While the international blog is a new addition here at UiB, students have been sharing their experiences of the University of Bergen and student life for some time via the original student blog. Carl Henrik Berge is the current UiB blogger. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to interview him and get the chance to meet a Norwegian and a fellow-UiBer. Carl’s blog can be found here. It is generally in Norwegian, but with google translate and a good imagination, you can get to know him better. Here’s Carl!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from, what you’re studying, any hobbies you enjoy?
I am a twenty-two year old guy from Bergen who studies economics this year as a part of my bachelor degree in journalism (which I have studied for two years already). I spend a lot of my time working as a freelance journalist and writer. I consider myself to be a people-person (but so does everyone else so…) In my spare time I hang out with friends or work out at Sammen. I recently started learning Spanish using the app Duolingo. I like to learn new things but once I learn a little bit I usually go on to learn something else in the same mediocre way. But hey, I know what “apple” and “horse” is in Spanish so that’s got to be worth something. Besides that I enjoy reading literature and have a thirst for knowledge and finding the meaning of life.
Can you share a brief description of the blog you’re most proud of?
It would have to be my blog about the Bergen language where I list some of the things “outsiders” coming to Bergen should be aware of language-wise. There are some really weird words some Bergen people use that are hard for non-natives to understand. I also like my first blog, it is an attempt at a funny introduction of myself (the narcissist).
What’s your favorite thing about blogging for UiB?
It is getting positive feedback for my entries. I once met three girls at Narvesen that told me they knew who I was and what I was studying. At first I thought maybe they were undercover police or private detectives, but it turned out they had simply read my UIB- blog. Episodes like these are fun, when you actually get to meet people who have read your blog and find it interesting. Getting comments and advice from readers on the blog is also rewarding.
Do you have any recommendations for international students on how to make Norwegian friends?
I am not really sure. To be honest I think Norwegians could be better at meeting new people and not settling with their old friends from school or whatever. But not everyone is like that. My best advice would be to joining a student organization, it is a great way to meet new people with the same interests as yourself. And I mean… “Be the change you want to see in the world”: I’m a Norwegian so if any international students want to grab a coffee one day they can send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have any suggestions for how to be a gracious foreign guest in Norway?
If you’re not a Norwegian my guess is you are already 50 percent more gracious than the natives, so nothing to worry about there. If foreigners bump into Norwegians in the streets, they would say “oh, sorry.” And that would put them above most Norwegians I’m afraid. Normally we don’t say anything to strangers even if we bump into each other. Some Norwegians would explain this phenomenon saying we are just more “legit and honest” but I would explain it with poor manners. If foreigners are like the Lord of the Rings elves, Norwegians are like the dwarfs. So: nothing to worry about. You are as gracious as the light of the silver star.
What’s the quirkiest thing about Norwegians or Bergen-natives specifically?
Hard to say. I think I’ve already generalized way too much in this interview already, but what the heck… People from Bergen are known to be outgoing in the sense that we take up a lot of space. Our dialect and personalities has often been described by other Norwegians to be somewhat “brautende“.
As a Bergen native: Do you have any favorite places to go (landmarks, geographic features)?
I think people should check out “The King” or ”Gamlehaugen”. It is basically a small castle that looks exactly like they should do according to Disney and the old fairytale books. It is located a little outside the city by a quiet lake (obviously).
And if you are a hiker you would want to try Stoltzen of course: a really steep part of a mountain which, if one is not physically prepared, makes you feel like you are going to have a heart attack before you reach the top.
Opinions on the best restaurants or pubs for students? Una (update: now closed unfortunately) is a great pub with a lot of different types of beer, from microbreweries and such. It is located at Bryggen. They take beer seriously there and I love the atmosphere. Personally I am a big fan of kebab. They have a great kebab shop outside of the city called “Daniel’s kebab.” Check it out!
Anything else you want to share with International or prospective International students? Don’t be a fool – stay in school!
Did I forget to ask Carl something important? Have you also nearly died going up Stolzen? Or do you share a love of Una (or do you split your love, like I do, between Una and Henrik’s)? Please let me know below!