Classes

28 08 2011

This week the fantasy of spending all of my time exploring and sightseeing came to an end when reality set in and classes started.  Luckily, I only had one day of classes this week, but next week I will have all of my courses.  I am taking courses on Level 2 Norwegian Language, Norwegian Life and Society, and Norwegian Art History.  Fortunately for me, the last two are taught in English, but I think the language course might just give me a run for my money the first couple weeks as my past knowledge and vocabulary start to come back to me.

One of the things that I have noticed to be much different in Norway compared to the US is the university and schooling system.  For starters, one US credit is equal to two credits here.  So it seems strange when I say that I am taking 35 credits this semester, but it’s actually a normal course load.  Even though I am taking what would be equal to 17.5 US credits, I only have class 3 days a week and one of those days is just a 2 hour long grammar lecture for my Norwegian language course that is just “extra” for our regular class.  On Mondays and Wednesdays I have my language course for 3 hours, Monday evening I have Norwegian Life and Society for 2 hours, Wednesday afternoon I have Norwegian Art History for 2 hours, and then Thursday afternoon I have the extra grammar lecture.  Compared to the classes I’ve taken at UND, it’s odd that a couple of my classes only meet once a week, but are still 5 US credits each. Classes here rely much more on out-of-class work and studying and learning the material on your own.  Doing so much reading and learning on my own time is something I will have to adjust to while studying here since at UND there is more class time set aside to have the professor go over the information.  The grading here is much different that what I’m used to, also, since it is done in the European schooling styles; all of my final grades are based 100% on my final exams. Yep, none of the homework counts towards your grade; it’s just to help you on your own if you choose to do it. Therefore, I expect finals to be much more stressful than usual since your grade relies solely on the final exams. My classes will be much different than what I’m used to, but I am looking forward to them. I’m especially looking forward to the art history class partially because we get to have about 1/3 of our class meetings at museums. 🙂

This past week was mostly focused on classes and getting used to the University of Oslo’s way of doing things, but I managed to fit some fun stuff in, too, of course. 🙂 One of my friends that I met through my Buddy Group and I just booked a trip to Bergen. In less than two weeks, we’ll take a train to Bergen – which is supposed to be one of the prettiest train rides according to some of my Norwegian friends, explore Bergen for a few days, and then hop on a boat to go up the coast to the Sognefjord – Norway’s longest and deepest fjord – experience the whole fjord from the boat and then get on another train to take us back to Oslo. We also spent some time this week at the lake, Sognsvann, grilling and enjoying the weather, went to a flea market, and went to the weekly International Coffee Hour that UiO hosts.

Today we are going to the Red Bull Flugtag, which is where teams of four create human-powered flying machines and attempt to fly them over and/or into the harbor. From what I’ve heard it should be quite entertaining. 🙂 Other than that, today will be spent relaxing and preparing for what should be a busy first week of having all of my classes.

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