Settling in Bergen

Guest Post By: Karen Wu, a Sophomore studying Finance and Marketing. She is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and she studied abroad through a Foster Exchange and Direct Enroll at the Norwegian School of Economics in Bergen, Norway, during Autumn Semester 2022.

Bergen is a small city with a population slightly larger than Tacoma’s. The city is surrounded by seven mountains and is located on the southwest coast of Norway. When I first arrived in Bergen, I was excited to begin my journey studying abroad, but I was also intimidated for what the next few months would bring. However, I soon realized, I was not alone, and there are many other exchange students who were beginning the same journey as I was. After meeting my neighbors, who were also exchange students at NHH, we decided to hike Fløyen, one of seven mountains in Bergen. Before going to Norway, I rarely went on hikes. However, hiking is a big part of the culture in Norway, so I decided to start hiking to immerse myself into the culture. Hiking soon became an enjoyable hobby for me.

The peak hiking season is during the summer and ends in September. Once the peak season ends, public transportation to major hiking trails become limited, which makes it difficult to access some of the most popular attractions. As a result, exchange students try and hike as many attractions as they can in August and September, when trail conditions are most favorable, too. One of my biggest hikes in Norway, was Trolltunga, which is a rock located 2,300 feet above Ringedalsvatnet lake. The hike was challenging since it was 17 miles round trip, but the view and experience made it one of my best memories while studying abroad.

Settling in Bergen was a breeze since other exchange students were also settling in and going through the same process as I was. Additionally, NHH made settling easy since the first week of school was Welcome Week, where the administration held different meetings to provide important information regarding NHH, registration, and Norway. During Welcome Week, students from Norway were also mentors to exchange students, where they showed us around the city and hosted fun events. Welcome Week is also an important time to join interest groups and subcommittees, which is the same as RSO’s at UW. Like the ‘Seattle Freeze’, Norwegians do not like talking to people they do not know, so it is hard meeting Norwegian students if you do not join any interest groups or subcommittees. My favorite interest group to join was NHHI Friluft, which is a hiking group that arranges various hiking trips open to students of all skill levels. The group also lends out hiking and outdoor equipment to its members, to create an inclusive environment. My most memorable trip with NHHI Friluft was an overnight stay at a tourist cabin, where I saw the northern lights for the first time.