“Everything is so modern and up to date. The school doors open automatically as you approach. And the amazing view from the school: fjords, mountains, islands.”
“And you can go to school for self-studies in the evenings and even on Sundays. This is something really crazy for me. I mean: They really trust the students here, it is so impressing.”
Normally, Chloé Bourhis studies Business management at IAE Toulouse, France. The academic year 2016-2017 she is an exchange student at NHH in Bergen, Norway.
France is the second biggest sender of exchange students to Norway, after Germany. Why do you think French like to come to Norway for studies?
“The landscape. I post photos on Facebook and my French friends go: “Wow, I am so jealous, you are so lucky to be there!” Norwegians are happy, there are few problems here. In France we are frightened by terror attacks. And wages are good. Norway is perfect. I still think so after having been her for 8 months.”
“I can leave my laptop in the reading hall for an hour without worrying about anything. It is so peaceful here. I lost my mobile phone out on town one Saturday evening and thought it was lost forever. But hey: A man had found it and handed it over to be the very next day. That is really incredible!”
During your time in Norway, what surprised you the most?
“The landscape. I went to Trolltunga in September, on a sunny day. It was super nice, so amazing. I also like running and hiking. Bergen is perfect for that. And the beautiful sunsets.”
“People are really nice. I just asked for directions to this meeting. If you ask, they will answer – in English. I am so glad to be here! I really appreciate people’s mentality. Most people won’t steal. I feel very safe.”
Your main reasons for choosing Norway for your studies?
“In France we tend to go south for holidays and studies: Spain, Italy. Norway is a more original choice. I was fascinated by the way of life here: Good quality of life, good economy, good system, and good mentality. There are never any problems in Norway, that is your reputation. And everybody speaks English so well, that was important to me as I wanted to improve my English too. And the landscape, of course: The mountains and fjords are so beautiful.”
How has your impression changed?
“Since the very first day, I really liked Norway. I experience new things every day. I came last August, and didn’t get to see any northern lights during autumn. But now after Christmas I did, and it is truly amazing. And I meet a lot of new exchange students this semester. So to me, a full year exchange is perfect.”
What are the main differences between Norway and France when it comes to academic life?
“The relation with the professors is completely different. In France there is great distance, and we never say the professor’s name. Here it is like: “Hei, Per.” And the students participate actively in class. In France the other students would laugh at you if you did, thinking you are trying to show off. But here it is totally normal to participate, and I like that. We also have to hand in essays. I like that too, it makes you work.”
What are the main differences between Norway and France when it comes to cultural and social life?
“Norwegians are shy. It it a bit hard to get to know them, but when you do they are really nice. Meals are quite different. Norwegians typically have dinner at 5 PM, whereas I am used to 7 or 8 PM. I like the food here, fish meals are delicious.”
What will you miss the most when you leave?
“Every morning I wake up seeing the fjord and the mountains, two things that I truly love. Such a beautiful view from my flat and from the school too. I will miss that a lot.”
In what way do you think your stay here will influence your career opportunities?
“I like to discover other cultures, and it brings some important learning. My English was terrible when I arrived, now it is quite ok. Then there is this experience of being away from your friends and family for so long, taking care of your self: Employers can feel these things, it makes a difference.”
“NHH in itself is important. Having studied here, at the best business school in Scandinavia, is an advantage. Norway is a more original choice than Spain, where lots of French students go.”
“I am trying to learn Norwegian, it is pretty hard. But I want to, I really do. I didn’t realize that food and drinking was so expensive. Some Norwegians get pretty drunk and transform while drunk. But other than that: perfect!”