I have officially completed the first month of my exchange in Kolbotn, Norway! The first month has been full of adventures, exploring, making new friends, and new beginnings.
In the first week of my exchange, I lived with my counselor, Shelley- a fellow Canadian! Shelley helped me beat my jet lag and kept me busy during my first few days here. On my first day in Norway, we went to Son (a charming little old-style town) and had dinner. On the second day, we went into Oslo, the capital of Norway, to visit Akershus fortress and tour the castle. We also visited a war museum. I visited Oslo again on my third day in Norway, but we took the train in this time. We saw the changing of the guards and walked around Oslo a bit to get me familiar with the area.
My first weekend in Norway was actually spent in Denmark- my counselor, her husband, and I took a cruise from Oslo to Copenhagen. We spent the first night on the cruise ship, explored Copenhagen during the day, and then got back on the ship at night to return to Norway. While the weather was rainy during our day in Copenhagen, the architecture was still very beautiful and the weather didn’t put a damper on my appetite- I got to try authentic Danish food in Copenhagen, which I loved.
Once we returned to Norway, we spent some time at my counselor’s cottage (or “hytte” in Norwegian). It is very common here to have either a cottage by the water, a cabin in the mountains, or both. At the cottage, I went boating and went swimming in the Oslo fjord. It was really, really cold but it was a very memorable experience for me. We had a shrimp party with one of my host Rotary clubs on our last night at the cottage, where we all peeled shrimp and ate it on bread with mayonnaise, dill, lemon, and lemon pepper. This is a traditional summer dish for the Norwegians, and for them a big part of it is just simply coming together and catching up with one another while they peel the shrimp- the event is very much centered on the social aspect of it.
I moved to my first host family and started school during my second week of exchange. I have had lots of fun with my host family so far. I’ve spent a lot of time with my host mom especially- shopping, keeping her company at the grocery store, going for walks, and going to classes at the gym. Just last weekend my host parents and I took a day trip to Oslo with my friend from Australia and visited Holmenkollen, a well-known ski jump, as well as Vigeland Sculpture Park.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to have lots of contact with other exchange students since my arrival in Norway. While I’m the only exchange student at my school, I’ve been in touch with a lot of other students on exchange with rotary located all over Norway. I’ve already met up with other exchange students from Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and Canada! I also got to meet a Norwegian who went on exchange to my district in Canada, before she left.
My first month of exchange has been so fun and memorable, and I can’t wait to see what the next ones have in store!
Bye for now!