God dag to all who are reading this! I am writing this blog, partly to record my own experiences so I can look back on them, and partly to help anyone else who is thinking about going on an exchange. I hope that you find it interesting, entertaining, and above all, useful. If you have any questions whatsoever, whether large or small, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will try my best to help you, or point you in the right direction. My name is Amie, and I am an undergraduate Linguistics student going on an erasmus exchange for the whole academic year 2011/2012 to the University of Tromsø, Norway. ‘Where is Tromsø?’ I hear you ask. Well, it is right at the top of Norway, approximately 300 km into the Arctic circle, in a part of the world where there is no sun in December and no darkness in June, and where the average temperature is a smidge colder than here.
I am really excited about going – only a month and a half left to go! – and I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity. As well as looking forward to going, I am a little nervous because I know it’ll be really different, but this difference is something I want to experience. I think that I will definitely get a culture shock. I also think that the first week will be the hardest week to get through when I am there, where I will be wondering what stupid thought ever possessed me to move over a thousand miles from home to a country that is more expensive than I want to imagine and speaks another language. Once I am past this, I think the fact that I am somewhere where life does follow a different path is going to be one of the best things I have ever done. I relish the thought of learning another language and experiencing life without sunlight for a month or so. When will I ever get the chance to do it again?
I also hope to do things I might otherwise not get the chance to do, like kayak around the island, climb the surrounding mountains, and ski to uni. Of course, I can’t forget the main reason I am going, which is to study linguistics somewhere else. I want to see how their teaching style compares to Edinburgh’s, and learn about some new linguistic theories which the Centre for Theoretical Linguistics in Tromsø is doing research in, from the people who are researching it. I think it is important for people to broaden their horizons and make the most of opportunities like this. Going to Tromsø is going to help me academically and make me appreciate cultures in the wider world.
So, if I had to give any advice before I go to anyone who is thinking about an exchange, I would say ‘do it!’ It’ll probably be one of the best things that you ever do- at least, I’m hoping mine will be and I’ll be sure to let you know at the end of the exchange!