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28. February 2018 Jan Krajník

Conquering the North Pole

In this moment I am sitting at an airport in the Norwegian city of Tromso, waiting for a return flight back to Oslo. Me and my homeland country is separated by a gap of 3000 kilometres and I can’t stop thinking about a Czech theatre play “Reaching the Northern pole”. Even though I have not reached it, it’s fine to say that I was closer than ever, because me and my group of friends travelled far beyond the polar circle. However, to clarify this situation I must first return to the start of this calendar year.

Usual readers of my blog surely know that I travelled to Norway because of the Erasmus student program. To be honest, I was initially very sceptical about the whole exchange. I signed up for the program with the hopes of not staying at University of Aberdeen for the whole duration of my studies (4 years), since the whole situation in Scotland was not going according to my expectations. However, the closer I was to packing and leaving, the more stressed I was. It was mainly because I was scared that I would face the same problems as I did during the first weeks of my university studies, when I had a hard time integrating within student society. Many of my classmates told me that these worries were baseless, that Erasmus is completely different, and that everything should be fine. I did not trust them and I’ve never been so wrong.

All the fears disappeared on the very first day of my arrival. By chance, I met a group of students, who are waiting with me at this moment for the returning flight back to Oslo. My classmates from Aberdeen were right, Erasmus really is something completely different. People here seem more active and they constantly plan what they are going to do in upcoming days. I think it’s mainly because they know that their stay in a foreign country is temporary and they want to make the most of it. It seems to me that there is always something to do, which might be even caused by the fact that Erasmus students are in a way separated from the rest.

Second factor that contributes to my positive experience is the city of Oslo. A lot of people kept asking me before my exchange why I haven’t chosen some warmer destination after the cold and sunless days in Aberdeen. I always responded that it somehow connects to my northern “Sudetenland” origins. At this moment I can say that my slight stubbornness has payed off. During the first month I stayed in Oslo, I could count more days when it snowed than not. Due to this, you might witness many interesting and bizarre occasions.  I think that Oslo is the only city where you can’t fit into a metro car because there are way too many people carrying their cross-country skiing equipment and sleds. It seems to me that Norwegian people use these in the same way people use bikes in other major cities. Additionally, I think there is no other capital city in the world where you can travel to the last stop of metro just to borrow a sled, which you can ride down on a 2-km track, just so the metro can take you up to the last stop again. This love for winter activities might be the reason why Norwegians won the most medals in the Winter Olympic games this year.

“Winter fun” does not end here though. People who are more into winter and have a sense of planning can decided to go on an expedition to see the northern lights. This expedition is the main reason why am I writing this blog post somewhere beyond the northern circle. Our little group decided to go on such a trip even though there was the possibility of not seeing anything at all. Fortunately, the radiation from sun had reached the Earth’s magnetic field and produced something which I most likely will never see again. Even though Aurora Borealis looks better on photos, I still consider it an unforgettable experience.

Yeah, it’s true, I simply enjoy living in Norway. In the next blog post I would like to focus more on the student life at “Universitet i Oslo” since it is special in its own way. For now, stay tuned and see you next time!

 

 

 

 

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