Tag: student profile

Introducing the new Hedda students!

In this post, we introduce you some of the new Hedda master students at the University of Oslo. Welcome to Oslo! 

The start of the new semester has brought us as well a new beginning in the Hedda program. As an international Master’s program, the origin of the new student cohort is as varied as Higher Education systems around the world, being the new group an excellent example of how the field of Higher Education is diverse and complex, and on how the different contexts of each country interacts with their development. We have students from Africa, Asia, Europe and America, what makes us very proud, reason why we decided to ask some of them to tell us a little bit more about their motivations, their lives and, also, their first impressions of the life is Oslo.


Hedda master student Nayer

We started with Nayer Shahedifar. She’s from Iran, the cradle of the Persian Empire and one of the biggest countries in Middle East. She has been living in Oslo already for three years. “I’m not a fan of the weather –she argues- but I really like that here, in Norway, rules are followed and are explicit, nothing is hidden behind curtains”, she added. She admires the vision Norway has on education and how that is reflected on the opportunities the country offers in that matter and also on how they support their citizens in failure scenarios. “The concept of poverty is different here”, she says. Regarding her motivations for entering the Master’s program in Higher Education, her background as a literature teacher, both English and French, and as a Journalist, has a lot to do, but her real motives comes from her time at university in Iran. “I was part of a talent program in which they allow certain students to take two degrees at the same time. Only one out of ten succeed. That can’t be right. How can that kind of policies help the country and the students explode their potential? I was the only one who succeeded”, she told us. She would like to go back and help Iran in their path towards development, but the when is not clear, and the where is not clear either. When ask about her expectations on the degree, she explained that she looks forward to obtain a better understanding of the education system as a whole and to gain the ability to detect problems and deliver solutions regarding this matter.

Hedda master student Celio

Hedda master student Celio

Célio Mindo, from Mozambique, was our next interviewed. He arrived one month ago, more or less, and his background is very different from Nayers’. He is a Bachelor in Finances and has work as an assistant manager for ECOBOM, a water company back in his country. About his motivations to enter the Master’s program in Higher Education, he is very clear. “I looking for a different learning environment, a different society from which I can learn. Besides, I intend to mix my academic background and experience with education, because that way I can help Mozambique become a better country in my own way”, he declared. He seeks to contribute to create a better educational system form Mozambique with new perspectives, and he knows that studying in Norway is a challenge, but an even bigger one because “I’m not in my field”, he argued, “but if I can manage, everything is possible”, he added. He expects the program to help him learn new technics, to gain new experiences and to access to more information. “I expect to learn how to apply the new concepts, to that way face the reality of my own country from there, with new basic and complex tools with the challenge of applying them”, he said. Regarding his new life in the city of Oslo, he has a very positive opinion. “Besides the weather, it is very nice. People is kind and helpful, it is a good surprise for me, I didn’t really knew what to expect”, he said. The city itself has also been a surprise for him. “It is an interesting city, lot to see and to explore, I expect to see more. The best of it is how it is divided in different atmospheres. You have fun, calm, everything, like a lot of cities in mixed into one.


Hedda master student Andrés

Andrés Araos, from Chile, was our third interviewed student.

Student Spotlight: Sheena Miller

Sheena Miller

Sheena Miller is a second year HEEM student from the United States. She completed her BA at  New York University, concentrating in Gender Studies, German Language and Marketing. After graduating she worked within sales & marketing analysis in NYC and Melbourne, and also spent two years teaching English in Bungotakada, Japan.

Why did you apply for Erasmus Mundus HEEM?
It seemed like the most adventurous and engaging way to explore the realm of higher education and all of those nitty-gritty things which impact and/or are impacted by it. There are numerous master’s programmes in higher education, but the promise of being able to study with such diverse scholars, at three different universities, in three countries made this programme particularly irresistible. 

What has been the highlight of the Master’s experience for you?
Since we are a tiny group this year, we’ve received heaps of individual attention and feedback, which of course has been invaluable. Our classes and discussions are often held in a casual manner, over lunch or coffee. Such an approach makes the intimidating material we’re learning very accessible and occasionally, dare I say, pleasant. 

The most exciting academic moments I’ve had were hearing Ulrich Teichler and Sheila Slaughter speak at separate lectures. I can’t tell you how many hours I had spent reading and rereading their texts, doubting I had really understood the major points. So, it was rewarding to actually sit in an audience, make sense of their arguments, and eventually build up the chutzpah to ask them questions. In those seminars all of the struggles I had trying to grasp abstract concepts suddenly seemed worth the while.  But to be honest, the ultimate highlight has been learning that Sheila Slaughter (who I see as the Beyoncé of higher education) wears the same shoes I do!

Hedda students: FACE 2 FACE with Lineo, Agnes, and Ntimi

In this second episode we introduce three students, Lineo Kolosoa (Lesotho), Agnes Lutomiah (Kenya) and Ntimi Mtawa (Tanzania).  These students are enrolled in the Higher Education Master in Africa (HEMA) programme, financed by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and managed by  the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU). The HEMA programme is a collaborative programme involving the University of the Western Cape, University of Oslo, and the Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET). The main objective of the project is to contribute to the strengthening of higher education in Africa through building capacity with respect to expertise on African higher education. The students share their decisions why they decided to study in the Higher Education programme and some of their experiences living in Norway.

If you would like more information regarding the HEMA programme, please visit the CHET webpage: http://chet.org.za/programmes/hema/

Student Spotlight: Zechia Walters Chiafie

Zechia Walters Chiafie was born in 1984 in Cameroon. He holds  a secondary school teacher diploma from Higher Teachers Training College (ENS) Annexe Bamili, Cameroon (2003-2006) and a Bachelor degree in Geography from the University of Yaoundé (2003-2007).  He taught Geography and History for three years (2006-2009) and held the post of Vice Principal.  He is currently a 2nd year M. Phil student the  University of Oslo.

Why did you apply for the Hedda Master’s programme?

There is no doubt that higher education has enormous social, economic and private benefits, and so needs special attention. Nations that designed and invested in well-structured higher education systems earlier have leapfrogged significantly and are well advanced. Higher education institutions are the main fabrics of the contemporary societies and there are very essential contemporary scientific and analytical discourses about fate of higher education institutions in socio-economic development that need to be explored. Proper higher education systems can guarantee nation’s longtime survival or sustainability. Much therefore, still lies within the spheres of higher education that needs to be harnessed for sustainable economic development.

Since higher education institutions in Cameroon do not offer training in this field, I decided to apply for it at the University of Oslo. Secondly, I applied for this program because its learning outcomes reflect the gaps in Third World higher education systems including Cameroonian universities and the general higher education system.

What has been the highlight of the Master’s experience?

This program unveils many things in higher education that I have never known before. I have learned how to critically analyze issues and draw conclusions especially with this program’s well-fitted and supportive staff, available teaching-learning aids, and the flexibility of the program. My knowledge of research methods has also been broadened.

Student Spotlight: Vaiva Mazulyte

Vaiva Mazulyte was born in 1985 in Lithuania, in the town called Kaunas. She describes herself as a musician studying higher education. Since six years old her life was basically concentrated on piano playing. But as time passed she realized she wanted to learn something more and to know the world better. So after completing a master degree in Art of Performance (piano) at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater she started studying at the University of Oslo, where she is currently enrolled in Hedda´s Master Programme in Higher Education.

Why did you apply for the Hedda Master’s programme?

After completing my master studies in Lithuania I was looking for a new experience. I had an idea to go to Oslo and during the search on the internet my eyes were drawn to this master  programme that was in a field I was interested in, because of participating in students’ representative activity back in my country. I didn’t know much about it and didn’t know what to expect, but I just tried my luck, filled in my application, and… here I am!

What has been the highlight of the Master’s experience?

The highlight so far was passing the first oral exam! Seriously speaking, I am impressed by the academic-level around me at the University of Oslo.  Especially by the teachers we have, who are the best researchers in the field of higher education.  They also have very good intentions to help us achieve the best results.