A huge welcome to all the new international students arriving in Bergen for UiB courses! Maybe you’ve seen the weather and wondered if anyone leaves their home. Maybe you’re ready to get out and make some new Norwegian or international friends. Maybe you’re wondering what to do, where to go, how to meet these mythical friend-beasts. Well, I hope to provide you with some tips to get started, and if anyone who’s already a transplant in Bergen or who is from Bergen wants to weigh in with additional ideas, please comment below!
Bergen city centre awaits. Photo: Stand Hiestand
I’ve consulted with several students to compile some Bergen recommendations for you, our new friends and fellow students:
Get outdoors: Go hiking, skiing, or ice skating, or just stroll the streets.
Nearly every student I spoke with mentioned the nature available at your fingertips in Bergen. Emma from Britain said, “[Bergen] really feels cosmopolitan, more so than anywhere I’ve lived before. Its proximity to the fjords makes it a great place for outdoor enthusiasts, it’s affordable to buy a pair of cross country skis and just get out there and try. [And], it has many cheap but well-maintained ice skating facilities.” Don’t let the weather deter you! We’ll talk about that in more detail in my next post, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing” (which you may remember is my favorite Norwegian saying so far).
Volunteer, or just go to a festival.
Ellie (28), a former Erasmus student from Scotland, mentioned that Bergen is a great place to volunteer, she volunteered for a music festival during her time here. Other past (and future) opportunities to volunteer include the Bergen International Film Festival or BIFF (in 2015 23-30 September), and Bergen Ølfestival (Beerfest) which was in early September last year.
I attended both of the the latter festivals as well checking out Matfestival, a festival of locally produced food from Western Norway. and seeing Stephen Merchant at the Bergen Comedy festival. For a list of upcoming festivals (looks like there’s several music festivals in the spring and summer), click here.
Maybe you want to see some of the art, museums, historical buildings, or other features that make Bergen so beautiful. You could simply stroll around and discover Bergen on your own, or use a tourist website, or Student Bergen’s site as a guide. Student Bergen highlights less expensive options for students, such as discount tickets for concerts. Ernest (33) from Ghana recommends enjoying Bergen’s scenery by hopping on a bus, seeing where you end up.
Cafes and Nightlife
Cheap? Not necessarily, but occasionally, you may wish to frequent a local establishment of some kind. Some students love Krok og Krinkel, a cosy cafe, where one can sit and read with a cup of coffee, as well as Henriks øl og Vinstove (my personal favorite place to splurge on a craft beer). Janette (30), from Uganda, not only mentioned her love of hiking and jogging in Bergen, but also dancing. She suggests heading to Garage, but warns that there is a cover charge.
Concert at Hulen Photo: Stand Hiestand
Attend an academic event.
I’ve enjoyed many fascinating (and free) lectures on and off campus. Mahlet (25), from Ethiopia, especially enjoyed an event hosted by Student Parliament this November called Tell Me About Africa. You can look for lectures and events on the UiB news page or on the UiB calendar (FYI on the calendar do look under not only events, but lectures, seminars, even trial lectures, etc in order to see all the options).
There’s so much to do, how do I get started?
A great place to start is the stands of the student organizations on 27th January. Joining a student organization is a great way to meet people and find activities you’ll enjoy.
Or, meet other expats at Internations, a group meeting once a month in Bergen. It is great fun to meet people from all over the world who may or may not be students.
Just a reminder to post your suggestions for other fun, cheap, or student activities in Bergen below. Also, if you like my blog, you can now subscribe to it over on the left-hand side of the screen and get notified when a new blog is posted!