Facebook

Norwegians really really like Facebook. I’m personally the sort of person who uses Facebook to communicate with friends, read good articles, watch hilarious cat videos, and occasionally look up people that went to my high school. In other words, I tend to use it as a fun way to stay in touch with people and as a source of procrastination. I see email in a completely different light. It is a way for businesses bug me with promotions, a way for work related things to get done, a way for extracurricular things to get done, and a way for people bug me about things that require an in depth or thoughtful response.

Norwegians see Facebook and email slightly differently. Facebook is seen as THE way to get in touch with people. It’s not uncommon for a business to have a Facebook page instead of a website or for people to use a Facebook group to coordinate instead of say email or Google Groups. Since coming to Norway, the number of pages that I’m following and the number of Facebook groups that I’m apart of has exploded. In terms of Facebook groups alone, I’ve joined or been invited to:

  • The best Norwegian course!!
  • Moholt Student Village Activities
  • Nordlysvarsel for Trondheim (Northern Lights group)
  • Fulbrighters on Top of the World!
  • TEDxTrondheimStaff
  • TEDx Trondheim Community
  • Hyttevaktgruppa høst 14 | Studenterhytta (Information on the NTNU Student Cabin)
  • Students’ market Trondheim
  • NTNUI seiling
  • Sailing group autumn ’14

Yup, that’s a lot. Or at least I consider it a lot. Reminder: that doesn’t even include Facebook pages.

As for email, the only emails I’ve received in Norway have been from other teachers and from students; in short, only work related emails.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think that Facebook can be a great resource. I just like to keep my personal life and procrastination separate from my extracurricular activities and other miscellaneous things. I’d much rather have my inbox explode than get tons of notifications from Facebook (largely because I can leave something sitting in my inbox as a reminder whereas I’m more likely to see a notification and then promptly forget about it). The lazy part of me also acknowledges that it’s much harder to try and run a Norwegian Facebook page through Google Translate than it is to do that for an email or a website.

Something else that has surprised me about Facebook in Norway has been posts like the one below:

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Having been told time and time again to be careful with what is posted on Facebook, I find it hilarious to see such unapologetic posts in Norway. And yes, weed is illegal here.

In conclusion: having recently graduated from college, I was hoping to decrease my Facebook usage and instead have had Norway drag me back into it half heartedly kicking and screaming.

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Week 1

A lot has gone on in my first week and about half of it is related to filling in the appropriate paperwork. Since arriving on campus I have:

1. Gotten my student ID and semester card, both of which are needed to qualify as a student in the eyes of most Norwegian businesses
2. Gotten my new NTNU email address and thus access to NTNU internet
3. Registered for courses and exams
4. Gotten a somewhat functional SIM card
5. Gotten an unlimited 6 month bus card

Unfortunately here are the things I still need to do, all of which hinge on me getting my residence card:

1. Get said residence card by going to the police station on NTNU’s scheduled date
2. Notify the Tax Office of my move to Norway and get a tax card
3. Open a bank account so that I can get paid by the Fulbright Office
4. Register a change of address with the post office
5. Join the National Population Register

Thankfully my week has included a lot more than red tape since it was orientation week for international students. I didn’t get the chance to participate in all of the events, but I did take part in a group competition called 63 Degrees North. Most of it involved silly games such as a three legged race, relay race, and spelling Norwegian vowels using your body, but it also involved answering trivia questions on Norway. While I was able to answer some of the very basic questions I was blown away by how much knowledge some of my teammates had about Norway (knowing the exact date Norwegian women achieved suffrage was one of them). My other favorite activity was hiking along the fjord. Yes, this is the backdrop of my new home.

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Some other highlights include meeting new people! Not only am I starting to meet other students, but I also got to meet Nancy, the professor I work with at NTNU. It was great finally getting to put a face to a name and to talk about the courses that I’ll be helping her teach. As of right now, I’m only going to be helping her with classes in the fall (her spring classes tend to be in Norwegian) and we hope that I’ll get to help with a writing center in the spring. For now, the classes that I’m helping with are called Communication for Engineers and Academic Writing, and I’ll write a bit more about them once they actually start.

The other person that I got to meet this week was Alix, currently the only other Fulbrighter in Trondheim. Alix is here doing research at NTNU and it was great getting to meet her and explore the downtown area together. I think the highlight was showing her a stuffed bear that I managed to find in Sentrum.

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