It’s that time of year, international students outside of Norway have received their acceptance letters if they applied for full degrees (exchange students hear by July 1st) and are likely thinking about their next steps for joining us here at UiB. Perhaps you are one of them? Or, perhaps you are a current UiB student with some sage advice for the newcomers? Either way, please comment below and let us know what you’re thinking, what you’re wondering, or any tips or tricks you might want to share!
First of all I want to send a hearty congratulations to all the new students planning to attend UiB programmes next fall, I look forward to seeing you in Bergen! I’ve mined some of my past blogs in order to try to compile my top 4 helpful and fun tips as you get ready to move to Norway to study!
1. Before you arrive
This is the most important step. If you do nothing else before coming to Bergen to study at the University, make sure to check out all the ‘Before Arrival’ information on the UiB website. This will guide you through the many details you need to take care of before coming to Bergen, including arranging accommodation, getting a Student Residence Permit (if your studies are longer than three months), figuring out your finances and signing up for insurance if necessary, as well as practical information about arrival (such as directions into town and checking in for student housing), campus life and important semester dates. (You may also want to pack your bags with a lot of rain gear so you can get outside no matter the weather!)
2. Thinking about housing
Deciding on housing from abroad can be a challenge. Here’s a few quick links about housing options, you can also read a more colorful and detailed post on housing here.
Student housing through SIB
- You can use your international student housing guarantee to get an less expensive home away from home (actually you should have done this by 15 May, so if you didn’t make sure to look at ‘other housing options’ below).
- To do so, you choose a unit online with SiB’s (Studentsamskipnaden i Bergen) site (in English).
- For more information about student housing, check the UiB student housing page or SiB’s housing page.
Other housing options
Take a look at these ‘online classified ads’ if you prefer to find housing on your own or if you missed the student housing deadline. Both of these sites offer tailored searching, you can look for a specific price range and choose specific neighborhoods.
- Finn.no offers not only apartments, but also a variety of goods for sale (in Norwegian, so have the translating add-ons for your browser fired up and ready)
- Hybel.no offers housing only and you can change the language on the site itself.
3. Start making connections
Moving to a new place can be lonesome at first, you might want to try to make some friends before you get here! Or you may just want to look for ways to get necessary supplies when you arrive. There are a number of Facebook groups which may be helpful.
You definitely want to be aware of the University’s Facebook Page, of course.
- If you have or will receive a student housing assignment, you may want to look into ones specific to the student apartments. For example there is a Fantoft Tenant’s Union Group, Fantoft Student’s Group 2014-2015, Alrek Resident’s Group, market groups for Fantoft and Alrek (for buying inexpensive furniture and supplies from other students), and Alrek even has a sports group and movie club.
- Additionally, you can take a look at Facebook pages for expats in general or you can look for groups specific to your country of origin, (there’s an American one, for example)
You may also want to look into joining Buddy Bergen to be matched with a local so you can start looking for Norwegian friends early or explore some of the many other organizations you can participate in upon arrival:
- International Student Union
- Erasmus Student Network
- Student Parliament
- Go UiB’s ‘Student Organizations and Activities’ Page or Student Bergen to link to many other possibilities!
In order to make connections when you get here you may also want to make sure you arrive in time to attend the Introductory Programme. The Introductory Programme is helpful for meeting people as well as getting practical information (for example residence information as well as registration information). To check out the schedule for UiB’s Introductory Programme Autumn 2015, just click here (it is in the process of being updated, so keep checking back). To read more about experiencing the Introductory Programme click here.
4. Learn the language
You may want to start learning some of the language before you arrive. Well, Duolingo has just added Bokmål as a study option (while Bergensk is actually the dialect spoken here in Bergen, Bokmål is one of the standard written versions of Norwegian, I can’t speak to the pronunciation used in this program, but it may be Standard Østnorsk (Standard East Norwegian) as that is commonly taught to foreigners).
You can join a language tandem when you arrive which may allow you to practice either Norsk (Norwegian) or another language of your choosing. You can read more about the experience of language tandem here. There will be a chance to sign up for it in fall semester, so keep your eyes open for more information about that.
Or, you may just want to start learning about the culture you’ll be joining, already in progress. (The following video is uncredited on youtube, but the Introductory Programme presenters like to share it with incoming students).
You’re coming to a beautiful country, with smart, funny, and fascinating people, welcome to Norway!