Sightseeing with the Buddies

21 08 2011

Last Monday, all of the international students here at UiO (University of Oslo) were assigned “Buddy Groups.” In each group there are two buddies, or students that have been at the university for at least a year, and about 15-20 new international students. In my buddy group, there were a few Americans, a couple Germans, a few students from different parts of Asia, quite a few French students, and what seemed to be a lot (really only 5) Italians.  The buddy group system was great in that it allowed us to quickly and easily meet other international students from around the world.  The first few days we just got to know each other and attended some informational meetings around campus. We also toured the campus and attended an event at the student pub.

One strange thing that I’ve noticed at this university is that each of the faculties, or different colleges within the univeristy, has its own pub. Yes, I said pub. So in each of the faculties buildings there is a pub that students attend regularly for coffee and snacks, but on certain nights of the week the pubs have events and students go to them just like they are any other pub, but on campus.  I had never heard of anything like this before!

This week I met so many people that had just arrived in Norway and also wanted to go sightseeing.  So the majority of this week for me, other than a few meetings and presentations, was spent “playing tourist.”  Now that we all live in Oslo, it feels a bit odd to whip out the camera and take photos of everything; it feels very touristy of course and we don’t feel like tourists since we will be here for the whole semester. So one of my flatmates, who is from Germany, a friend from Holland, another friend from Michigan, and I decided that we need to dedicate at least one day a week to be tourists. That way we will be able to get all the pictures that we want and be the silly tourists that we truly are, but will have the rest of the week to try to be normal citizens. So we’ve come up with “Tourist Tuesdays” and we are very excited for them! We figured it might have to be a different day of the week that we set out to sightsee, but “Tourist Tuesdays” just has a better ring to it.  Yesterday, we all went to Sognsvann, the lake right on the edge of Oslo, and brought all of our brochures and pamphlets with us that we have acquired over the past couple weeks and made a master list of all the things we want to do on our “Tourist Tuesdays.” The list is quite long, trust me. 🙂

So far this week we have been able to cross off a few things on our sightseeing wish list including: the Akerhus Fortress, the Cultural History Museum, the Opera House, Vigelands Sculpture Park, as well as strolling along Karl Johans Gate.

I start classes on Wednesday, and I have mixed feelings about them.  On one had I’m looking forward to being busy and meeting more students, and getting back into learning Norwegian, but at the same time I will miss having so much free time to explore and sightsee. But I guess that’s what we’ll have “Tourist Tuesdays” for. 🙂 Enjoy some of the pictures from my adventures this week:

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