Marzia Ballardin – Oslo

My name is Marzia and I am officially an unusual case. I am an Italian student studying in Edinburgh and although I have been living in Scotland for four years now, I sometimes still feel like an international student at my own university. So, being an Erasmus student here in Norway is really like being twice a legal alien! So here is an original perspective from a galaxy far far away…

I actually arrived in Norway in June to attend the University of Oslo International Summer School,  so I have already spent to months here. First of all, I need to say that if you have the chance to be at the Summer School, you should take it. Without any doubts it was one of the best experiences of my entire life! I became a much more confident speaker of Norwegian and I could practise my basic Russian as well. I learnt how to greet friends in Czech (they say ‘Ahoj’, like pirates!) and that in Bulgaria you nod to say no and you shake your head to say yes. I also made friends from all over the world and this makes me want to travel everywhere!  We had so much fun, until the last day, when we all ended up crying non-stop as everybody was leaving to go back home.

It was very sad as I knew I had to stay for five more months and even now I think the Erasmus semester will probably not live up to the Summer School experience. This is mainly for two reasons: I spoke much more Norwegian then than I do now and the atmosphere at Blindern dormitory was a lot more colourful than at Sogn student village. However, I hope I will be proven wrong and I also want to say that I am enjoying my Erasmus semester very much in any case. I am just not sure that I can convey what the Summer School means for the people who attend it. You will have to try it to understand the feeling!

It was a very positive thing that I was in Oslo before the semester started as I could more or less choose my room, especially since many people who arrived later were left with unfurnished rooms or in some kind of temporary accommodation. I am very satisfied with my flat and I have to say I am very lucky. I share with three native Norwegians that, although they are very shy and reserved, are quietly revealing themselves to be very nice people.
If I have to find a highlight for the month of August, I think it must be the football game, Norway vs. Scotland, with the Vikings crushing the Caledonians 4-0. I could not choose between the two teams, so I painted my face with the two flags, much to the delight of my friends, who thought I was completely ridiculous!
To summarise, the first few weeks were full of activities and it was nice to meet more new friends – it was a little less fun to remember all their names or faces –  , but I am sure this will improve. More news to come as the courses start soon…

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