By Joyce Deng, Foster Undergraduate who is participating in an exchange with the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) in Bergen, Norway.
I am so glad I was able to experience and learn so much about Norway in the 4 months that I spent here, but 4 months was definitely not enough. Time went by so fast, but I did get to create many amazing memories here as I explored the country throughout the semester. As my study abroad journey is coming to an end, I have summed up some of the most memorable things about Norway that I will miss when I leave this gorgeous country:
1.Brown cheese & chocolate
There are not a lot of famous good food in Norway, but brown cheese is one of the traditional Norwegian food that I really like (though not everyone likes it). It is brown, obviously, and sweet and creamy with a special taste of goat’s milk. I also really like Norwegian chocolate, particularly from Freia, the most popular chocolate brand in Norway. They are just good chocolate.
2. The view from my room
I live on the 4th floor on top of a hill, facing the seaside. I truly enjoyed seeing the beautiful city change its colors from summer to autumn to winter. Somehow the sky looked different every day and I was always amazed by the view every time I looked out the window.
3. Feeling perfectly safe and happy in a country
Norway has been repeatedly ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world and now I can totally see why. There’s just something about the calmness of the atmosphere and niceness of the people that would make you feel really comfortable living here.
4. Learning Norwegian
I love learning new languages and I had fun learning Norwegian. Even though its complicated grammar and dialect variations drove me crazy while I was taking the class, Norwegian is a cool language and to be honest I will miss hearing it on the streets.
5. The hikes in Stavanger
The trip to Stavanger was a special trip to me because that was the first time I got out of the city with friends, and challenged myself to many difficult hikes. It was very memorable to me because for one day I survived hiking in the rain (the first and only time I hiked in the rain), and the next day I survived climbing up a super steep hill in the most beautiful sunny weather there could ever be.
6. Road trips
If I ever get to visit Norway again, I would like to do a road trip through the country and maybe do some camping as well, because I think the best way to experience the amazing Norwegian nature is to drive through the mountains in the narrow but almost-empty roads and say hi to some sheep and goats along the way. I was lucky enough to go on two road trips this semester, and the trips definitely killed my camera battery fast. I just couldn’t stop taking photos along the way and wished I could sit in the car and stare out the window forever.
7. Chasing the northern lights
Normally, I get too lazy to go anywhere at night once I am home. However, over here, there was a true desire to see the northern lights inside me so strong that I always surprised myself by how motivated I was to rush outside with my camera– no matter how late at night it was–and wait in the cold once there was a slight probability of the northern lights appearing in Bergen. Unfortunately I never got to see it in Bergen, but I did travel all the way to the northern part of Norway to chase the northern lights. It was an amazing experience in which I wrote an over 800-word post about; but of course, 800 words were still not enough to describe how incredible the trip was.
8. Spontaneous night walks to the “beach”
I often find myself doing things here that I would never find myself doing in the US. Going to the “beach” late at night in the cold is an example. I put “beach” in quotes because it isn’t a real beach with sand and palm trees, but a rocky shore by the sea. Twice when I was with my friends, we spontaneously decided to go there at night to hang out. It felt really nice to chat with friends there while enjoying the city night view as well as the beautiful stars in the sky. Even though we always went home when we were close to freezing to death, those were great memories we created together that I will definitely remember.
9. Foto NHHS
Being able to join the student organization, Foto NHHS, at my school here was truly a blessing. I received photography training that I always wanted, and got to practice taking photos and working with studio equipment. In addition, it gave me many opportunities to do things I would otherwise not be able to do, such as taking photos with this special background, which is the oldest and by far the coolest room at school. Most importantly, Foto gave me a home away from home and a sense of belongingness as I became more involved at school and got to know more fellow photo-enthusiasts through the fun events that the club held.
10. Being surrounded by amazing nature
I’ve probably said this a million times already, but Bergen is a very beautiful city
surrounded by mountains and water. I am so glad I got into hiking and was able to see the amazing city from top of its mountains. There are 7 main mountains in Bergen and I hiked up 6 of them this semester. I regret not being able to do all 7, but that gives me a reason to come back.
There are many more great things about studying and living in Norway and the list can go on and on. For anyone thinking about studying abroad in Norway or just visiting Norway, I would definitely recommend it. I had a wonderful time here and I certainly hope I will be able to visit Norway again in the future.