My First Few Weeks in Bergen

Wow! It is crazy to think that I left for this amazing adventure almost a month ago! Already, I have fallen in love with this town, and made some unforgettable memories. I will divide this post into three different sections; my adventures in Bergen, my time at University, and my first impressions of Norwegian culture.

 

Beautiful Bergen

When I first arrived in Bergen, the weather was so rainy that it was impossible to see the ground during my flight’s descent. However, even the rain didn’t stop me from falling in love with the mountains and the town.

From the several side streets lined with colourful boutiques and cute cafes, to the towering surrounding mountains, Bergen captured my heart (and my money-the cost of living is slightly more expensive than Canada). I would describe Bergen as a place including everything a big city has to offer, along with small town charm. There is amazing culture, food…and lots of cruise ship tourists. Nonetheless, Bergen is an extremely safe city to live in with lots of offerings for students. Everything in the city center is within walking distance, and there are several small nooks and crannies to explore.

Some of my favourite places here so far include:

Bryggen

This is Bergen’s most notable street. It is lined with small, colourful wooden houses by the harbour. There are several cafes and restaurants, shops, and museums. When it is sunny, several of the cafes open huge patios where it is nice to have a coffee.

IMG_0293.JPG

Stoltzen and Floyen

These are a couple of Bergen’s surrounding seven mountains. They are fairly easy hikes to do, with breathtaking views from the top overlooking Bergen. There is also a tram called Fløibanen which goes to the top of the mount Floyen. Taking this up the mountain was a very cool experience and a faster way to get to the top. Hopefully before I leave, I will be able to hike the remaining mountains surrounding Bergen.

IMG_0357.jpg

BKB

This is one of my favourite coffee shops which I have been to so far. They have amazing coffee, pastries, and sandwiches, in a lovely cozy environment. Speaking of which, a great shock to me coming here is how expensive it is to buy a coffee at a café (approximately 45NOK for a cappuccino).

IMG_0432

White Water Rafting in Voss

This was an unforgettable experience. It was my first time white water rafting, and was so much fun! The water was freezing, and I got pummelled in the face with water every two seconds, but it was a thrilling activity and the views were absolutely breathtaking! Along with this, it was pretty cool to be rafting in the home of Voss water.

16-08-17-stranda-pm-01.jpg

Fjord Cruise to Monstraumen

Cruising the fjords is a must do experience when in Norway. Monstraumen is a small fjord near Bergen. During the cruise, we were completely surrounded not only by the mountains, but cascading waterfalls and green valleys dotted with quaint houses. The views were absolutely surreal, and this got me very excited about living in the middle of it all for the next few months.

IMG_0226.JPG

The Bergen Ølfestival and Matfestival

This was a three-day event featuring food and drinks of several local craft breweries, restaurants, and food producers. Everything each booth offered was delicious and fresh. Some of my favourite foods which I sampled included the locally made cheeses, pastries, and pancakes.

KODE

This is the art gallery consisting of four different buildings. Some notable artists whose works are featured include Edvard Munch and even Queen Sonja of Norway. Norwegian art has a very unique style, and a lot of the artists’ work focuses on everyday life.

 

NHH

Now, more about my school experience. First of all, NHH offered a welcome week for exchange students, which was a great way to meet lots of new people and get to know the ins and outs of both the school and the city. They organized several helpful information sessions, along with lots of fun group activities. After the welcome week finished, we went straight into classes. I am taking four courses here; Maritime history and Economics, Trading and Market Microstructure, Research for Brand Decisions, and Norwegian Language for Beginners. It is interesting to learn all of these subjects from perspectives different from those of professors from North America. For example, since shipping and resources is a main driver for the Norwegian economy, it is very useful to learn Maritime Economics from a Norwegian perspective. I am also enjoying learning how to speak Norwegian! It is very different from languages which I have studied before (French and Spanish), but I think I will get the hang of it eventually. Overall, my courses are very interesting and I am learning a lot of new things.

 

Norwegian Culture and My First Impressions

Overall, I would say Norwegian culture is pretty similar to Canadian culture, but there are also several societal values which differ from Canada. First of all, it was a bit of an adjustment getting used to the European lifestyle. In Canada, we are so used to the whole “bigger is better” concept, that places such as smaller sized grocery stores which lacked brand variety which I was used to was a bit of a shock. On top of this prices for consumer goods in Norway are very high. Eating out or grabbing a coffee at a local cafe is also decently expensive. This has been a slight challenge to get used to, but has also been beneficial in showing me that items which I may have found “necessary to have” before are not actually “necessary”. With this being said, so far the biggest thing which I have learned here is to be grateful for what you have around you. Whether that be nature, the people surrounding you, or just life itself, and you should always make time for what you love. When it is sunny in Norway, everyone will drop what they are doing to spend time outdoors and fully appreciate it. Sometimes I find that when I get too caught up in or stressed about something, it is easy to forget to stop, and take a minute to appreciate your surroundings. Along with this, working with and meeting people from around the world and learning courses from a different perspective has taught me to be open minded, and to remember to think of situations from someone else’s perspective.

 

Overall, my past few weeks here have been amazing. I have made some incredible friends and memories. The next few weeks for me will be even more busy and exciting, and I am excited to share with you all about my next adventures!

IMG_0207.JPG

 

4 thoughts on “My First Few Weeks in Bergen

  1. Elena says:

    What an interesting and beautiful few weeks you have had. This is an amazing experience for you. Your photographs are fantastic as well. Thanks for sharing! Lots of love 😍😘

    Like

  2. Nani & Papa says:

    What an amazing time you are having Olivia with so much more to come .Your Blog is very well written and we love hearing all about all the adventures. Pictures are awesome too. We are so excited for you ..lots & lots of love ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s