Olivia’s with Cal Reps

Thursday was such a relaxing and rejuvenating day. I went to the migration course and heard such an informative and clear lecture about citizenship. I stayed around the university, working at my own speed. I rewrote notes and finished a solid draft for a semester assignment. It was so relaxing for my soul honestly.

I say all of this to say that a dinner with Kristi and another Cal rep added to this day. She invited me a bit last minute, but I’m so glad I had an open schedule this day. She was in Norway for meetings encouraging Norwegian students to go on exchange at the beautiful and unique, UC Berkeley.

Tbane took me into the city where I met up with Kristi and the other students. Most of these Norwegian ambassadors went to Berkeley Fall ’16 so they were there during the election. Goodness, it was interesting to hear about their perspectives on America. One student, Nadine, appreciated that American were so direct. The other student loved the energy of the campus.

As we talked I wondered what I could do to make my experience in Norway more rich and memorable. Each of the students wished they had broken out of their bubble of Norwegian friends and met other students. One student knew she wanted to join a soccer team and as time went by faster and faster, she didn’t get around to doing it.

I discussed my experiences and when they asked about making friends, I shared that it was difficult, especially coming to Oslo mid-year. The offered to hang out together so by the end of the night, I made sure to get their contact information.

The lesson for me: figure out what you want to do, how you’re going to do it, and DO IT! Don’t let your time fly by.

I am full of gratitude today. Speaking with the Norwegian students put my experience into perspective. It’s easy to take these experiences for granted, especially when I’m thinking about what I will do career wise when I get back to Berkeley. There is a lot on my mind, but today, I’m grateful for the Ravioli av Fungi I had at Olivia’s. I’m grateful for the beautiful sunset, the clean air, the tasty water from the tap, and I’m grateful for friends who are excited to go new places in Norway and friends at home who hold me accountable.

Olivia

Oslo – Spring

I’ll be in Oslo for the Spring semester and before the semester has moved too far along, I want to introduce you to the city, the university, and my motivations for coming here.

Why Oslo?

Since the moment I arrived in Norway, the most common question I hear is “Why did you choose Norway of all places?” Each person asks it with such surprise and disbelief, that I am forced to reaffirm why I am here. First off, the nature is spectacular and offers some of the most remarkable views I have seen in my life. The fjords, constant flurries of snow, frozen bodies of water, and views as far as the eye can see are some of them. While I came here to be imersed in this natural type of environment, I also came for the academics

What UIO offers

Oslo is a hub for research in Norway and also has an expanisive selection of courses to choose from. Some places for research are the thirteen Centres of Excellence (abbreviated as SFF for the Norwegian translation), tweleve of which are connected to the University of Oslo. Here the researchers focus on specific, long-term research of high international calibre. Quality is a dominant focus for the reseach and there is a good amount of researcher training here as well. Each center seems to have a different focus, so if these are related to your areas of study, it could be useful to check out the the link above. Consider contacting some of the researchers there and learn more about their work. You may even find yourself involved on a project.

I’m interested in education policy and since the Education Department at UIO is one of Norway’s largest departments for education research, it made sense to come here. My courses are in Sociology, social geography, and education. I am most excited for my Comparative International Education course. The classes is full of people from all over the world, therefore, it is a perfect opportunity to learn about the varying models. By the second class, we each gave a presentation of our school systems in America. I was surprised to learn that Germany has a system whose structure can and very clearly limits social mobility. The discussion also helped me draw out some features of our system that I take for granted. No one else seemed to bring up the appearance of charter or magnet schools in their systems. It could be that they don’t have them or that they are under a different name, but it is worth exploring nonetheless.

Student Associations at UIO

There are dozens of student orgs at this university ranging from politics and sports, to music and even Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), if that’s your thing of course. I’ve joined a kayaking club and SAIH, which is an org I am continuing from my time at UIB. I have a club meeting for each org once a week. The kayaking club is awesome because our weekly practice in the pool will lead to trips through fjords later in the summer.

Demographic and City Vibe

Oslo is a more diverse city due to the increased number of immigrants who come here. (I should be able to tell you why when I finish my course on migration…hopefully.) There are migrants from all over the world, many of which are Polish. With the crisis in Syria, Norway has also seen an increase in the number of Syrians who enter the country. People migrate for many reasons and it isn’t always limited to dangerous wars that have caused them to flee, effectively making them refugees. People migrate for work, to rejoin their families, or even because they are forced to by the state or government. Migrants come and stay in Oslo for numerous people and it continues to add to the beauty and diversity of the city.

Vibe in the city is similar to other places in that you feel the energy which comes from the meshing of people and an internal desire to continue looking forward. At the edge of the city, near the Oslo Opera House, is the Barcode District. The collection of buildings that make up this area add to the memorable and modern landscape of Oslo. Come here and you’ll see the modernization of Oslo paired with the nature of the open harbor.

Things to do

There are tons of things to do in this city. One can check out the museums and tour the city, or become one with nature on a hyttetur (cabin trip) lost among the trees. Making dinner with friends and sharing recipes is a great way to remember this experience through your tastebuds. There is tons to do and so little time. Do yourself a favor and enjoy every bit that you can. You won’t be sorry to share these experiences with others.