Frederic longed to leave his hometown outside Oslo in southern Norway and see the world.
“I wanted to study my degree in an English-speaking country, and a few friends of mine had come to Australia on exchange and they opened my eyes,” Frederic says.
Frederic knew about British and American languages and cultures, but had little exposure to Australia before he arrived in Canberra in January 2016.
“There’s definitely a sense of community here in Canberra, because of the ANU,” he says.
“My friends in other Australian cities say that they’re studying at a bigger uni in a bigger city, and there’s lots of background noise.
“Canberra offers many different things, and there are many interesting people.”
Frederic originally studied Arabic and international security studies. His degree is now a Bachelor of Languages, with minors in Arabic, Spanish and Asia Pacific security studies.
“No other university in Australia offers these combinations of languages,” he says.
The staff in the ANU Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies have been a highlight of Frederic’s first year.
“You feel seen in the Centre. When doing Middle Eastern studies, I feel it’s a good place to be as there’s a special interest and curiosity about the place.
“They offer a bit extra, for example have Arabic movie nights with culture and food, bringing the world into the classroom.”
Students know how much homework their teachers expect of them.
“That makes it easier to not fall off; they’re clear about what you need to do to keep up, and emphasise what you need to know,” Frederic says.
Aside from the standard classes for both Arabic and Spanish, Frederic also takes extra classes for reading Arabic. In his Ursula Hall dormitory room he watches Spanish TV shows to think in Spanish, and listens to modern and classic Arabic pop music on Spotify.
“After I graduate, I want to spend six months working in the Middle East,” he says.
“It doesn’t matter where, as long as I can work on my Arabic. After that, I’ll spend six months in a Spanish-speaking country to try learning the language and culture. Then I can think about finding a job using those skills, or doing further study.”