Come to Oslo to meet the world. When I boarded the flight I had no idea, I was going to start meeting the world even before I got to school. I met my first class mate, a doctor from Sudan (North) when I landed at the Oslo airport.
And that's where the journey began. 6 weeks I doubt is enough to meet all the 520 students from 95 different countries but I am assured I know someone from each continent except perhaps Australia. I met a marine engineering student who studies at the University of Tromso, the northern most university in the world (read North Pole to people like me coming from the temperate zones) and someone from the southernmost town in Argentina.
I am taking a course in international development. My class consists of 18 students from 17 different countries. None of us are native English speakers. We are a mix of students and professionals. There are students who grew up in both developing and developed countries; big cities, small towns, villages; national minorities, conflict zones, peaceful areas; democracies and dictatorships.
The diversity translates into rich academic debates. I never realized that I took democracy for granted or that my view of development was restricted to human development problems. I never considered the topographical limitations or the problems of development in conflict zones, island nations and dictatorships.
Listening to people from different countries helped us understand how common people, professional, and academicians especially those coming from the developing world view different challenges and how they perceive the solutions imposed upon them by the international agencies.
During the 24 hour journey to India earlier this summer, I was overwhelmed when I thought about how much I had seen, learnt and experienced in the last nine months. When I sat down to write this blog I was overwhelmed thinking that in the past 4 weeks if not more I have had just as many new experiences in the last one year.
Harshada Karnik, Master of Public Policy 2013
Humphrey School of Public Affairs