and avoid them altogether. In that case, it is important to seek help in order to find ways to cope with the anxiety. 

 

The physical symptoms of anxiety

Anxiety may emerge in many ways, symptoms can include: 

* Shortness of breath

* Excessive sweat

* Numb hands

* Shaking

* Chest pain

* Dizziness

* Nausea/stomach pain

 

Thoughts

Our thoughts may be characterised by unrest and confusion. They can lead to concentration difficulties, memory loss and severe anxiety. Sometimes it may be difficult to stop these thoughts and feelings without asking for help. 

Social anxiety

Some people also suffer from social anxiety where interacting with other people feel like a substantial challenge. 

Performance anxiety

To perform refers to carrying out an act where you are being assessed by others.

We often feel that performing may reveal that we are, even if we are not: 

* Stupid

* Inept

* Inferior or

* Unable to live up to your own or others' expectations. 

Other examples include public speaking, being assessed on an assignment or failing an exam. .

 

Being anxious of the future

Your own expectations and the expectations of others may lead to anxious feelings about the future. These may relate to completing your studies, meeting the demands of the work force and other challenges you are expected to overcome. 

Oftentimes these feelings develop when a new phase in your life is about to commence, such as when completing your studies. 

 

Talk to the student councellor

If your anxiety is influencing your studies or quality of life, please contact the student councellor kontakt.

You can learn more about anxiety on helsenorge.no and angstringen.no

Homesickness

To travel the world on your own can be a bit scary. You need to cope by yourself, and be responsible for food and a lot of practical things in your life, and to manage without parents or family around, even when you need them. Even though you have been looking forward to this, you may experience the occasional homesickness. Perhaps living here is quite different from what you prepared for

May emotions may occur when you’re alone in your room. Do you feel lonely or miss friends or a girlfriend/boyfriend? Perhaps some sort of grief over not being at home anymore? Taking care of every aspect of your life is a huge responsibility. Do you miss that someone is making dinner for your, saying good night or even nagging about things.

To some, missing a boyfriend or girlfriend is the hardest of all, while others feel insecure or alone. Some miss just being young and irresponsible, others have some second thoughts about the decision to move and start these studies. This may in turn give a sense of being depressed or sad.

Seek help before making hasty decisions you may regret later. The student counsellors are here for you.

Some key advice are: – Establish good routines concerning studies, food and sleep. – Work steadily. If you start thinking that this is awful, just give it a few more weeks and things usually turn out better. If you fall behind in your studies you will have yet another argument to quit. – Dare to be the first to make contact to build up a social network – remeber that the others will more likely want to have friends, too.– Det kan være lurt å ikke bo alene. – create a more kozy athmosphare in your room, so that you will enjoy being there. – Practise enjoying your own company – To some, staying too close in touch with people you miss back home, will reinforce the homesickness. Reducing contact may not be such a bad idea. – Try change your focus to think not only about missing people or your sadness, but rather how much you look forward to seeing them again later. – If you had any hobbies back home, you should keep doing them also here. Join activities, organisations, study groups, etc.  

Culture and Cross-Cultural Adaptation 

Many international students experience varying degrees of cultural transition when they first arrive in Norway. This often can include culture shock. Culture shock is a state of distress and bewilderment experienced by individuals exposed to new, strange, or foreign cultures. People experience culture shock in different ways, some with more anxiety than others. It helps to remember that this is a normal reaction to changes in your physical, social and cultural environment. You are not alone in your feelings of distress.

There is a general cycle of emotional states you experience when you enter a new culture. The stages of this cycle vary from one person to another in intensity and duration. Understanding the

stages can help you to realise that they are a normal reaction to unusual circumstances, and may assist you in adjusting to your new environment. It is also helpful to keep in mind that your own sense of cultural identity is often not evident until you encounter another culture.

When you first arrive, everything is new, interesting, and exciting. You are filled with expectations of what your year here will be like, and it is fun to explore your new environment.

After some time you realise that adjusting to the new culture requires some effort. This work may be very stressful for you. Your expectations may not have been met and you may experience a strong reaction to being here. At this time you may feel increasingly homesick and miss your family, familiar foods, and familiar surroundings. This stage is characterised by students feeling isolated, bewildered, irritated, depressed, or uncomfortable.

Feelings of apprehension, loneliness, or a lack of confidence may grow. Your sense of identity may be challenged and differences in culture may be experienced as threatening. It is common for individuals to come to a point where they reject the host culture (in this instance Norwegian culture) and withdraw into themselves. This stage is characterised by the student making generalisations about Norwegian culture and feeling that his or her home culture is far superior. It is common to focus on the differences rather than to look for what is similar between the two cultures. To combat this, it can help you to actively seek out, or focus on, what aspects your home culture and the new host culture share.

As you acquire a better understanding of the host culture, you will begin to feel more comfortable in your environment. Things start to make more sense, your self-confidence grows and you feel more at home. The process of understanding this new culture is continuous as you discover varying nuances and internal variations during your time here.

Tips for coping with transition

* Making friends with Norwegians will lead to a better understanding of Norwegian culture

* Language is very much connected to culture. Making an effort to learn Norwegian will give you the opportunity to interact with native Norwegians. They will be very pleased that you are showing an interest in their culture through language!

* Get involved in student activity groups, particularly those where Norwegian students also participate

* Balance your academic and non-academic activities

* Exercise and eat balanced meals…take vitamins!

Seek help if at any point you find adjusting here to be overwhelming, or that it begins to affect your work, sleep, or eating habits. The International Student Counsellor at the Student Counselling Centre have experience in assisting students through this transition.