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 studentlån 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)