Why did you decide to study in Norway?
“I had never been to Norway before, but always wanted to go there after I visited Sweden in 2006. When a teacher in The Netherlands told me about a semester exchange scheme with Finland, I wanted to go there. Unfortunately the course I wanted to do wasn’t available that semester. So when I was searching for a second option, I found Bergen University College’s “Aesthetic- and Outdoor education in Early childhood” course, which even included a trip to Barcelona! I applied right away.”
What was your idea about Norway before you arrived and did you find the impression to be true?
“Before I left everyone told me it would rain all day, every day (this is something the city of Bergen is well known for). It would also be rather cold and people were not too friendly. When I arrived in Bergen, a buddy was waiting for me and brought me to my apartment, and she turned out to be very friendly. The weather was still very bad though!
However, the first six weeks the sun was shining every day. We hiked a lot and had a great time. Everyone was really helpful and very friendly. Norwegians are open as long as you start the conversation, and the rain isn’t that bad! Just buy a good rain jacket and an umbrella, and you’ll be fine!”
Compared to your country, what are the main differences when it comes to student life?
“In The Netherlands we have more classes and the teachers are stricter. When students are late in Norway, the teacher won’t mind. In The Netherlands you’re not even allowed to enter the class when you’re ten minutes late. The relationship between students and teachers is different too. In my country we’re quite formal, in Norway you talk to your teachers like they are your friends.
I should also add that groceries are way more expensive in Norway!”
What is the most important academic outcome of your time as a student in Norway?
“I’ve become more outdoorsy. I found it quite interesting that in Norway children play outside whether is raining or windy. I’ve also realized that small children can do more than most adults think, and you don’t have supervise them all the time.”
Are there any personal experiences as a student in Norway you would highlight?
“I’ve been on many amazing trips! Kayaking on The Nærøyfjord, a trip to Godøysund - and even to Barcelona (mind - it was a part of my course)! And the hiking possibilities in Norway are amazing.”
Would you recommend studying in Norway to students at your home university?
“Absolutely! I would recommend the country, Bergen, the college and my course. I also felt like home since day one at Fantoft student hostel where I lived. My fellow students were from China, Germany and Norway, which made it all the more interesting.”
What are you doing now and what are your plans for the future?
“I will stay in Norway until the 23th of December 2015. My classes end in the end of November, and I’ll then go to Oslo with a friend. We’ve booked train tickets and rented an apartment in the city centre. After I graduate back home, I’ll try to get work in a kindergarten or with young children at a primary school. I would really want to visit Norway again in a few years and go hiking - preferably in summer!”