Your Norwegian Adventure
«Norway has so much to offer from both the natural and social points of view. It has such a magical atmosphere, so many wonderful traditions and I’ve learnt so much since the moment I came. You could experience the magic of northern lights, the famous fjords, the cosiest Christmas ever and what being cold really means.
Consider having an exchange year
I am ready to bet that at least once in your lifetime you asked yourself “what if I leave everything and I escape somewhere else?”. In that precise moment, you grew up a little by starting to consider that there is an entire world out there waiting for you. If you can relate to this description, you may consider having an exchange year. Being an exchange student is not only about knowing another culture, visiting new places and meeting new friends. It is also about challenging yourself to become an open-minded person, it is about taking your own decisions and about making out how to cope with everyday difficulties. It is about learning a new language and it is about developing autonomy. If what you are looking for is a multicultural country where the most important thing just after tacos and the National day is Christmas, then you should really take a look at Norway. Norway is a land where nature lies untouched, it’s a place where the coldness of ice meets the warmness of people and where the innovations are perfectly merged with culture and traditions, it is a place of tolerance.
Chiara in Norway
My name is Chiara, I am from Italy and I’ve been in Norway for about four months. When I left my home country, I thought I knew what to expect from this experience, but now I am quite sure that no one is going to know it until you start your own adventure. However, there is no doubt that you will be facing obstacles during your exchange year, the only question is “is it worth it?” For me, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
One of the greatest concerns before leaving is your future placement. The placement consists of the city you will live in, the school and, what is more important, the family you will be part of for a whole year. Being in such a bounded community as a family is, that has completely different habits, priorities, points of view and ways of thinking is going to be hard, I’m not here to lie, and your biological family will miss you a lot. However, the point is that you grow up just by challenging yourself and facing problems, and you’ll see that if you keep a respectful approach, everything is going to turn out to be so natural and easy. Keep in mind that they have wanted you to be there, they made themselves the decision to take you and learn from you, and as it is difficult for you, it must be very tough for them as well. Some misunderstandings may occur, but your goal is to establish and keep a peaceful atmosphere around you, so fight to solve those problems! They want you to have a great time as much as you do. Trust them and talk to them and you will create very special bonds.
Give your self the chance to pick up an additional language
Apart from the host family, a student who wants to come to Norway can have a wide range of fears: making friends, being in a new school, facing the Norwegian weather, living far from his loved ones… Personally, the point I used to underrate the most is the language. Norwegian is in some ways similar to German and English, but from the grammatical point of view is not banal at all. I thought I would have learnt the language “passively” just by listening to others’ conversations, but it didn’t take much time to realize that I would have had to put much more effort. I’m not saying that this is impossible, but you’ll have to take your time, try to talk with the ones you feel comfortable with, write down the words you learn, memorize them and so on. However, I would consider learning Norwegian as a positive point because living here gives you the chance to pick up an additional language. Moreover, if you have left your home country hoping to improve your English as well, you can be sure that this is something that will happen. Inevitably is a country known for its stereotypes, but you must not base your expectations on them. Norwegians are not “cold people”, for example, and even if they may not be as friendly as Italians, everybody here is very nice and ready to help you.
Enjoy every single moment
What should be really your concern is not to enjoy your time in Norway by focusing too much on what you’re missing. As we previously mentioned, being far from home is painful, but it is not going to be forever. You will be back one day and you will click on the continue button to start again the life you stopped. Your days here will live forever in your memories but, as we know, memories are in the past. Enjoy every single moment, don’t waste a minute, set your own goals and reach them, work hard and you’ll see that you are strong enough to make this happen, even if you are so young. Norway has so much to offer from both the natural and social points of view. It has such a magical atmosphere, so many wonderful traditions and I’ve learnt so much since the moment I came. You could experience the magic of northern lights, the famous fjords, the cosiest Christmas ever and what being cold really means. You will be skiing and ice skating, you will make gingerbread houses, you will have the chance to observe majestic creatures such as mooses and bears. You may have the possibility to visit amazing towns, stand in front of breathtaking landscapes feeling so little compared to what is around you. You will discover another side of yourself, the part of you that can survive even in your blue days, the confidence that all you need to succeed is yourself.
Are you ready for your Norwegian adventure?