Tag Archives: Norway

Lenge siden sist!

It’s been a little while since I came back to Finland, but I still long to be back in Oslo. When I took the bus towards the airport at the end of summer 2016, I had absolutely no idea what kind of an adventure I would have in Norway.

World famous statues and views from Vigelandsparken in Oslo, Norway

I arrived in Oslo about a week before the start of my studies. I did this because I wanted to spend the week just indulging in the more touristy things, aka visiting land marks and shopping. Walking around the city was a good way to get a little more familiar with the surrounding area and the place that I would be spending the following year in. At first the city seemed huge but as I got to know it a little more, I was surprised how cozy it felt after a while. Pretty much everything was within a walking distance, which was a huge perk.

Once my 3D-graphics -studies started at Westerdals School of Arts, Communication and Technology, I was bombarded by deadlines and tasks that were challenging to say the least. One course I was interested in was unfortunately entirely in Norwegian. I told my teacher I had no issue having to translate things on my own, if I could just enroll myself. He not only enrolled me, but he actually managed to switch the course language for me, including the lectures and all study material. This just shows how hospitable Norwegians can be! Out of +40 students, the language of an entire 4 month course was changed because of one foreigner. Talk about being lucky!

I also befriended people in my class and I was able to relax and wind down with them after each school day and during weekends.  We enjoyed just hanging out by watching movies and playing games, but we also took walks on top of Grefsenkollen, which is a hill (almost a mountain) overseeing Oslo. I recommend anyone who goes to Oslo to check it out, the pictures do not do it justice!

You can see the entire dowtown of Oslo from Grefsenkollen. Climbing to the top is a great way to spend a chill sunday

I spent the first half a year living right in the city center. The school was just a few minutes of walking away and I could get pretty much anywhere in the matter of 15 minutes. This was nice, but unfortunately the noise was quite bad at times, especially during weekends. This is to be expected of course, living in the center of a capital city and all. I was, however, relieved to move to a new apartment in Ullevål at the start of 2017. I had to take a tram to get to school each day, but the environment was a lot more quiet, which was huge for me.

Tramstop near my apartment on January 2017

After a few months of staying in Oslo, I was comfortable calling it my home. The language barrier was hardly ever an issue and most people were extremely helpful and friendly towards me. The year I spent abroad was definitely one of the best years of my entire life!

Tiny cottage by Akerselva, the river that runs all the way across Oslo

 

 

Hilsen fra Norge!

I have been busy getting to know the city better and all the people around me, at my school and neighbourhood. How lovely city Oslo is! Balance between beautiful old buildings and modern architecture, the sea, the nature nearby, but still the feeling of quite a big city. I love to live almost in the city centre and having all things near me just a few minutes’ walk away!

My school is nice and cosy, as it is quite small. There are many talented students and good teachers, I think! It has been nice to notice that my Norwegian skills improve day by day. I am glad that I had the courage to use the local language since the first day here. The studies have been quite similar to the ones at my school in Finland. I have been playing in orchestra periods and chamber music with other students. I have had my private cello lessons, and I have also been in classes with all the other cellists. In lectures I understand the language more and more. We even arranged our own festival called Fagerborgfestspillene! And one of the biggest advantages we have here is that there are enough classrooms for practicing at our school, yay!

The 17th of May was a great experience in Oslo! The whole city full of people, music and joy! “Hip, hip, hurra!”

Livet mit i Norge – My life in Norway

Hei og venlig hilsen fra Stavanger, Norge! Many greetings from Stavanger, Norway! This is the most beautiful, colourful city I’ve ever visited. Even though it’s quite small, it’s sure is vibrant and has nearly a mediterranean spirit to it. The prettiest part on the city is the “colourful street”, which is full of lovely cafés and restaurants favoured by the students of the UIS (University of Stavanger). The Norwegians are kind, helpful, charming and laid back people and it makes me feel so cosy or “koselig” (as they say here). Like us Finns, the also love black liquorice and the nature.

I’ve already had the chance to do a lot of hiking here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such beauty of nature. Your soul just rests when you get up there and see all the amazing fjords and the lines of mountains. Just breathtaking… A couple of days ago I also got to see Månafossen, an amazing waterfall near Stavanger. Did you know that the Norwegians go on a “söndagstur” (a hike) every Sunday?? It’s really true!

I love the university here! It’s so international and I’ve made a lot of friends. I’m really satisfied with my teacher and all the classes I’ve been taking. Finally I have all the time I need to focus on my main instrument. I’m very glad. Stavanger also has the most vibrant music life in Norway so I’ve been enjoying the most wonderful concerts here, which I love!

See you later! Now I must go and buy a wool shirt to look just a bit more like a local! 😉IMG_0597

Greetings from Oslo!

I’ve been working now for three weeks in Maaemo restaurant, and have one and a half weeks to go. Feeling a bit sad that I decided to stay in here only one month, but already miss home as well so it’s fine I think..
Restaurant is located in centre of Oslo, next to train station. It got its third Michelin star few months ago, first in Norway.

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My working week starts in Tuesday and ends in Saturday. Every day we work from 10am to midnight. I’m working in snacks station, so we prepare many small dishes for dinner. Every day I’ll start my day preparing bowls for oyster dish. 20 bowls needs to be polished, filled with seaweed and oyster shells. After that I prepare tarts for king crab dish. Then we do everything else for what needs to be done on that day. On afternoon we clean the kitchen everywhere from ceiling to floor. Then it’s time for our break and staff meal. After the break we get every station ready for dinner service and have staff briefing. We get to plate every dish durig the service and have some dishes on our responsibility as well. In the evening it’s again time to cleand the kitchen and head back to home and get some rest for the next day.
Even though our days are long, you kind of get used to it.

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I’ve learned lot of new techniques and recipes, and it’s nice to get a bit more challenging tasks and more responsibility all the time.

We have our days off on Sunday and Monday. Mostly I just try to relax during these days. I’ve been at the beach many times, last weekend we went to contemporary art museum and dinner with my work mates, also visited main island wich was really cool.

Workig culture compared to Finland is mostly the same in Norway. Many national holidays for example and similar working hours. Salarys are a lot higher compared to Finland, but obviously living costs are higher here as well.

In the restaurant I’m working everything of course very different because of high level, chefs work even more hours than what we do. Maaemo kitchen is very international, so I cant say that much of Norwegian working culture.

We pay a lot of attention to hygiene and to general cleanliness. Also recycling is really important and well organised in Norway.

The kitchen is run daily mostly by chef de cuisine and sous chef. Methods of management are similar to Finland. We need to always answer “yes chef” or “ja takk” to all messages from chefs. If you do something wrong, you will definitely hear about it. So some things are more exact here, but chefs guide us interns very supportively. They want to keep good mood in the kitchen because we work so many hours a day that it wouldn’t make any sense if we couldn’t enjoy our time there.

Alcohol law is mostly same as we have, but you can’t buy alcohol from stores on Sunday, and on weekdays selling times are few hours less than in Finland. Also I’ve noticed that you need to always have your ID with you if you want to go to a bar, no matter how old you are.

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Glad that I still have some time to learn more and spend time with these people! Really enjoying my time here. 🙂

Greetings from Tromsø!

The time has gone by quickly and I have been here for over a month now. Starting to feel like home. It wasn’t that big culture shock to come here because the culture is quite same somparing to Finland.

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I have had a great times here and I have met many new interesting persons. People here are so warm-hearted and helpfull. My everyday life consists of working on the hospital, hanging out with the friends, sports etc.  just as my life in Finland also.

I live with 5 other students and there are plenty of students in the area I am living. It is very easy to make friends here.

I’m doing my placement in University Hospital Nord-Norge. The first six weeks I was in the medical ward, and now I have seven weeks of surgery department. I have realize that the hospital environment is actually quite the same as in Finland, but of course there are some differences.

Hilse fra Bergen!

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Bryggen World Heritage Site

Hallaien (hello) everyone! I have spent in Bergen two months now and starting to feel like home already. This attractive and cute city is surrounded by seven different mountains and has beatiful scenery even with the rain. Yes rain, and lots of it. I thought it was some kind of joke when reading that approximately 300 days of 365 are rainy here. Now I’m quite convinced it wasn’t. Well, just need to have some guts and work hard on rainy days and maybe have a day off when the sun comes out. Norwegians are used to having proper rain cloathing, even trousers made of rain coat material, but I didn’t even bring my wellies. I regretted that and now I alredy own one pair.  We had one day when schools were shut because of the storm. In my opinion the same should happen also on sunny days…

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Grieg Academy looks like Hogwarts for me

 

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Posing next to statue of Edvard Grieg. He was a small man!
Edvard Grieg – a small man but great music

My school Grieg Academy has been such a good place to study until now. Students and teachers have been very welcoming and so friendly right from the beginning. School is still quite small and everyone knows each other so everybody also knew right away when a new face had arrived. It was easy to get to know people, especially pianists of course. And my pianoteacher is also very inspiring! I feel very lucky because he is specialized in period instruments (pianos) and he has atleast five different pianos in his room in addition two grand pianos. On our lessons I got already a chance to try pianos from Chopin’s and Mozart’s time era and that was really eye-opening experience. That is also something you don’t have a chance to do in Finland so often.

 

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Taking a ride down from Mountain Fløien

 

I also started to play organs here and have a chance to make chamber music with other students as much as I like. One week for example we had a project week of Northern songs with singers. We have every week also this collaborative piano masterclass that means we can have lessons from every piano professor teaching here which is extremely motivating. And of course it’s nice to hear other students playing also. However, content of studying music doesn’t make big a difference if I compare it to what we have in Finland. In Bergen students have maybe more space to practise, which gives you more possibilities to plan your schedule and have even free time also! I also attended in a Norwegian course and I’m trying to use the language everyday as much as I can.

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On my spare time I have explored the city and even got a bus drive to Ikea with amazing views, went to a cabin trip with Norwegians and did some snowboarding too. Bergen has a very nice concert hall Grieghallen just next to Grieg Academy and I listened to concerts many times there.  Also student life is active here and I even volunteered as a member of local student organisation which arranges activities and concerts for students. The city has several different kind of cultural events to offer and I’m trying to catch as many of them as I can.  I find the surrounding mountains also very attractive and have been hiking several times. Amazing nature of Norway is something you don’t get just by looking a picture. You need to experience it yourself.

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Feeling small on the top of Mountain Ulriken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hilsen fra Oslo!

I have been living in Oslo almost 4 months now and it has been a fun experience! There is a lot to see in Norway and I feel I have only scraped the surface during this time. Oslo is a city that is an interesting mix of different times and styles. It is also the biggest city in Norway. There is a lot of modern construction going on through out the city area, but there is still room for older buildings and historical monuments like Akershus Festning.

Oslo Sentrum and Akershus Festning scenery.Good example of the modern Oslo are the “Barcode” buildings which are situated right beside The Oslo Opera House. Some say those are going to be the pride of Oslo and they are due to finish construction in the near future.

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The Barcode buildings under construction.

Oslo is also home of the famous Vigelands Parken which display’s the lifework of sculptor Gustav Vigeland. The park is impressive and worth seeing just by the sheer size of it.

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“The Human Obelisk” Center piece of Vigelands Parken.

I also got to visit the city of Bergen and see what life is like outside Oslo area. The train ride alone was pretty amazing and the highest point we reached via train was around 1222m above sea level.

Scenery from the Train window
Scenery seen from the train.

I can really recommend Bergen, although it is notoriously the most rainy city in Norway. There is actually a saying “As rare as a sunny day in Bergen.” We must have been lucky since we actually had two sunny days.

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Bergen Brygge in the middle is one of Unesco’s Word Heritage Sites.

One cannot visit Norway without seeing the Fjords! The only Fjord cruise still running outside of summer season was to one of the smaller Fjords called Osterfjorden. I still intend to visit the biggest one of them all, The Sognefjord, when I get the chance.

FjordcruiseAfter all this and more, I know that even though I am going to return to Finland, I will be coming back in the future. Norway is a beautiful country with friendly people who are very similar to us Finns in more ways than one. : )

Ha det bra!

Akkurat Norge!

Dear blog- reader,

After a couple of weeks I’ll land back to Finland from my memorable practical training from Mandal, Norway. Mandal is located in Southern- Norway, nearby Kristiansand. Here in Mandal, I work at a marine- styled restaurant of this leisure center named “Marianen” .

My duty at Marianen begun on May. Before restaurant could be opened for customers place have to be cleaned, ingredients had to be purchased and crew quided to their duties. Thanks to my former experience and my level of education I got an opportunity to teach new workers and say my opinion before recruitement.

Shores of restaurant are similar with shores in my home coutry, but I have took part into creating shift- list, work quidance and beer brewing. Quess, which one is my favourite :). Customers loved the product and we had to brew more due to demand.

Working days are sometimes long, but I have enforced me by chatting with my new friends whom I have met here.

Cottages at Tregde Ferie.
Cottages at Tregde Ferie.

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Brewing our beer for selling.