Learning in Norway: “Between the fjords, mountains and snow-covered forests, it is breathtaking”

Thomas, 20, is about to spend an extraordinary Christmas in Norway. The Ile-de-France student in his third year of bachelor’s degree in logistics will enjoy the sumptuous Scandinavian landscapes during his Erasmus+ exchange. A stay that he had been dreaming of for a long time and that has finally come true.

It is in Molde, in the middle of the fjords, the Norwegian Sea and the northern lights that Thomas has settled since this summer. As soon as the borders reopened last August, the student did not hesitate to jump on the plane. It must be said that after more than a year of the health crisis, the young graduate of a DUT in marketing techniques in Sceaux (IUT of the University of Paris-Saclay) had cravings elsewhere… or rather, cravings for freshness. ! Here he is in a country that, at the moment, never ceases to amaze you.

A one-year “break”

His adopted country, Thomas could talk about for hours. However, a year ago, nothing really intended this student to leave Île-de-France to fly 2,000 kilometers away. “Last year, we were presented with the DUETI (university diploma in international technological education). This diploma allows us to go abroad for one year in a partner country of the IUT through the Erasmus Program. I thought it could be a great opportunity”, says the young man.

Already conquered by Iceland, which he had the opportunity to visit, the student had only one wish: go to Norway to “find these landscapes [qu’il avait] adored”. “I had never gone abroad alone,” he says. A year seemed like a long time, and then finally I thought it would be good to take a break…” Your good level of English allows you to get your first choice. Starting in June, the young graduate prepares his trip in the uncertainty of the health crisis.

Thomas leaves to study for a year in Norway in the city of Molde. // © Photo provided by the witness

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Familiarize yourself with Scandinavian customs

In the end, everything goes as planned, if not better. No mandatory quarantine, Thomas takes advantage of his last weeks of vacation to go sightseeing, take superb walks and visit the town of Molde, in the middle of the Norwegian fjords. “At the beginning of the school year, all the Erasmus students got together for a week of integration, they were of many different nationalities. It was here that we were able to start meeting people”, explains Thomas. The association A university student also offers many activities such as skiing, bowling , sports… It allows you to integrate.” Because Norwegians remain true to their rather introverted character. “You just have to take the first step, go to them because then they’re really nice!”

And for dialogue, English remains the universal language in Norway. “Everyone speaks English very well“, the student who also follows all his courses in the language of Shakespeare is surprised. At the University of Molde, Thomas is preparing a bac+3 in logistics: “I don’t find big differences with the French system. We have openings for two-hour classes. What changes is that we finished earlier, around 2pm to 3pm. This allows you to have some time to do activities on the side.

Breathtaking landscapes are everyday life for Thomas.
Breathtaking landscapes are everyday life for Thomas. // © Photos provided by the witness

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A Christmas in the Nordic Mountains

Also, even if the epidemic has resumed for a few weeks in Norway and the health instructions are stricter, it will take longer to bring Thomas back to France. “Maybe we’ll be EAD at the beginning of the school year, but I’m used to it and later, I still prefer to stay here, it’s much better!” The young man also adapted very quickly to his new environment where the sea and mountains are kings.. “We have nature around… In the morning, I have the sea in front of me, it’s still nice! And then, these fjords between all these mountains and forests, it’s breathtaking! It’s never the same depending on the weather!”

Thomas is really under the spell. And that, whatever the weather. “Earlier this week it snowed. It was -10°, I felt -20°. Alright, that’s cool. But unlike France, when it snows here, life goes on, even when it drops 50 cm! If you’re well covered and there’s no wind, that’s fine.” The lack of light doesn’t seem to affect him either. Around 3pm, night falls, “a bit like France finally,” he says, laughing. or, on the other hand, it is rather this feeling of trust and security that reigns among Norwegians. “People don’t take their bikes on the street… We would never do that in France!”

For the Christmas holidays, Thomas plans to enjoy the country and Bergen, where he will spend a few days with other Erasmus students. “Here, Norwegians are very attached to Christmas, there are ornaments everywhere, garlands, lights, stars…” fir trees, snow and Norwegian mountains will not replace raclettes and other dishes based on very French cheese. “Let’s not lie to each other, the cheeses here don’t taste the same, it’s the food I’m going to miss at Christmas!”

Despite that small moment of nostalgia, Thomas wouldn’t trade countries for the world. “I like that nice side, it’s a very beautiful country, but you shouldn’t come here for sunbathing“, he exclaims. One thing is certain: between now and summer, the student still has time to watch the beautiful seasons go by under his window.

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