It’s been just over a month since I’ve been in Oslo! I’ve begun to settle into life here, and thinking about the progress I’ve made since I’ve gotten here is pretty exciting. Here are a few life updates from Norway:  

21st Birthday!

Yep, I turned twenty-one in a country where the drinking age is eighteen – and twenty, and sometimes older. Norway’s nightlife can be very confusing because age limits vary by bars – and sometimes by days. For example, many bars and pubs around the area have a twenty-three year age limit, but only on weekdays.  

 My Mom actually came out to Oslo to spend my birthday with me. We had an amazing day getting lunch in a beautiful part of town, and then we saw a soccer game. It was the Norway vs. The Netherlands Women’s World Cup Qualifier. Norway won 2-1, and it amazed me how many young girls were there, cheering on their soccer heroes. When I was their age I was dragged to soccer games, and spent the entire time playing Pokémon on my GameBoy 

That weekend, my friends surprised me with a homemade cake and a small celebration. I felt extremely loved, even though I was across the world from all of my friends and almost all of my family.  

Shopping and Food 

Living in an apartment means I cook all my own meals, and the steep prices of eating out in Norway means that I cook a lot. I’m very happy to be refining my skills for when I move into my Westwood apartment, but I do have to remember to plan ahead when it comes to shopping. Shops in Norway generally have limited hours on Saturday, and almost all of them are completely closed on Sundays. If there’s one thing I’ve come to respect about Norwegian culture, it’s that they take their free time very seriously. Weekends are for family and friends and being in nature (at least while the weather permits it).  

My friends and I meet every week for “family dinner,” where two or three people will cook for the rest of the group. We’ve been treated to authentic chicken schnitzel from our German friends, crepes from our French cohort, and, most recently, vegan chili. As someone who loves meat, I wasn’t particularly excited, but I was grudgingly impressed by how delicious it was. It’s my turn to cook next week, and my Californian cooking partner and I are going to attempt Norwegian meatballs, so we’ll see how that turns out.  


The school system in Norway is incredibly different from UCLA. I only have class on Mondays and Thursdays, and one of my classes only has contact hours every other week. There’s a lot less homework, and a lot more readings, and this is coming from an English major! The work here is definitely more student-driven, and so I’ve been using a lot of my free time to prepare for those classes. All of my grades are determined by one final exam, or final paper. I have to submit a pass/no pass qualification paper/project for all of them to be able to take the final exam. For some classes attendance is required, and for others it isn’t. This lack of structure and restriction can be a blessing and a curse. It gives me a lot more freedom, but it also forces me to motivate myself, as the workload and syllabus won’t do it for me. Luckily for me I’m enjoying my classes about Viking history and Norwegian literature and media, so the readings aren’t too arduous.  

It’s been a month of trying to settle into a culture that I’ve never been exposed to before. Some parts of it have been difficult. But what I’m learning is that everyone has a different experience moving to a new country. It may be difficult at first, but it’s important to remember that just being here is an achievement. I forget sometimes that I’m actually doing it! I’m actually out here, living my life in Norway! I have three months to go, and I’m determined not to waste a single day.