17 September, 2010

the getaway

and i found myself standing, gazing, just below the bright night sky, rediscovering for the thousandth time the marvels a clear night can hold. and how i wish you could have been there with me.

last week's weekend took me outside of bergen for the first time, the occasion: my taking a step forward in making the best out of these five months and joining the university's men's choir Mannskoret Arme Riddere. there was an introductory weekend with cheesy initiation rites, wholehearted singing and avid drinking. sometimes even fifty cases of beer can be insufficient.

this weekend is visitation time and i look forward to dear claire arriving on friday (with hands and bags full of booze hopefully). we plan to be hitting the clubs, diskjokke at electric cafe, more specifically, looks particularly enticing. any of you bergen kids game?

as for my mental health: i keep recognizing faces of once familiar persons in the streets. though impossible to actually meet justin from burbank, wa here in norway, my brain keeps playing these tricks on me. what gives?

no do's and dont's this time, but rather a link to a very readable blog of a friend of mine. julia is blogging about her life in berlin as a young mother and general slacker: my post-it diary

word of the day: paraply (regenschirm)

02 September, 2010

study hard, party harder...

and suddenly it was autumn in bergen. ten degree temperature drop quasi overnight and a sudden increase in umbrellas spotted around the city. but for the vanlig student the end of summer also means the beginning of a new semester. and that in turn means but one thing: fadderuken!

mentor week is the culmination of every freshman's party desires: free entry to lots of venues, extra cheap beer (only 39kr) and general exuberance pretty much sum this last week up. luux and kvarteret have proven themselves worthy of wasting one's studentlÄn and have defeated my hopes of getting to bed a bit earlier, at least during the workweek.

after all the fun however, studying is serious business in norway and the administration spends sizable amounts of money to ensure a profound education for all students. this agenda manifests itself most strikingly in the a-grade condition of the university's assets and equipment. the studentsamskipnaden, bergen's student welfare organization, for example, has 7 kindergartens as well as state-funded psychologists.

DO #4: study in bergen! i don't want to sound too fanboyish, but this city is most definitely one of the finest places to study in europe. make sure to apply for a nice inner-city appartement in time, although these are far more expensive than the suburban monstrosities fantoft and hatleberg. these monuments of 1970s concrete abundance do, on the other hand, have the advantage of providing a colorful student life and, not to forget, the weekly friday kitchen parties.

i am going to go as far as saying that regardless of the where, an exchange semester is an experience that no student should miss out on. do it and do it early on!

DON'T #4: come unprepared, though. don't make the mistake i made with the decision that there would still be enough time to learn norwegian once arrived; learn the basics at least. while norwegians are inherently friendly and polite, it's hard to really get through to them and not speaking the language at all surely doesn't make things easier.

more pictures on jules' picasa page.

word of the day: bursdag (geburtstag)