Leaving one’s home country and going for international adventures is thrilling. I chose Norway for my one year Erasmus exchange, but don’t ask me why Norway, because the answer is neither simple nor short. The truth is I don’t really know. But I’m glad I made the choice to come here.
NATURE WILL MAKE YOU PEACEFUL
Norway is such a beautiful country. I am amazed by all the landscapes and wilderness. You feel so free when you walk close to a fjord, just enjoying life. The Norwegian state of mind is really different from what I’m used to in France. I feel less anxious here, less trapped in the day to day life. It is directly linked to the environment in which you live and, in other words, nature.
Norwegians love their nature. You will learn that very fast. They like going for outdoor activities such as hiking or cabin trips. For a French person used to modern facilities, a cabin trip may be surprising. Why would a sane person want to spend the weekend in a wooden cabin, lost in the middle of the forest and without water or electricity? However, you should know that this is the best way of having a good time for a Norwegian. Losing yourself in nature… Surprisingly, I learned to love this. The simple action of walking becomes soothing. Making a bonfire or cutting wood turns out to be an enjoyable activity.
Living in another country is all about opening yourself to new experiences.
THE CHALLENGING NORDIC BEHAVIOUR
The Norwegian way of being polite challenged my French cultural norms. Do not expect a man to hold the door for you, ladies, it will not happen. Norwegian politeness is all about not disturbing anyone else. On the other hand, you feel really safe because no one will bother you in the streets. They don’t want to disturb. I wish more French guys would understand that. The feeling of equality and safety surprised me. You can go running alone at night without being afraid. I am truly experiencing a new way of life.
Although, Norwegian people may appear quite cold at first sight: once you break the ice, they are really nice. You just need a framework to talk with them. Parties and alcohol are really a useful tool for that, so you should invest in some beers on a Saturday night. Despite the price of these precious beverages. Furthermore, they love playing quiz : they would rather have a quiz with you than simply having a coffee and talk. As surprising as it can appear for the uninitiated.
A STRESSLESS VISION OF EDUCATION
This country seems to be a society based on equality, whether in terms of gender relations or education. In France, lecturers will teach you that you are living in a competitive society, and they will push you to be the best. Here, they are more peaceful but above all they are interested in you. Lecturers care about how you’re feeling or if you understand the lecture. Norwegians pay attention to equality, and they want everyone to be good enough.
But this can be seen as a lack of pressure put on the students by the teachers. This is very different from the stress that you can possibly feel in a French classroom. Facing a lack of stress like this can be dangerous for a French person: be careful about not falling into the trap of laziness.
Obviously, it depends on your level of education: being in a bachelor’s degree is not as stressful as being in a master’s, no matter which country you are studying in.
In conclusion, why should you choose to go to Norway?
Despite the exorbitant cost of living (choosing between eating meat or going to the cinema becomes common), you will discover a wonderful country. There is still some Norwegian kroner to put in your travels, and the beautiful landscapes are worth the capricious weather. “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing” like all Norwegians say.
In short, come to Norway !