tirsdag 22. april 2014

Norwegian Potpourri

Well, I was that for this post that I was going to have beautiful pictures of my camping trip, however the weather here was less than favorable so we had to postpone our trip.  So once again I figured that I would talk about more smaller things that would not merit their own posts themselves.

The Imperial measurement system
One of the many questions that I have been asked in my time here is how I even manage using the imperial system of measurement as an Engineer.  This ranks up there with "Isn't there a lot of Norwegians in Minnesota?"  I find it rather funny, because it always comes up when we are talking about drinks and I say something is in ounces, and whomever I am talking to just looks at me confused.  I then have to give a crash course in how we use the system, and the arbitrary means in which things are measured.  Being an engineer I much prefer the metric system to the imperial system as it is far less arbitrary when converting between the sizes of something.  Yet despite my years of experience with it, I am still baffled when it comes to cooking.  I have found it rather hard to make food that my parents have sent from home when the instructions say to add 3 cups of water, and all my measuring tools are in deciliters.  While the unit conversion app on my phone has become my best friend, it is still rather hard to measure out 8.357 deciliters accurately.  I still have about six cups of soup sitting in my fridge from that mistake.

International meals
One of the fun things about studying abroad, is not only experiencing the culture of the country you are in, but also that of the other students who are studying abroad as well.  I have only met about 3 other students from the US here, one being from Florida, and the other two being from the University of Minnesota.(.6 seconds has become a swear word between us after the UND-Gopher game)  What suprised me the most was how many exchange students here are from Eastern Europe.  One of my good friends and neighbors is from Lithuania, and another friend is from the Czech Republic.  There are also several others studying here who are from South Korea.  While UND has a very large population of Exchange students, most of the ones I have met have either been from China or Norway.  With such are diverse group of friends, I have been able to sample several different dishes from Norway and beyond.  It is always a good time, sampling different foods, as well as learning more about different countries.

Living and Transit
There are several student villages spread out across the South East of Trondheim, the two that most international students are recommended to live in are Steinen and Moholt.  Each one has its pros and cons.  Moholt is by far the more popular option, as it is closest to campus and has more events going on.  However because of these events, it can be quite noisy in some rooms as the events usually take place in the basements of the apartments.  Steinen is much quieter, and has two different areas for students to stay in, the apartment block, or the student houses.  I chose to live in the house, as it has a bit more space in the rooms and is much quieter than Moholt.  However the one drawback to Steinen is it is farthest from campus.  However this not as much of a drawback due to the wonderful bus system that Trondheim has.  When I first got here I was hesitant to use the buses, as it cost 50 kroner, about $8.50, for each time you use the bus.  However you can purchase a T-kort which you add money to at a discounted price.  I received a crash course on the transit system within my first week here, I had taken the bus to Ikea in order to purchase sheets and a pillow for my bed, and unfamiliar with the stops I ended up taking the bus to the end of the line, Which was about 5 miles outside of town.  Not having my T-kort at the time I had used the last of the money I had on me to purchase my fare, leaving me stranded outside of town with no money and no way of getting more, as there was not an ATM near the bus stop.  Luckily it was warm out, and I got a nice little hike through the outskirts of town until I found a shopping center with an ATM and was lucky enough to catch the last bus into town.  I was much more attentive after that, as much fun as being lost in Trondheim after dark is.

What do I do now?
Probably the weirdest thing that about classes in Norway is that final exams do not take place until the last week of may, yet classes are over the first week of April.  When I first noticed this I didn't know what to think, being so used to having classes up until the final, I didn't know what to do with all the free time.  However I can see how it is welcome seeing as the finals here are usually worth all of the grade you will receive for the class.  Another major difference as there are no tests or quizzes in the class that contribute towards your final grade.  I will have to wait until after I take my exams before I can make a decision as to which system I prefer.

Now that things are starting to warm up here, I am hoping to try and make some hiking trips into the hills around town, as well as venture out of the Trondheim area.  I was invited on a car trip the first week of may to the Lofoten area which I am looking forward to as I have spent all of my time here in Trondheim.

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