Come to Norway, Meet the World

Monday, October 14th, 2013

by Vi Nguyen 

After spending six weeks at the International Summer School, I have the ability to say that with my personal experience, the ISS has beyond succeeded with their motto of “Come to Norway, meet the world.” I was able to not only meet wonderful Norwegian people but also others from all over the world. Each year the ISS invites hundreds of students from all over the world to learn about their culture, language and other subject areas. Towards the end of the program, the ISS hosts an event called “The ISS Culture Night.” This is an event where the students at the ISS wear their traditional costumes from their home country and performs their traditional dances. Before the show, they also have booths representing each country where they reveal their traditional customs with finger foods, history, etc. Because of this event, I was able to learn a lot about other countries but in particular I learned a lot about South Africa and Georgia.

Vi Nguyen in Norway

Set aside from the school experience, I encountered a culture difference that I often retell to my friends and family. It is rather a funny situation now that I think about it.

It was a Sunday evening and because everything is closed on Sundays the traditional thing to do on Sundays is to catch a movie at Saga’s movie theatre. My friend and I decided to watch Pacific Rim. As I ordered the movie ticket, the cashier asked where I would like to sit during the movie. I casually responded it doesn’t matter where I sit…having the thought that I would enter the movie theatre and decide where to sit where there’s availability just like here in the states. The cashier continued to bother me with the question of where I would like to sit, do I want to sit in the back or in the middle…I then got a little frustrated and responded o.k. I’m just going to go in and sit where there’s availability o.k. ? The cashier then respectfully explained to me that here in Norway when ordering your movie tickets you also receive assigned seats. I was not aware of this difference, and felt terrible…I then apologized and was assigned a seat in the middle. This was one of many culture differences that I have encountered. I have learned to be more aware and respect the culture differences.

A Norwegian Christmas

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

By:  Patrick Dion, Foster Undergraduate

I made a really good friend when I was studying abroad in Spain and she invited me back to Norway to spend Christmas with her family. While I love the holidays in the US with my family, having the change to spending Christmas in a different culture was something I couldn’t pass up. She lives in the capital city of Oslo and I got the full Norwegian Christmas experience as well as a tour of the city. Its interesting the differences and similarities that their traditions share with ours. I imagine this is because we have lots of Scandinavian people in the US, but there are some big differences in the way they celebrate Christmas. Santa Clause, for instance doesn’t live in the NorthPpole, he lives in your barn and everyone has one. Each family has either their own barn or a barn in the family where their Santa lives all year and makes the presents and toys for the children. He still sneaks out at night and puts the presents under the Christmas tree but he does it a day early. They open presents on Christmas Eve like lots of other European countries, but open them after dinner, even though the presents have been under the tree all day. The kids have to wait all day until the adults have finished eating and cleared the table before they can get to unwrapping. I think if they tried that here you’d have some very unhappy and anxious kids.

Norway is famous for its reindeer, but because Santa doesn’t live in the North Pole, he doesn’t need them. Instead, they serve them for dinner. I felt a little bad eating Rudolf around Christmas time but the meat was really delicious. The city of Oslo is a great place to visit even if you don’t know anyone to show you around. The transportation system is great and they have day passes available to get into the museums and ride the transit with one pass. Because it was winter, the sun never really rose very high in the sky. I’ve never been to Alaska so having a day long sunrise/sunset was pretty unique. If you ever get a chance to go I would recommend seeing all that you can and maybe trying some reindeer if you have the stomach for it.

Bergen Beginnings

Friday, September 30th, 2011

By: Stacey Kammerer, Foster Undergraduate

Hei hei! I’m Stacey, a senior of the Foster School, and am spending my fall semester in Bergen, Norway at NHH. Bergen is such a cute city (and very student friendly). It’s right on the water, and there are huge ships coming in all of the time. There’s also a fish market and about three shopping malls downtown. We have seven mountains surrounding the city. I’ve hiked one (or two?) of them so far. The only drawback about Bergen is that I think it rains here more than Seattle. But as they say here, there’s no bad weather in Bergen, just badly dressed people. The good news is that rain boots and Helly Hanson are fashionable here, so bring your rain gear. I like to think my Northface blends right in.

This year is the 75th anniversary of NHH, so there were a lot of celebrations two weeks ago. The Norwegian king came to the school as part of the ceremonies. There’s some construction going on here too, which reminds me of UW, but it’s scheduled to be done in 2012 I think, so you’ll have a nice, new building which can hopefully compete with Paccar. I signed up for something here called the Bergen Challenge, which I am excited about and am sure will be the topic of my next blog. We have had one get together, and I think I got to know more Norwegian students in one night that way than I have from my whole time here in Norway so far.