I have also decided to start making a list of all the things I have learned while being here in Norway. I will definitely have to keep adding to it as the year goes on. But first, here is a passage taken from my first blog post:
There are so many things I hope to gain and learn from studying abroad. I believe I will benefit from this experience in many ways:
- learn a new language
- become more independent
- become more aware of the world and a different culture
- grow as a person
- discover more about who I am
- gain a new family
- learn to have an open mind
- learn to have more patience
Now to comment on whether or not I have learned these things yet:
- I haven't COMPLETELY learned a new language, but I have learned some norwegian. When I first got here I couldn't understand ANYTHING! And all I could say was "hei, hvordan går det?" Which is in bokmål, the written norwegian language. Everyone actually speaks in dialect, so to say that same sentence it would actually be "hei, kordan går det?" But I am learning dialect AND bokmål, so that makes me feel really good :) I understand when people talk to me in norwegian, though they usually have to speak a little slower, but thats okay! I am finally speaking norwegian which is really really good, and if I keep it up I will actually learn it! I am currently reading a book in norwegian, A Series of Unfortunate Events 1, because I read it at home a long time ago, it is pretty easy. I still have to look up a lot of words, but I don't mind. Writing in norwegian is kind of hard because I always forget to put the verb first (sentences are written in another order than in english) but I am improving. And now if people are talking in norwegian and I am not paying attention, I still can pick out words that they are saying and understand what they are saying overall. Before I used to just zone out haha.
- Yes I am becoming more independent actually. Which i really am happy about. It is nice to be able to just rely on myself sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I still ask my parents here for things and to help me, but not as much as I used to at home. I hope to become even more independent as the year goes on.
- This is definitely true. I have learned so much more about the norwegian culture. I am hearing/learning norwegian everyday, eating norwegian food, experiencing new holiday traditions, figuring out the way a norwegian acts and what their values are, and beginning to really understand how to live in norway. Oh, and I have learned how to ski! Which is of course very norwegian ;) It is really exciting to learn about another culture. Especially exciting for me to learn about the norwegian culture because my great grandfather grew up in Bergen, and then sailed over to the US. So it is awesome to be able to learn about how he grew up and lived. I love it! I am also learning so much about the rest of the world, and experiencing what its like to see the US in a new way: as a norwegian sees it. It is really quite interesting.
- Growing as a person while you are studying abroad happens no matter what. It is like a garunteed thing. I know I am becoming a better person and learning how to handle situations in the right manner. I am also becoming more mature because my mind is maturing from all these situations. This also kind of scares me because when I home I am worried I will think everything my friends do is stupid and immature. I hope I wont, I love hanging out with them. It will be very VERY interesting to discover what my feelings will be when I come home. I will have to keep writing in my blog when I return to the US!
- I have of course discovered more about who I am. I now know what my flaws are and how I can change them. I know my personality traits really well now and who I really am. Its really good to know you truly know yourself, better than anyone else in the world.
- Gain a new family, that I have already done! I have an amazing family here, and I KNOW I will always be in contact with them after I leave. I will definitely come back to visit and I hope they will visit me too! I actually had a shift in my mind when I finally felt like my house here was a home, and my family was really my family. It didnt take long for that feeling to come. I don't feel as much as a guest anymore which is really good. I love my family here so much, they are some of the greatest people I have ever met! It's so nice to know that no matter where I am in the world, or what I am doing, I will always have a family in Norway, a place where I can go if I ever need to, or simply just to drop in and say hi. :)
- Learn to have an open mind. I am still kind of working on that one. Yes my mind is WAAAY more open that it was when I first arrived. I am learning to see things in a new perspective and not form opinions about everything right away. I try so hard to not think something here is bad, I have to think that is it just different, and I am not used to it. Of course I did go through a time where I didn't like anything in Norway and I just wanted to do everything like I did at home, and eat the food I ate at home, but that went away. I am thankful that I am beginning to open my mind more and more everyday. Its so interesting to learn the way other people see the world or your culture.
- Having more patience, is always a good thing. This is something I have begun to learn. I especially have to be patient when I am learning Norwegian. Because it is not easy, and just going to come to me easily. I have to be patient and really try to learn it. I know there were times when I got frustrated, and I still do. But I have noticed I am more patient, which i absolutely lovelovelove!
So I have learned quite a bit already! For my next blog post I will write what I have learned here so far besides what I already talked about. Don't have enough time to write it all now, plus I really have to think about what I have learned so far. I also have some funny things about norway to share on my next post. Hope you will read them both!
Ohhhh yeahhhh, another funny thing is when you notice your mind shift over from " 7 months left, thats SOOO LONG!" to " 7 months left, that's not enough time here!" It seems strange but you really do go through that kind of thought process while you are here. It has to do with culture shock. When I first arrived here I thought it was so awesome and I would want to be here forever. Then culture shock found me and I started thinking "uggghhh I have 7 more months here, thats way too long, I cant do it!" It was no fun at all. Then there was a time when I had mixed feelings. I really couldn't wait to go home, but I also didn't want to leave here. Now I really don't want to leave here. I think Norway is great and I am really becoming adapted. I only have around 6 months left here, and that is not a long time at all actually! But it was such a good feeling when I noticed the switch in my mind. Now I am a lot happier! To all future exchange students: NEVER GIVE UP! Things will always get better, and after the first few months everything will start working out for you! I promise. I didn't believe that when I was having bad moments here, but it really is true. Everything gets better after Christmas. And thank goodness for that!