Being a Chinese Student in Norway
Sitting in a cozy coffee house in Oslo and writing down my experiences of studying in Norway, is the best weekend ever, especially after hiking around the beautiful lake Sognsvann.
It was my childhood dream to study abroad. I made my decision to study in Norway since I am particular interested in Scandinavian culture and languages. When I knew that I got admitted offer by Aalesund University College, I was so happy and would like to immerse myself in a place that I knew nothing about.
Survive from the darkness
In the year 2009 I was fortunate enough to become a college student in Norway. It was a long journey for me to travel through the Eurasian continent and move from my hometown in northern China to the western coast of Norway. I always thought that I was an outgoing person, but it wasn’t until I moved to Norway as a foreign student that I realized I hadn’t been as open-minded as I had thought.
My first winter in Norway was a tough experience, since daytime was really short and it got dark so early. Maybe it is a little bit exaggerated, but if you have watched “Game of the Thrones”, then you can imagine how harsh the winter is in Kingdom of the North.
How to “survive” from the darkness is the first lesson to learn for most of us who come from other parts of the planet. My tips are “going hiking” or “having a cup of coffee”, which can also help you meet Norwegian friends. They say that Norwegians are born with skis on their feet and that is entirely true! The phrase “let’s grab coffee” has opened so many doors for me, by breaking the ice between what were once strangers and now are people I’m lucky enough to call my friends.
To be innovative
When it comes to academic experience, some of the most impressive lessons are learning by doing. My bachelor degree is Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship, which focuses on developing business ideas and implementing new ventures. I believe the innovation program will inspire me not only academically, but also should be something supplementary. This program is focused on real problems, not only theory.
My most honorable experience during my study is a student company project than run by me together with other four students named- Njord AccessoriesTM. The sea has always been of great importance to Norway. The key concept of Njord AccessoriesTM is to use old, traditional material- fish leather and make it into new and fresh accessories.
I believe the most valuable part of this project is the spirit of synergy. To be honest, as a Chinese student, I felt it is more difficult to be critical than to be creative, especially during the group work where students have to give comments to each other.
Now I am enrolled as a master student at University of Oslo, and my major is Technology, Innovation and Knowledge. This master was a perfect complement for my bachelor, which analyzes different aspects of the knowledge society; how knowledge and technology is developed and applied in the politics, trade and other aspects of society.
I still remembered that in the first lecture of master every student introduced themselves about their academic backgrounds. After the lecture, some of my classmates asked me whether I came from the western coast of Norway. Then I realized that I got an Aalesund accent, which made me very proud.
If you ask me where Norway differs from China the most, my answer is the language. Norway is not a big country in respect of its population. However, Norway has two official writing languages- Bokmål and Nynorsk, and many oral dialects. Norway is indeed a land of dialects, where people keep their dialects whereever they move to. In my opinion, language makes identity in Norway, and people are pround of their own dialects and glad to be different.
I am very thankful that I got a chance to study in Norway, which enable me to have better understanding in the field of international communication and cultural diversity.
Photo: Shimeng Lui