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Norway

Emily Quinn's Experience
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Name: Emily Quinn
Major: Psychology
Program: Bilateral Exchange
Traveled Abroad Before: No

Q: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your study abroad experience?

A: Unbelievable. I had an amazing time studying abroad. Between meeting other international students, sight-seeing and traveling, and living in a completely new setting, there was never a dull moment. I intended to only stay abroad for one semester but I was having so much fun and the time flew by so I decided to stay for a full year. I would love to go back to visit!

Q: Why did you choose this destination?

A: When researching Grand Valley's programs I knew that my mom and grandparents had traveled to Norway, and whenever they described their trip it sounded so wonderful. After looking on travel sites and looking up the classes offered at the University of Oslo, I knew it was the perfect place for me to study.

Q: What are some things that surprised you about the campus, the classes, the culture, customs or traditions?

A: One of the first things I was told at orientation was that Norwegians may seem rude and very quiet, but that they are actually just very shy and will appear rude as they are avoiding conversations and eye contact with strangers. However, we were urged to meet and get to know them and they are very nice and interesting people. The campus was amazing. Everyone was very helpful, both on campus and around the city. I was a bit intimidated by the language barrier, but the majority of Norwegians spoke English very well.

Q: What are some things you would like students to know about studying abroad in this destination or the program provider you studied with?

A: If you like the outdoors and city life, you will love Oslo...it is the best of both worlds. Oslo is the capital city and there is always so much life. Everything in the city is very accessible, being either a short walk or quick subway ride away. Taking the subway just ten minutes out of the city center, you can relax, walk, or run around a lake near the student housing. There are cafes all over the city and campus and people are always out and about, enjoying one others company around campus or taking in the scenery along the pier. In the winter, many of the locals enjoying skiing. Although there are only a few hours of light during the winter months, as long as you stay involved with friends and activities, you shouldn't have to worry about seasonal depression. Once summer comes around, you are then able to enjoy sunlight, with only a few hours of darkness.

Q: What advice would you offer?

A: I went abroad by myself, although my mom came with me the first week to help me get unpacked and to sight-see for herself. Regardless if you go abroad alone or with someone you know, I strongly recommend going to the orientations provided for international students. I met so many people at orientation, and even though I was nervous, so was everyone else. It broke the ice for many of us and it made me more comfortable meeting people on my own throughout my stay abroad. Also, throw away any stereotypes or thoughts you may have about people. Go completely open minded. It will make you less hesitant to approach people and you will be less restricted by thoughts that may or may not be true.

Q: What was your academic goal while studying abroad?

A: Going abroad, I still had an undecided major. However, I had signed up for a few psychology classes while abroad and it was those classes that actually led to me declaring a psychology major. One of the goals I had while studying abroad was to live a different way of life. I learned a great deal about myself, as well as what study strategies work and do not work for me. I also learned so much about the Norwegian way of life, learned some Norwegian, and was able to meet and learn so much about students from all over the world.