Fatma Iskandar from the Class of 2010 shares her experiences at the summer graduate programme in Norway.
During my first semester at NUS, I was planning to go for an exchange programme. However, I wasn’t too keen on a semester long exchange. It was then that I saw Zahira’s email informing us of the summer exchange programme to Norway. A 2 week summer program was just what I was looking for. And so without further delay, I grabbed this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and applied for the programme. The partner school (NHH) was located in Bergen, the second biggest city in Norway after Oslo, with a population of 250,000.
The entire registration process was quite a cake-walk with both NUS and the partner school staff being very helpful. Visa and housing also got arranged quite smoothly. I was all set to go for the 2 weeks of school. My journey commenced from ChangiAirport on the midnight of 19th June and the trip to Norway from Singapore took 18 hours with a short transit in Amsterdam. I received a very warm welcome from the faculty and staff the moment I arrived in Bergen.
The programme was distributed across several modules taught by different professors & industry professionals. One of the Professors, an actual Nobel Prize Winner of 2004, was awe-inspiring to say the least. And sitting in his class, even for a single lecture was an experience in itself. It was interesting to learn how the fishery system works in Norway, things like emission trading and even the economic model of oil and gas. Norway has abundant natural resources, with hydropower, oil, gas, and fish and maritime as its major industries. Another interesting factor was the fact that classroom teaching was complemented with company visits to the biggest Oil & Hydropower Companies in Norway.
My classroom was a complete melting pot of cultures with only two Norwegian students in class. With nearly all of us from diverse educational backgrounds, countries and even culinary skills, staying in one hostel was an enriching networking experience. Just to give you a flavour, I was taught by an Italian friend how to make “proper” pasta with Italian taste, while I taught her that Indonesian people like sweet and spicy pasta!
Besides the full day programme during the 2 weeks, I also had a opportunity to explore the city and its surrounding areas. The best part….the days were 21 hours long! And so we would only see the moon from midnight till 3am every day. I can only imagine how tough it must be to go through winters in that region.
Usually after classes ended at 5 pm, we would take 10 minutes by bus to reach town. A bunch of 40-odd students, all super friendly and adventurous! With them I was able to explore a lot of new things. One day we went to the fish market to taste free whale meat and salmon fish. Another day we went to watch an outdoor Russian opera. On the weekend, we went for a mountain walk- the fresh air and the amazing view from the top of the FloyenMountain totally made it worth the tiresome walk! Another favourite with tourists was the Fjord tour in Bergen. Bergen is full of historical places, scenic hills and breathtaking Fjord with its lake and mountain.
And suddenly, it was time to go back. 8th July I had to leave beautiful Bergen for another 18 hour journey back to Singapore. Indeed those were some of the best moments in my life.
Class of 2011