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Journals from Telemark University, Bø, Norway

2013-07-08 Final Experiences and Reflections

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Me and my close group of friends at a wine night in May

Hei Hei,

My last few days in Bø were extremely bittersweet. I tried to spend every moment I could with my friends while also packing and cleaning up my room. I spent a lot of time playing games with Zalika and Robin and making meals together. We also went out to the river again to enjoy the sunshine. My last night in Bø was a Monday, so we went out to wine night at Naboen and had a great time. It was a challenge to wake up the next morning to catch my 8am train to Oslo, but luckily my friend Richelle is amazing and helped me get down the hill with all my stuff. Got to Oslo S and then to the airport just fine. Traveling back home was a piece of cake compared to the other traveling mishaps I encountered. The only issue I had was that my debit card was declined because I literally was out of funds. However, it was all right, my family took care of me when I got home (expect to be broke coming home).

Now that I am back, it is still hard to think that I was still in Norway a month ago. It almost seems like a dream. It didn’t really hit me that I wasn’t going to go back anytime soon as I had done so much traveling back and forth that when I left I felt like I would be going back in a few days again. Alas, that is not the case. It is only just now hitting me that it’s over, which is hard to accept. Though I think, I am at peace with leaving as hard as it was. I had a wonderful five months in Norway. I made so many friends from all over the world and I went outside of my comfort zone to make new experiences and adventures. As the saying goes, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

In reflecting on my journey, I see a bit of symbolism. When I first arrived in Norway, the sun rose around 10am and set around 3:30pm. Throughout the semester that gradually shifted so that when I left. It was only dark between midnight and about 3am. That is quite a dramatic shift to look back on, as is the change in scenery. It went from a winter wonderland for three months, to a month of rainy transitions, to a beautiful, luscious, green oasis. I think when I arrived in Norway I had a lot of fear of the unknown and was tempted to stay inside my shell and comfort zone. But as the snow melted and winter turned to spring, I grew and blossomed. I have so much more confidence now at the end of my journey than I did at the beginning. I believe in my abilities and myself more strongly. I find I am more social and enjoy being so when I used to be more of a wallflower (though those tendencies are still there). I am a much happier person overall. Norway was amazing. Though the country was beautiful and the surroundings peaceful, it really was the people and the experiences that made the difference. I am so happy that I found a group of friends that I hope to be friends with indefinitely. I tried new things like going out to a bar and dancing or going out to swim in a river with friends. I’ve gained new skills like navigating foreign places and learning how to communicate with others from different cultures and backgrounds.

The five months I spent in Norway were the happiest of my life. I endeavor to try to hold on to that same mindset as I readjust to my life at home. I continue to utilize my new skills and am happy to share my experience with anyone and everyone. I look forward to helping the students going to Norway in the future because I hope they will have an equally amazing time. I am so grateful that I decided to come to Norway this spring and I am so grateful that Linfield facilitated this opportunity for me and that I was able to make the most of it. Though it was expensive, I don’t regret going for a single moment. Every expense was worth it for all the good that came of it.

I leave you with this bit of advice. Go and make your dreams a reality. I planned to come to Norway for two years before I actually left and I spent a large amount of time saving as much as I possibly could to prepare. I made it a goal to go, and I followed through. Dreams can come true with enough effort and persistence. Whatever your dreams are, I do hope you travel someday. It is an eye opening experience that will change you forever. I hope that whoever you are, you’ve enjoyed reading about my adventures and will go on to experience and make the most of your own.

Live. Love. Learn. Life is a beautiful thing.

Thank you all for reading.

Amber Hay

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