Takk for turen! – My Erasmus+ experience in Oslo
„Thank you for the tour!“. That’s what you say in Norway after a hike, a trip or after 4 unbelievable months.
My stay in Oslo was one of the most challenging and beautiful time I had so far. I started the journey together with a friend and went by plane. Our flight was an adventure itself. Missed the flight, had to wait for a very long time, almost missed the connection and in the end, we arrived without luggage for the first week. But it didn’t really matter, it all worked out and I have now an exciting story to tell.
The first week, the buddyweek, was organised by the Board of OsloMet. Throughout this week you had a lot of opportunities to meet other exchange students and get first contacts. About a week later the courses started. I chose Outdoor Education, one of two courses available for primary school teachers. You’ll have to be aware the course originally was created for kindergarten teachers. However, the content is fitting for working with children in different ways. We had kindergarten and primary school teachers in our course, as well as social workers and some other professions, everyone is welcome. Through the course you will have a lot of small hikes in nature, trips to kindergartens and schools and a lot of very interesting discussions with your teachers and colleagues. We had a lot of time outside the courses, of course there is some reading to do, but never a lot, which is very convenient if you’re planning some trips and hikes. The University is a beautiful complex of buildings with a whole building dedicated to students with a lot of space to sit and work. Spreaded over the campus you can find different cantines and cafes, where you get special offers in exam weeks and a special student price for coffee. The University also has different events happen all the time, where everyone is welcome to join.
Link to the course at OsloMet: Play, Movement, Nature and Outdoor Education – Nordic Childhoods (BLH3270, BLH3340) – OsloMet
Studentlife in Oslo
I stayed in a studenthome of SiO, which was very convenient and nice. SiO Housing is spread all over Oslo and I got a room in Vestgrensa, which is a bit more expensive but has the perfect location. It is located in front of Athletica Domus, which is one of the fitness studios from SiO. You don’t know your roommates before moving in, but the process of getting the keycards and finally getting in the room is very easy and well prepared. The room was already furnished, but without a router for WIFI, I had to get one (around 20 €) as there is only the cable available. The residents of the studenthouse organise events every now and then, so you get the chance to meet other people from the same building and area. It also only takes about 15 minutes with the metro to Sognsvann, the lake and the forest. To the metro and the tram station you need less than 5 Minutes and there are a lot of stores around. In general, public transport is very good in Oslo, you can reach almost every destination with them, though they often were late, especially the tram lines.
If you want to have more contact with locals, I recommend you to join an association. There is a day in the first week where all the associations come and you can have a chat and get information. For almost every sport you can find a group to join. There are also more rare clubs (for beer and other similar things). I personally joined the “OSI Gruppedans” and later on “OSI Friluftsliv”. If you like going on trips you should join “OSI Friluftsliv”, over the semester they offer different hikes and trips. That are absolutely amazing opportunities to experience the country in a different way. If you don’t know the concept of friluftliv now, don’t worry, you will live by the time you come back, so I won’t tell you know ;).
A tip I can give you regarding the different currency: If you pay with your normal card (and everything is paid with card in Norway) you’ll have to pay a little fee every time because of the change if currencies. I got an account at the online bank “N26” for free. If you do this early you can order a card and can pay with it.
Some apps you should download to make your life as a student easier are: SiO Mitt (for housing, laundry and the gym), Router (public transports), Too good to go (food), Aurora (an app to predict the northern lights).
The city is a beautiful mixture of old buildings and newer ones. All in all, it is a new city with the opera house opened in 2008 and the public library in between the central station and the opera house directly at the fjord. Oslo is very student friendly in many ways. In has a student ticket for public transport (which you can get via “Ruter”), there are lots of activities to do for student especially (f.e. the Studentslippet – it’s a week where students can get tickets for various activities in Oslo for free) and, my personal favourite, it has beautiful libraries all over the city. All of them are “Deichman” libraries, some in very new and big buildings, some of them in older smaller buildings. You can go there, get a coffee and sit there for hours working, reading or just enjoying the atmosphere. Oslo is beautiful in summer and in winter. In summer you can go swim in the fjord, go on hikes around Sognsvann, make a bonfire and enjoy nice evenings on roof terraces. In winter you can go sledging, hiking in the snow (I recommend you become a member with TNT, you’ll get a key to different huts all around Oslo and its very cheap) and ice skating on the lake. Autumn is a very rainy season, so you should be prepared and bring waterproof shoes.
As alcohol is rather expensive, I can recommend the club “Mabu”. Unfortunately, the music isn’t very good, but every Wednesday the drinks are cheaper until midnight (still expensive, but more affordable than usual).
Something that was very popular is the app “Too good to go”. There are so many restaurants and bakeries participating in the city and you get really good quality and a good amount for the money you pay. I practically lived of this.
My final tip: when you arrive, don’t get stressed out about having to do all the things at once. Take your time, settle and start exploring the city and the country when you feel ready. Everyone experiences their time away differently, you do you.
Text: Dorothea Paar