Finding opportunities in trying times
Carla moved from her home in England to Oslo in August 2020, shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic peaked in Norway. She had previously studied abroad in Australia during her undergraduate work at the University of Worcester and was looking for another opportunity to live outside the UK.
Although there were many places Carla could have chosen to continue her academic training, she says "OsloMet was like a light in my head, it kept shining brighter than the others". After arriving as a master's student in International Social Welfare and Health Policy, she quickly connected with PANSOC and Sven-Erik Mamelund who helped launch her research into suicide rates during the 1918 flu pandemic.
Carla, a self-described introvert who experiences "JOMO: the Joy of Missing Out", says that one of the ways she has coped with being alone for holidays and birthdays this year is by saying "yes" to new experiences. This newfound extroversion extends beyond making study friends and giving academic talks to Norwegian cultural activities like hiking into the forests around Oslo.
Studying at a new centre
PANSOC is one of OsloMet's five new Centres of Research Excellence. Working in this centre includes perks like a new sunlit office space and access to webinars and presentations with a global reach. These weekly seminars have been a highlight of Carla's experience this year. "Every week we talk with people from all over. I get experts commenting on my research proposal: 'have you considered this…' or 'what if you try that…'. Everyone is so supportive". With this help she has been able to craft her research plan and make the connections she needs to succeed in research.
I owe everything I've done this year to OsloMet and PANSOC. It's the most opportunity I've found at any university.– Carla Louise Hughes