Phone Services

When you land at the Bergen airport, you’re going to want to jump up either because you’re full of excitement or you need to walk off that twelve hour flight. Regardless of your reason, you’ll nonetheless want to take pictures and post everything you see. You might notice that your phone isn’t working, internet isn’t connecting, you essentially have no connection to the outside world (regardless of standing in the middle of an airplane surrounded by people.)

That brings me to my next post: cellular devices and data. As I have mentioned several times, free wifi is of abundance in Bergen, Norway. The people and the city are all quite generous when it comes to this luxury. The free giving of it shows how they may perceive it as a right as opposed to a privilege especially in an age of mass consumption of technology. Wifi can be found on the bybannen, on buses, and free at most restaurants. You even have access to EduRoam as a student of UCB or UIB.

This post is for the people who want service in between these frequent hotspots of wifi. You may just turn on your roaming data and use the data from your plan at home. I will tell you first hand, that is a massive mistake. – One more time for the people in the back – Don’t do it! Your bill of $40 will jump up to $300 faster than you can say, “But I need to post this!” or “People have to know what I’m doing.” Don’t do it.

Avoid unnecessary fees by purchasing a SIM card at your local narvasen or 7-11. They will sell you a sim card for some phone company and you follow up with them. There are two kinds of SIM services: prepaid and pay as you go. I bought a sim card that’s prepaid, meaning I buy a plan with a certain amount of data and phone calls and I have it for a month or up to 30 days for the data. Pay as you go is more like you’re charged for what you do. I like the former option. It’s worked best for me.

How to Activate SIM Card

Buy the SIM card at one of the aforementioned mentioned stores and bring your passport. They will have you fill out a form which includes your passport number and other details. It will be activated in no more than 48 hours. If your phone doesn’t work, go into the store and tell them so they can resubmit the form.

SIM cards and their contact information:

My call <- mine. Great experience. They have sales on data during Christmas time, such as buy one MB of data for two MB. There is also a chat function on the website. They can charge your card on file from their end, which can be convenient.

Chess Their website is in Norwegian, but they have a chat feature and most Norwegians know English.

Tips

  • Pick up a SIM card in the first week.
  • Don’t use your data from home! It will put a dent the size of Texas in your funds.
  • Be aware of the status of your phone. Depending on your situation, your phone may need to be unlocked in order to use other SIM cards.

 

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My Housing

Since my room is in some kind of order, I figured now would be a perfect time to show you where you’ll likely live. I’ll describe both my own living situation and in another post, describe other possibilities and more details on Fantoft. Many places are considered student accommodation, like Alrek, apartment style places in the city, Fantoft (where I live), and more.

Fantoft is a student housing option operated by Studentsamskipnaden, also known as SIB. SIB runs housing and some additional areas such as gym access. Fantoft is composed of five buildings, referred to as blocks (block A, B, C, D, etc.) Some buildings are as high as eighteen floors and accomodate hundreds of students. There is a gym onsite and the Fantoft Klubb, which I’ll talk about later.

I live in a private room with my own bathroom. I share the kitchen with about eight students who live on my floor. We have separate spaces in the refrigerator, a lockable cabinet, and share the task of cleaning the kitchen. My room has desk built into the wall that spans across one wall of the room with five spacious shelves built above it. There is also a cozy bed (you need to supply your own sheets).

The closet space is quite generous too. To my right of the entrance is a double closet (about five feet wide) with an overhead shelf. On my left is the set of drawers. There are five large draws, a large cubby space, and two smaller drawers higher up.

I live on a higher floor and have a view of the forest. It’s relaxing to hear the wind blow through them at night. It’s even more beautiful to see the colors change over the course of five months.

Fast Tips:

The earlier you arrive, the more room options you have! I arrived on August 5th and although I selected something like this on my application, they gave me a choice as to the type of room I wanted in Fantoft. *Ask what are my options!

Bring one or two sets of sheets from home. They easily fit in your bag if you prioritize them over that pair of shoes and it’ll save you money when you arrive.

I bought an inexpensive quilt here! You could get lucky and do the same.

Two methods for buying gently used items: the Facebook page similar to free and for sale and 2) the “Fantoft Garage” hosted at the beginning of the semester until the stuff is gone. It’s a physical room where you can buy Ikea tables (as seen in the picture) for 15 NOK ($1.70), hiking boots, pans, etc.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

The focus of this post is transportation. I remember when I moved to Berkeley, it was a massive culture shock to find out I had to walk everywhere. Bergen is similar in the sense that you walk every where. The city is small and as an exchange student, you don’t need a car. The city is full of cobble stones so since you’ll be doing lots of walking, make sure you have comfortable shoes.

Planes

If you’re like me, coming to Norway will be your first time to Europe. When you arrive here, you’re quickly realize how cheap it can be to fly between European countries. You can buy a ticket to Paris for $30! Remember that when you buy these tickets, you can use a student discount. 

Norwegian Air – Use the code UNDER26 for discounted prices. Make sure to make a free account because the reward points add up fast AND you can use them quickly. It’s not like airlines at home where you need fifty million points saved before they are useful

SAS – On the left side of the page on the bottom of ‘Book a Trip,’ select ‘Book a Youth Ticket’ and put in your information

RyanAir – They don’t have student discounts, but these are the cheapest tickets you will ever buy

Trains

Bybannen is the metro here. It will bring you from Fantoft (your likely home) to the city center. Once you get into the city, everywhere you’ll want to go is easily walkable.

Automobiles (Buses)

Bergen Bystasjon is the bus terminal in Bergen. The Skyss ticket you buy at the beginning of the semester allows you to take these buses all over the city. Use the Skyssplanneleger to plan a trip using these buses.

Tip: A friend recently told me that since he is 19, he can travel around on certain transportation for free. Research that if you’re under 20, which seems to be a legal age to do many things here.