By: Taigan Dance
My time abroad is already halfway over- the saying is true, time flies! Not long ago I would be walking the main drag, or be meeting some friends outside the central station near the Tiger Statue. I noticed how awestruck people were of the little things they discovered in my new home- they would snap ridiculous photos with the Tiger or jump off the steps outside the palace, going with the good-ol’ High School Musical pose- I would shake my head and think, “pff, tourists.” Looking back, I think it was about three weeks in when Oslo started to feel like home.
Since then, I have learned to love every corner of this city. Coming from a small town in Southern Ontario, I never had the chance to live the “city life” – so even commuting to school was new. Originally, I thought, “I will never be able to find my way around,” and “none of these street names will ever make sense.” But as time went on, I slowly learned the routes to school, reciting the Norwegian stop names back to myself in my head, and familiarized myself with the routes to the city center.
Beyond the transportation and feeling of belonging, I have also had the chance to join a few groups within the city. This has given me the opportunity to meet locals. Every two weeks a friend and I join a group of young Norwegians to hike the beautiful landscapes just minutes outside the city. It’s a new group every week, so we meet lots of new people and get to be outside for some fun! It was actually with this group that we learned an important Norwegian saying:
DET FINNES IKKE DÅRLIG VÆR, BARE DÅRLIGE KLÆR
It means, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes,” (it’s supposed to rhyme in Norwegian- and no, I have no idea how to pronounce it…)
Some of my favourite memories of my exchange so far, are exploring Oslo with friends, hiking with our group and snacking on Norwegian chocolate. I recently toured the Norwegian chocolate factory, Freia, with my school’s international student group. Our tour guide told us that the average Norwegian eats nearly 15lbs of chocolate a year, a lifestyle I have happily embraced. Did you know that Norway is fourth in the world for the most chocolate consumed per person (following Switzerland, Belgium, and England)?
I have mixed feelings about my final month in Norway, but I look forward to snapping a few more touristy photos with the palace, tiger and the colourful “Oslo” sign, before I leave my second home. I will return to Canada with a pair of very muddy hiking boots, a supply of Freia chocolate for family and friends and lots of photos!
Taigan Dance is a student in the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University. She studied abroad for a term at the BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo, Norway.