We recommend students (except Nordic students) staying only 1 semester, to bring health insurance from home, regardless of your nationality. We do have a user fee based National Insurance Scheme (NIS) in Norway, and it is possible to apply for a voluntary membership if you are planning to stay more than 3 months, but there is a processing time, so the best would be to bring insurance from home. http://www.studyinnorway.no/Study-in-Norway/Health-insurance
Consult the International Student Counsellor if in doubt of your rights.
- Need to See a Doctor
Students staying only 1 semester should to use the Emergency Clinic Legevakt next to the university hospital if you need to see a doctor while living in Tromsø. They recommend you to use the clinic during daytime when it is less crowded; 8am-4pm, and has a drop-in system where you take a queue number when entering. You will have to pay for the medical examination, and be reimbursed by your insurance company later. A general consultation at the emergency clinic costs around NOK 240.
If you are in doubt of whether you need a doctor, you may call and consult them at phone number: (+47) 116 117
Any questions regarding your rights or procedures, contact the Student Counselling Centre.
- Need to See a Dentist
Dental care is privatised and not covered by the Norwegian insurance scheme and is very expensive. Fortunately, there is a clinic operated by odontology students on campus, so if they have capacity, you may find an appointment at half the cost of a regular dentist: http://www.tromsfylke.no/Tjenester/Tannhelse/Offentlige-tannklinikker/U… To find a regular dentist look in the yellow pages www.1881.no of the telephone directory under 'Tannlege'. If you have an emergency after office hours go to the 'Legevakt' (see Need to see a doctor).
Any questions regarding your rights or procedures, contact the Student Counselling Centre
- General Advice – Common Ailments
You generally do not need to see a doctor for a common cold. A sore throat, stuffy nose, sneezing and moderate cough will often last about two weeks, with a slight temperature the first three days. This is caused by a virus, which cannot be treated with medicine. It is recommended that you take it
easy, drink a lot of liquids and cut out physical exercise if you are feeling run down. If the fever lasts more than three days and you get worse instead of better, it is a good idea to see a doctor.
Influenza resembles a cold but is accompanied by muscle pain and a higher temperature from the start. You feel sick and run down and the temperature may last for a week or so. You do not generally need to see a doctor for influenza either unless you have several days of fever. It is not advisable to take antibiotics for either a cold or influenza unless a doctor assesses your condition and recommends that you do so.
It is important to dress according to the climate in warm woollen clothing and sensible footwear. If you are out in the cold, keep your body moving. Frostbite can occur if you are outside for a long time and are not dressed appropriately. If you suspect frostbite (usually in extremities such as fingers, toes, nose, and ears), you should gradually warm yourself up without rubbing the particular area or running warm water over it.
If on doubt or in need of advice on this and other health issues, you may contact the Student Counselling Centre for advice.
Polar night and midnight sun – some common reactions to different light conditions
Students arriving in the autumn will experience a gradual darkening day by day until the polar night is at its darkest 21 December. Tromsø has polar night (the sun does not rise above the horizon) for 2 months, 21 November – 21 January. It will not be completely dark the whole time, but more twilight at midday. From 21 December, it will gradually be brighter day-by-day. Students arriving in the spring will experience the brightening. The midnight sun appears around 20 May, and the longest day will is 21 June. From then onwards, the days will be shorter, and the midnight sun disappears around 21 July.
Some students may react to these changes in light conditions. In the dark season, common reactions may be a feeling of energy loss or disturbed sleeping patterns. A conscious focus on nutrition, being outdoors for a while around midday, or visiting the Polar Night Café in the morning in front of full spectrum lamps, may help. In the bright season, students may find it hard to go asleep in the evenings. The best advice is to cover the bedroom window, so that the room is dark when going to sleep, and to close the window if there are too many birds singing outdoors at night.
Please, contact the Student Counslling Centre if you find the problems severe.
- Need of Other Health Services
In addition to the staff at the Student Health Clinic, a general practitioner can also provide guidance counselling regarding contraceptives. They will write prescriptions for birth-control pills, fit a
diaphragm or insert an IUD. Condoms may be purchased from any grocery store or you may get them for free from the Student Counselling Centre or the Student Health Clinic.
There is free choice with regard to abortion in Norway, so-called 'selvbestemt abort'. This means that a woman herself has the final decision on whether to have an abortion or not. This is a very difficult situation to be in and the International Students Counsellor, a general practitioner, or the staff at the Student Health Clinic, are available to talk the situation through with you, and to provide counselling and support.
Unless it is necessary to see a specialist due to a medical condition, eye exams are privatised. You may arrange a basic eye exam through certain opticians in town (where spectacles are sold).
People from countries in which malaria is widespread may have a considerable degree of inherent immunity to this kind of illness. Advice may be obtained from the Vaccination Office, 77756280.
Medicine is generally obtained only through a doctor’s prescription, except for common cold or fever medications etc, and mostly only at pharmacies. Common cold and fever medications can be obtained in some grocery stores, you may ask the staff for assistance. You must pay for the medicine yourself.
Mental Health Services
Services at the Student Counselling Centre are confidential and free of charge. We often see that if you have struggled with some issues in your life prior to moving to Norway, they may reappear. We have an easy accessibility policy and drop-in for urgent matters.
A varied diet is important for good health. It is especially important in this part of the world to get enough vitamins during the winter by eating vitamin rich foods, taking multi-vitamins, and cod liver oil (tran in oil or capsule form). Human skin is unable to convert enough nutrients from the diet to vitamins A and D in the weak light we have during the winter. Further information will be given at announced information meetings during the autumn, but feel free to ask the counsellor.
Pharmacies are located downtown, at Jekta Shopping Centre, and at the hospital. Outside of regular opening hours, VitusApotek Svanen (Killengreens gate 5, Austadbygget, phone: 77 21 26 00) is open on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 6 pm – 8 pm for emergencies. There is an extra charge for
non-prescription items during this time. In the case of emergencies, Legevakta (The Emergency Clinic) also has some prescription medicines available after hours.
Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Pregnancy tests may be taken at the Student Health Clinic free of charge.
The most common STD in Norway is Chlamydia which if untreated can result in infertility or other problems. There are effective medicines, which can cure this illness quickly. Herpes and venereal warts can also be transmitted sexually. Gonorrhoea and syphilis occur as well, but their frequency has decreased significantly. HIV (AIDS) is not very common in Norway but it is present and one should take precautions. Choose your partner carefully and use a condom. If you worry about whether you are infected or if you need counselling or professional advice, please contact the Student Health Clinic. All services are confidential and free of charge.