First Week  

My first week in Oslo has been a whirlwind. I’ve been adjusting to life in the student village, orientation at the University of Oslo, and getting to know the city that I’ll be calling home for the next four months.  


I arrived at orientation filled with first-day nerves. I am studying in the Faculty of Humanities, so I went to an orientation session with around two hundred or so international students who were in the same faculty. We were all divided into “buddy groups” named after traditional Norwegian things. One group was named for the Northern Lights, another was for brown cheese. It was a mixed bag.  

I waited as they sorted us into groups, but the more groups that were called, the more nervous I became. Eventually, we got to the end of the list, and my name hadn’t been called to be in a group. This didn’t turn out to be an issue, and I was unceremoniously added into the “Russefeiring” group. For those who don’t know, Russefeiring, or Russ, is essentially the tradition of graduating Norwegian high schoolers. Apparently they hire buses and party for days on end. I was pretty happy with that assignment.  

The first day we were taken to a welcoming ceremony in the middle of the city. They marched all the students into the center of the square outside the Nationaltheatret metro, and welcomed us formally to the University.  

The next few days were all about meeting other students. Unfortunately, a lot of the events I tried to go to were held at bars and pubs with strict capacity limits, and so I didn’t get into them. On the flip side, there were a lot of students in the same boat, and we befriended each other outside.  

Student Life 

Getting adjusted to my new accommodations has been relatively smooth. It took me a while to work out how to find the laundries in the student village, and how to work the Norwegian washing machines, but I was on top of the world when I finally figured it out. Cooking for myself has been incredibly satisfying, especially because the price of a night out in Norway always needs to be considered. One particularly impressive feature of Norwegian supermarkets is that they have individually wrapped fillets of frozen salmon. Norwegians love their seafood, and so they’ve made it as plentiful and accessible as possible.  

One of the amazing things about living in student housing is meeting so many people from across the world. I now have a group of friends from Germany, England, France, Canada, America, Norway and Korea. We’re establishing a tradition of hosting dinners at one of our houses every week. This week it was German cuisine. We indulged in homemade schnitzel and the loving atmosphere that comes from a bunch of young adults throwing themselves together to experience new things.  

Earlier this week, I took a ferry ride on a whim – for free, thanks to Norway’s exceptional public transport system – and ended up on the island of Hovedøya. I found 12th century monastery ruins, a herd of sheep, a fox, and stunning views. It’s thankfully warm enough to continue exploring the city in jeans and a T-shirt, and I’m hoping to capitalize on that as much as possible before the temperatures start to drop. As someone who’s now used to the LA climate, it’s definitely going to be a learning experience.