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Journals from Telemark University College, Norway

2009-09-20 New Places, New People

I have now been in Norway for about a month and feel quite settled in. Classes have started and are in full swing and fall is approaching us. My classes are very interesting and teaching me a lot about the Norwegian culture and their love for nature. That is one of the first things I have learned about Norwegians: they love to be active and they love nature. We even have two classes, Telemark I and The Individual, Environment, and Society, where we learn about Norwegians' relationship to the outdoor life. We have gone on several hikes to Gygrestolen (The Trolls Chair) and Lifjell. Here was discussed how Norwegians are very proud of their fairy tales and how they differ from other cultures. The trolls are a big part of Norwegian history, and it was very interesting to learn how certain rocks were placed on earth from angry trolls. I have also started my Norwegian language class, which is very interesting. And for future reference to those wanting to come and study Norwegian, our professor has warned us that Norwegian is actually one of the hardest languages to learn because of all the dialects. But I always like a challenge, and it will very useful to learn as much as possible while traveling in the country. Meeting and getting to know Norwegians has been a challenge. I knew coming to Norway that Norwegians were very quiet, and kept to themselves. As soon as I arrived I instantly realized how American I look and if I was going to make friends that I knew I was going to have to take the initiative. But once you make the first move, Norwegians are so nice and welcoming and make you feel right at home. While being abroad I have also met so many people from all over this world, which has been a very exciting experience. All international students are going through the same things and you can easily relate and connect with one another. I encourage you to get to know others because it has opened so many doors for me. I have met many girls from Spain and have been invited to stay with them for one of our breaks. Speaking of breaks, we have a fall break coming up and all of us are busy booking flights. I am traveling to Ireland, Scotland, and Germany. It is very easy and cheap to fly in Europe and I am taking all the advantages I can. And at Telemark University College they really encourage their international students to travel as much as possible and are very helpful. We have many breaks that allow us to have time to make these arrangements and I am very excited to see more of the world! Janys Olsen

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