While building memories abroad there are certain snapshots I find so strangely perfect that in a familiar setting wouldn't evoke a second thought. Sitting on a rather dirty Oslo train station terminal bench surrounded by the chatter of foreign languages I had this moment of complete contentment. I had just crossed the entire Atlantic Ocean and left my country for the first time. Celebration came in the form of greasy pepperoni pizza bought in a pinch for time between finding all of my luggage and navigating to the flytog (fast train) to connect to the second train. It was the first thing I had eaten in many hours because I was far too nervous to have an appetite. Rain was falling outside the station on the other side of a floor to ceiling window, and in that moment it all became real.
It doesn't matter how prepared you think you are to travel abroad, at times you will feel utterly foolish, lost, and helpless. Fortunately, there will be plenty of hands held out to help you along the way. It can be as simple as the man at the train station who mentions if you pull your giant stacked suitcases behind you instead of trying to push them in front, life is a lot easier (I still don't know why I didn't think of that!).
My name is Nicole Kachel and for the next five months I will be studying Nordic Skiing and Outdoor Life at Telemark University in Bø, Norway. I am a second year pre-nursing student at Linfield College with a desire to diversify my understanding of other cultures. For me this trip is an opportunity to experience personal growth through new experiences. I will be eternally grateful to the effort of everyone who has supported me in making this semester abroad possible. From Michele and the International Programs Office Staff at Linfield, past Norway students, the Ford Family Foundation, and of course to my family and friends who I miss dearly already, your influences in my life are the reason I am here today.
Looking forward to making the most of my time here in Bø!