Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Bergen (Norway)

Evgenia Sysolyatina (fall 2008)

E-mail: eva2genia@yandex.ru

The fall of 2008 year I spent studying at NHH. That was a great experience with overwhelming amount of new knowledge, emotions and friends. I am really happy I captured the opportunity that was offered by our GSOM to bachelor students. Further I will try to describe briefly my stay in Bergen, the economical capital of Norway.

First week and accommodation

When you come in Bergen, friendly employees of the International office meet you in the city center, they take you by car to the Hatleberg - student dormitory, which is just in 10 minutes max from NHH. Usually at the same day of your arrival you go to IKEA, because there is no covers, pillows, etc in the room. There are special busses coming there so it is not so hard, but actually you will need lot of things to buy. Supermarkets are right next to the dormitory, there is no problems with English-speaking staff there, but you need to remember that Saturday and Sunday are special days, hardly 1 store is working on the weekend (Sundays especially)  The rooms are separated; sometimes you share a bathroom with another person leaving next to you. The kitchen is shared between 5-8 people. Everything is very cozy around, so quite soon you start to feel comfortable and relaxed. In order to adopt in a new place you are involved into lots of activities, parties (there is special school's club Klubben which is only for NHH students, who run it themselves), sporty events like hiking for example, which is really popular among the natives. There are no many excursions, so you should arrange the acquaintance with the city yourself. Probably for those who are not fond of club-life the welcome week will be not so amazing, but anyway you will meet new people, who will become quite close friends a bit later.

 

 

Studies

Studies start the next week after the welcome one. Usually exchange students from all over the world are masters, but this makes no great difference between them and you. Almost all the courses offered in English are of the master level, too, however you can ask in the International Office for the permission to register for them, thus you can develop your knowledge and skills trying to reach the higher level. Normally students are taking 4 courses each weighting 7.5 points. You can take up to 6 courses at the same time. In order to understand which courses do you like and which not you are aloud to visit all the lectures without any registration during the first 2 weeks, but then you need to choose. The examination period starts in the mid November, the process is completely different from the one we have at GSOM, but this is the question of practice. The main difference is that you get 2-3 open questions and case to build your answers on. During 3-4 hours you are writing the "essay", the average amount of pages is about 15. For me personally it was a bit surprising, but then I got used to. Anyway your ideas and deep understanding will be appreciated.

Summary

Norway is a great country to visit, definitely you will have a lot of opportunities to travel around, if you would like to get the information, you can always ask people from the International Office, especially Norunn Okland, the head of the office, who is really helping and caring woman. As for me, I met new friends, saw different cultures and it was an unforgettable experience. I enjoyed my studies, lectures, the people reading the courses and the atmosphere. I guess our school should continue developing new international relations with other business universities of the world, so that our students will have more opportunities to experience new ways of studying and to absorb innovative ideas and modern apprehension of the world.

 

Donata Koroletskaya (fall 2009)

E-mail: d-koroletskaya@mail.ru

Родина троллей и мужественных викингов, Норвегия - одно из немногих европейских государств, сумевшее сохранить первозданную чистоту удивительной, неповторимой природы: величественные горы и ледники, огромное количество рек, озер, водопадов, широкие заливы и песчаные пляжи, знаменитые норвежские фьорды, национальные парки и природные заповедники. Неслучайно Норвегия признана самой благополучной страной по уровню экономического развития и продолжительности жизни людей.

Семестр, проведенный в Норвежской школе экономики и делового администрирования - это, безусловно, неоценимый опыт и потрясающие впечатления! Семестр по обмену - необыкновенный шанс познакомиться с множеством студентов со всего мира,  узнать о различных странах и  культурах.

Подготовка документов в ВШМ и получение визы

Сбор документов не отнимет у Вас много времени. Полный список документов, необходимых для участия в конкурсе зарубежных учебных стажировок, представлен на сайте ВШМ.  Главное позаботиться о сроках. Не откладывайте все на последний момент. Особенно подумайте заранее  о  сдаче TOEFL.

Для того чтобы получить норвежскую визу, необходимо ехать в Генеральное  Консульство Норвегии в Санкт-Петербурге (Невский проспект, 25). Если вы уезжаете на осенний семестр, лучше заняться оформлением визы в начале июля, когда в консульстве нет очередей. Кроме того, оформление визы может задержаться до трех - четырех недель, поэтому опять же позаботьтесь об этом заранее. 

Проживание

Самое главное - не медлить с заполнением "Registration Form Housing", которую пришлет Вам школа. Чем раньше Вы ее заполните, тем больше вероятность того, что Вы будете жить в общежитии  Hatleberg, которое находится через дорогу от NHH, что, безусловно, является большим преимуществом. Общежитие  состоит из нескольких корпусов, часть из которых - давней постройки (проживание в них дешевле), часть - новые блоки. Выбирать, в каком блоке Вы бы хотели жить, - возможности нет.  В основном все комнаты одноместные, с собственной ванной комнатой. Кухня - общая на коридор (в коридоре 7 комнат).

Если в комнате что-то сломано или испорчено, не спешите чинить это своими силами. За проживание студентов отвечает организация SIB. На их сайте (http://www.sib.no) в разделе Housing необходимо заполнить Damage Report, и в ближайшие дни неполадки будут устранены.

Рядом с Hatleberg есть отличный спортивный комплекс. Можно приобрести абонемент на семестр. 
 

Обучение

Обязательно внимательно изучите все курсы, которые предлагает NHH. Их много. Студентам по обмену разрешается выбирать как курсы для бакалавров, так и для магистров. Необходимо набрать 30 кредитов, каждый курс оценивается в 7,5. Таким образом, каждый студент обязан изучать 4 предмета. Однако не запрещается взять и больше.  Зарегистрироваться на курсы следует как можно раньше, так как количество мест ограничено.  Необходимо выбирать те курсы, которые не наслаиваются по времени. Хотя Ваша посещаемость практически нигде не фиксируется, поэтому (если такая ситуация возникла) можно ходить на пересекающиеся по времени курсы поочередно.  Но категорически нельзя выбирать курсы, даты экзаменов по которым совпадают. В NHH нет промежуточной аттестации и каких-либо других контрольных работ. Здесь акцент делается на групповых проектах (группы состоят, как правило, из 3-4 человек), презентациях кейсов. Такого рода заданий очень и очень много. Кроме того, необходимо читать множество статей. Но все это очень интересно! Лекции по всем курсам заканчиваются в середине ноября. Дальше начинается сессия. Как правило, экзамен длится 3-4 часа, все вопросы открытые и требуют развернутого и подробного ответа.

Свободное время

В Бергене всегда найдется, чем занять себя. Спортзала, футбол, бальные танцы, групповой просмотров фильмов в холле в общежития, мероприятия, организованные музыкальными, танцевальными, литературными  кружками (в которые можно вступить в начале семестра) - лишь малая часть того, как можно провести свободное время.

В самом здании NHH расположен клуб (Klubben), в котором каждую пятницу проходят самые разнообразные вечеринки. По четвергам в некоторые клубы города вход бесплатный. Кроме того, сами студенты устраивают множество вечеринок и совместных ужинов на кухне. 
Репутация у Бергена слегка "подмочена" дождливой погодой. Говорят, что дождь здесь не идет всего несколько недель в году. Тем не менее, Берген оставляет незабываемые впечатления в любую погоду.
 
В Бергене непременно нужно посетить набережную Брюгген с ее разноцветными деревянными постройками и сувенирными магазинами, башню Розенкранца , старинную крепость Бергенхюс, церковь Мариякиркен, церковь Святой Девы Марии, поместье Тролльхауген, резиденцию знаменитого норвежского композитора Эдварда Грига, и многие-многие другие места. В центре города находится Information Office, где можно получить подробную информацию обо всех достопримечательностях города и спланировать свой досуг.    

Удачи всем, кто собирается на стажировку в этот замечательный город. Не полюбить его невозможно. Он оставит неизгладимый след в вашей душе, Вы захотите вернуться туда не один раз.  

 

Дарья Боброва (fall 2009)

E-mail: bobrova_daria@mail.ru 

Exchange semester in the land of Fjords and Trolls OR Internship at NHH

I have never imagined that semester abroad could be such a great and significant experience in my student life. Studying, international communication, language practice, social and business life awareness   - all these features have become inherent attributes of the semester in Norway.   In these report I will tell you about necessary administrative procedures, conditions of accommodations, education process, and social life in Bergen.

All administrative procedures start with applying a number of documents to International Office  in GSoM and participation in the TOEFL testing (550 points is required). This formal process is precisely described on the web page of our school. As soon as you get a confirmation letter about exchange program it's better to apply for special student visa (a packet of needed documents is presented in the consulate general of Norway). The process of receiving visa usually takes about 3-3.5 weeks. Also you should send all the necessary documents to International Office at NHH (it can be a list of grades in Russia for all years of studying in GSoM, list of desired courses, application form for housing and so forth). Moreover as soon as you know more or less accurate date of receiving visa you should book tickets for plane  (of course, if you going by plane to Norway, since there are other but longer routes). According to air companies there are two most appropriate: SAS (with transit flight in Copenhagen) and Norwegian.no (with transit flight in Oslo). I would prefer Norwegian.no, since in this case you had fewer problems with overweight.

 

When you arrive to Norway, or to be more precise to Bergen, you need to solve a number of questions: to pay a deposit for accommodations, get residence permit, go through procedure of course registration and other things that you will learn when you come.

 

Conditions of accommodations are almost perfect for reasonable rent. You will have a nice and comfortable room with your own toilet and shower, and access to speedy Internet (do not forget to take cable to get access). From the window of your room you will have a wonderful and exotic view either on mountains or on sea and fjords. Common month payment for the room is 3000 NOK (400 euro). But price depends on the type of block to live in, since some blocks are renovated and some are not. Variation of month payment is 2600 - 3600 NOK.

 

Education process is different from Russian one. Huge accent is put on self education, that's why you are required to read lots of books and articles, made group projects such as term papers, group presentations and so forth. This process allows you to plan your spare time and organize plans for social life. All the projects that I've made were so excited, fascinating and creative that it was sad to finish them. The most essential prerogative is that you are free in your ideas and can organize not only a formal presentation, but a real show with "special effects" (especially it concerns marketing courses).

 

Taking into account types of courses there are 4 types of them:  strategic, marketing, finance and petroleum. During semester you must collect 30 credit points. Since every course weights 7.5, the minimum number of courses is 4 and the maximum is 5. Assembling the schedule it is crucially significant to pay attention to the dates of exam, as they can be organized close to each other.

The whole process of education is aimed on training of analytical skills, that's why during the exam you are never asked the definition of the term or some classification. Only thing that is tested is ability to think logically with expertise to apply the theory to the practical case.

 

Social life in Bergen is so bright and interesting that it is impossible to fall in love with the city and its culture. Firstly, it is important to mention that Bergen is cultural capital of Norway with great number of various museums and science centers, different restaurants and clubs, parks and concert hall, and many other wonderful places.

Bergen is the city which is based on the islands of the Norwegian Sea and surrounded by 7 mountains. If you rent a car you can organize a trip to the ocean (Atlantic Ocean), the way to which is pretty short.

 

Since Golf stream takes place in Bergen the weather is usually rainy, but sunny and warm days are not the exception especially in Summer, early Fall and late Spring. That is why the city is often called Sunny Bergen or Capital of Rain.

 

Great amount of parties, holidays and trips is organized for students at NHH. They are the following: parties of 80' and 90', Halloween, trips to other cities of Norway (Stavanger, Trompso, etc.), trip to Russia (through such countries as Sweden, Finland, Estonia / Latvia), and many other entertainment events.

 

Bergen is a city with exotic nature: lakes, mountains, fjords, sea and ocean. It is impossible not to love this magic place afterwards.

   
 

I.va.n R.ya.bin.kin

E-mail: prometey@pisem.net

1. Welcome

1.1. Introduction week:
(Orientation / information session /welcome event)
The introduction week was all-week long and really well organized. There were a number of activities every day till late night or early morning. We had no lectures first week, so there was plenty of time to socialize, attend information sessions, sleep after the parties, and get to know places around. The information was provided in very detailed and structured way with many handouts how to use electronic learning system “It’s learning”, schools password system, how to deal with dormitory’s administration when paying rents, etc. Overall, we were provided with more information that we could think of asking at that time.
1.2. Buddy system
Already on the first day of the introductory week we were divided into groups of 12 -15 persons and assigned to 2-3 mentors per group, who were our first contact for any question 24/7 during the first week. Typically mentors were 3rd year students at NHH, so they knew all we could ask about.
The cultural activities, like pre-parties and picnics were also organized by mentors. Overall, introductory week is condensed with memories: barbecue and schools orchestra concert, Norwegian dinner at historical museum, Baptizing party, and many “no-name” nights.

2. Bureaucratic issues

There was a small application form to fill and send to NHH (Norges Handels Hoyskole – name of the school in Norwegian). However, there is a more complicated procedure one has to go through in order to obtain a residence permit in Norway.
There are some residence documents to fill and sign at the police department.
Also you will be required to take a tuberculosis test here.
One more document to sign is the lease agreement with dormitories. At the time of signing you will have to pay collateral of 2500NOK. So have it in cash or on credit card. Agreement has to be terminated 2 months before leaving.

3. Studies

3.1. Courses 
Exchange students at NHH have to take courses from Master Program of International
Business because these are the only courses offered in English. However, no courses are obligatory. Actually students are absolutely free to choose from about 20 courses, as long as it complies with their home school’s requirements. The menu is really wide and appealing; still majority of the courses have a relation to international business, as this is the direction of the master program. Many exchange students in the beginning registered to 8 courses or so because it was so hard to choose: all the lecturers seemed good and agenda very interesting. However, there are quite extensive demands placed in order to get a course approval, i.e. to get a possibility to take the exam. Thus sooner or later one has to drop some courses to manage with what is left. All the courses at master level are conducted in English. There are quite many non-Norwegian students in the master program, which makes it even more interesting to study international business. All the courses have a weight of 7.5 ECTS.
There were both economics and managerial courses. So everyone could choose according to their preferences.
You can find explicit course descriptions in English at schools website.
Regarding language courses, everybody who wanted could have Norwegian language course for beginners: 2 hours per week. The lecturer is really fun.
3.2. Methodology of studies
Master studies are more about reading and studying on your own. However, the style of lecture is very much dependant on number of participants and how many of them are exchange students. To get the course approval, necessary for the exam, usually one has to submit at least one written assignment. If it is not a term paper, then there are usually 2 smaller assignments scheduled. It can also be some case presentation as homework. All the requirements are made clear at the course description or during the introductory lecture. Typically, midsemester assignments have only a passing grade, while term papers account for 30-40% of the grade. For grading A – E system is used.
Exam session starts in the middle of November and continues until Christmas; thus it is possible to have early, short and intensive exam session as well as a long one. All depends on the courses chosen. However, I would encourage considering deadlines for term papers seriously together with exam dates, as well as thesis deadlines. All the dates for exams are known when choosing courses in the beginning of semester, so it is up to the student to balance the workload during the session.
3.3. Level of education
My impression of the studies is very good. If you want to learn something more, you should definitely come here. There are courses not offered at SOM, and almost most of them are specialized and deeper than just an introduction to basic theories. I have learned a lot. However, it is a bit different from the “holiday stories” that other students bring from their exchange studies. When exam session comes, one has spent some time on it. But is also depends on the courses you choose, and how you balance it over semester.
3.4. University
University appliances are modern. Student ID card is connected with security system, and one needs to use it to enter a classroom and the buildings. However, 24/7 access to the school’s facilities is provided. Library has access to almost all academic journals, and it is really convenient search system useful for thesis writing in particular. Furthermore, there are more than enough computers at school, and of good quality. Internet connection is good and wireless. There is also a cafeteria and a text book store inside the school. Finally, Norwegian students are used to stay at school after classes for studying, so there many study rooms and similar facilities.

4. Free time

4.1. Extracurricular activities 
You can do many things here in Bergen. Firstly, there is a sports centre. Many students go there, as it is just so conveniently nearby and not very expensive (600NOK for semester). Many exchange students got engaged in playing football in the stadium or gym weekly, but for that you need to have student member card. Also there is a standard and Latin dance club offering a wide assortment on weekly dance courses in different levels (350NOK per semester). Mountain hiking is always a way to spend free time. There is also a movie shown every week in the dorms reception. Exchange students often play pool at the reception for free. In addition there are dancing troupe, drama club, and various kinds of musician groups, AIESEC, some groups like peak time or so. Typically they are Norwegians-oriented; however, active students are welcome to join.
4.2. Parties
There is a place called Klubben in the school’s building. Bar is open every night and beer is the cheapest you can get outdoors – 20NOK. Quite frequently there is a party at school organized, on average it could be every third Friday or so. But there are much more parties in the dormitory kitchens where exchange students party on their own.
On Thursdays there is free entrance in some clubs, so it is a students’ night. However, downtown prices have discouraged to party there habitually.
4.3. Sightseeing 
It’s beautiful here. Even when raining. Yes it is raining quite a lot. November 2005 happened to be the rainiest month since 1899. But it is not that bad as it might sound. Typically rain is mild, just wet and cloudy. But Bergen is a beautiful city in between 7 mountains, views towards the fjord, with colorful wooden houses, “hilly” streets and so on. Cozy and tidy. There is summer residence of Norwegian king nearby and an old fortress as well. But what I found to be most impressive was that within 10 minutes walk you can find yourself surrounded by wild mountains, away from city noise. Half an hour walk and you can be on the peak of one of the mountains with spectacular view.
If considering further trips is good to have a car here because trains and ferries are quite expensive in Norway. 100 km away there is glacier, many impressive mountain parks around; the biggest fiord of Norway, Soigné fiord is about 300 km away. Scars of Stavanger are also worth seeing. Not to mention Oslo, and the old capital Trondheim.

5. Exchange students

A crowd of exchange students comprised more that a hundred of people representing almost all Europe and also Japan, China, Thailand, USA, Canada, New Zeeland. In addition there are international master students from South America and Africa. In total there were 130 students in fall 2005. That big crowd cannot stay all together but it is easy to find your kind of people among them.

6. Accommodation

There was no trouble finding accommodation as all the exchange students are offered to live at the dormitories nearby the school. Actually, this is the most economical and convenient place to live NHH student.
Typically, it is a single room with a personal shower and a toilet. The room is fully furnished or even too much: 1 bed, 2 tables, cupboard, shelves, etc. You can take a look here. There is access to Internet available for free. Also each room has a telephone which can receive external calls free of charge, and intratelephone is for free.
One corridor and a kitchen are shared by seven people. Usually, there are 2 refrigerators, a freezer, big cupboards, a microwave oven, a stove… More or less everything what is necessary. However, often there are no ‘public’ dishes.
Location is really convenient: 5 minutes to school on foot; sport center is 5 minutes away, stadium - 3 minutes, karate club – 2 minutes. There is a lot of nature nearby – mountain area is reachable in 10 min, relaxation area with panorama towards fiord – 3 min. Overall, surroundings are perfect for jogging. Two main grocery stores with acceptable prices are situated within 7 minutes. Lidl – cheap German retail store - is just over the mountain: one bus stop or 30 minutes walking. Downtown is possible to see from a kitchen window, and one can reach it in 10 minutes by bus or 45 minutes on foot downhill.

7. Prices

4.3RUR = 1NOK
There are many cheap things here, if all depends how much effort is put in search, comparing unit prices, looking for sales. Typically, different shops have different category of products cheaper. ‘First price’ brand is worth looking for.
7.1. Food 
Main prices: 1 liter of milk – 10NOK, one piece of white bread – 15NOK (but there are bunds for 1NOK in Rema1000 =)), 1 kg of apples  - 40NOK, 1kg of cheese – 80-100NOK, 1 liter of ice-cream 10-15NOK, 1kg of shrimps 40NOK (!), 1kg of real meat 100-150NOK, some kind of sausages can be bought for 60-80NOK, 1kg of chocolate – 100NOK, 1 liter of juice 10-30NOK, 1 bottle of beer (Tuborg cheapest) 11NOK (in a shop, until 6 pm),  0,5liter of vodka – 280-320NOK, a pack of cigarettes – 55NOK.
7.2. Accommodation
For rent I had to pay 2350NOK per month with additional charges for washing (12NOK per time or ask Russians how to wash for free ;). But if you take a double room, it would cost about 2000NOK and there is more space. Unfortunately, one has to pay for all August month in spite of the fact that studies start in the middle of August. Notably, prices for rooms differ depending on the building, thus negotiate for cheaper rooms before signing the lease at Fantoft. Administration is not that rigid as it seems initially. Don’t hesitate to report any troubles in your room. E.g. I had a leaking shower, so instead of fixing they just installed a new one, which is a very common approach there.
7.3. Studies 
The only thing you can get for free here is handouts. So typically a student has to buy a compendium for a course (about 200-300NOK depending on size), sometimes they mention some textbooks, but articles are typically more important. At least in the courses that I took, so we did not bother about the books too much.
I did not buy anything =) NHH library has an extensive list of databases available. Basically, it is possible to find any article if it was published in a journal. So I found many of the articles there. Also they have access to the Ebrary – electronic database of books, so you can look for your textbooks there. Some copies of textbooks are available to use at the library or to lend it out. So the faster you reserve a textbook in the library, the more chances are that you will get it before the exam. Some things you can just copy. Also exchange students started photographing the textbooks and sharing online. So there are always many options.
You have also to pay for copying and printing. 1NOK per copied sheet and 0.2NOK per page printed. When you will get you student ID card, there will be 50NOK on it for printing.
7.4. Parties 
Well, we did not party much down town. So from my little experience a glass of beer downtown costs up to 55NOK; vodka – 80-100NOK for a shot (bring your own and have a party at kitchen ;). Thursday is the students’ day, so many clubs are open for free. If not then price for entrance is about 80NOK.
At NHH there is a student bar called Klubben where people hang out every night. There beer is half cheaper.
7.5. Sight-seeing 
I have not tried much of museums here. During the first week of the school year Art museum was open for free. I liked it there, they have a large collection of Norwegian and world works (some originals of Picasso), and informative notes in English are available to take away. However, the museum is really big so you should devote more than one day. Also there is some kind of king’s fortress – museum.
But the main area of sight-seeing is mountains, of course. Bergen is considered to be a city among 7 mountains. There is a very nice 6 hour route to take from Floyen to Ulricken. Cable car costs 30-40NOK to get to the top before starting walking, but there are paths to climb on foot.
7.6. Public transportation 
The main transportation is bus. One-ride ticket costs 23NOK. Notably, it is valid for an hour in the same city zone as bought. Monthly ticket for a student in 2 zones costs 400NOK. Also one can buy a bus pass-card for 12 times in 2 zones which costs 230NOK, so about 19NOK per ride. In more than 2 people a taking a trip, you can buy a group ticket and then price is also 19NOK per trip.
Alternative means of transportation is taxi or on foot. A night ride from the centre to dormitories in a taxi amounts to 120NOK.
7.7. Mobile phone 
I have bought a prepaid card and used it mainly for writing messages, so it is possible to manage with some 400NOK for all semester. Well it depends how much one calls. 1 SMS costs 0,2-0,5NOK, 1 minute 3-5NOK depending on network. They say that Chess prepaid card has the lowest tariffs.
However, a convenient way to contact home is calling via Skipe or msn. One more option would be to talk via stationary connection in a dormitory room.

8. Local Culture

8.1. Cultural shock 
Culture shock in Norway is rather mild and strongly depends on the level of involvement with Norwegians. At NHH there are so many exchange students that you may not deal too much with locals. It is not hard to adapt here as environment is very tolerant and conflict avoiding. Anyway, I put forward several notes for an intrigue:
  • People say “hello”  to each other in mountains, but neighbours may come and go silent in the kitchen;
  • You will (almost) never notice strangers being mad at you;
  • Drunk Norwegians. You should not expect a congruent personality here. They stop when they fall and get to sleep;
  • Many people jog, or take a walk disregarding the weather. Small children are running steep mountain paths on themselves with no worries bothering their parents…
  • When people don’t have to worry about their basic needs, much bigger worries might come: Norwegian individualism and depression
  • Norwegians don’t trust foreign products and hate Lidl
  • They are kind of proud of their prices and believe that its due to quality, i.e. vodka for 30NOK must be poisonous.
  • British culture is thriving here. And they speak English very well. Also they use English phrases or sentences in between Norwegian, thus don’t be surprised that when you ask something in English you get Norwegian reply. Nothing personal.
  • There is much less care after girls when in comes to physical tasks, e.g. in hiking
8.2. Language
Almost everybody speaks English. I don’t remember any person who was not able (only old ladies at exams). Thus, there is no need to learn Norwegian. However, many Norwegians feel uncomfortable about their English (absolutely irrational) and thus might be unwilling to interact more than necessary. Moreover, Norwegians truly sympathize for people trying to learn their language.  
8.3. Attitude to foreigners 
It depends a lot on personality. I got an impression that Norwegians are eager to get know new things, and they want to communicate and have fun. However they are a bit reluctant to show interest first, so you should initiate. Overall, these people are very helpful when they understand how they could be of help. However, having grown up in conditions where everybody has more or less what one needs or wants they might be not always able to imagine what others could need or just unused to think of a question alike. So don’t take it personally.
Another issue, discussed publicly, concerns flows of immigrants reaching for Norway to work and enjoy (or exploit) the present social system. An increasing number of Norwegians has somewhat negative attitude to foreigners coming to live on their welfare. Isolationism ideas are alive, esp. among older people. Therefore, do not forget to mention that you came there to study and for a short while. 

9. Traveling

9.1. Inside the country 
There are many things to see, however traveling in Norway is costly. A weekend trip to go somewhere 200-300km around may costs about 1000NOK per person if going by car, and sleeping in cabins. A big part of expenses is for ferries and tunnels. Trains are even more costly. Best is to buy mini-price tickets in advance (200NOK wherever to go). It is beautiful in Bergen area, however one should get around a bit.
It is definitely worth to pay a proper visit to Oslo, especially as it is feasible to manage with 100NOK for transport (see part 9.2). Norwegians advise to visit Trondheim and Lillehammer. In addition it is worth taking a look at some glaciers - impressive. One really big is 200km North East from Bergen. Many people travel to the area of Stavanger – south. Overall, nature is very beautiful here and any trip to real mountains is rewarding with memories. The more North to go, the sharper mountains become.
9.2. Round-trip travel 
For buying cheap plane tickets use: http://www.norwegian.no/
For buying cheap bus tickets use: http://lavprisekspressen.no/
For buying cheap train tickets use: http://www.nsb.no/internet/en/index.jhtml

10. Climate

It is even warmer here, mostly because it is often cloudy. Moisture is higher. I would say until November we used to have >+10C. In December it is fluctuating around zero but is very dependant on the sky cloud-cover.
Notably, it is often rainy and windy. I would recommend buying a nice raincoat or a coat/jacket with a cape before coming here. A good raincoat in Norway costs about 600-1000NOK. There are many umbrellas laying the streets because they often are broken by the wind. However, one strong umbrella could be of use. Hiking shoes are very useful around, esp. waterproof.

11. Aknowlegdements

I have no regrets coming here. It is really beautiful. I have gained a rich intuitive understanding of Norwegian culture. The school is really good and international, which is a rewarding possibility to experience cultural mismatches in teamwork.
I would like to express my gratitude for the great help to International Offices of both universities – SPbSU-SOM, and NHH. Most importantly, I would like to thank Norwegian Government which provided various kinds of financial support for me during my exchange period. I also extend my appreciation to Gintare Jonusauskaite, a nice person who made life easier.
 


Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration

 

 

Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration

 

Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration

 

Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration

 

Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration