From Bonn to Bergen
Hannah Pilgrim studies M.Sc. in Geographie at the University of Bonn. This semester she continued her geography studies as an exchange student in Bergen.
I am more than happy and grateful that I have spent my last months in Bergen. It was an overall fulfilling experience which I would not want to miss. So many shaping experience and stories which are hard to put in words. I learnt so much on different levels; not only academically through my studies but also personally by confronting myself with an absolute new situation. Especially the opportunity to get in contact with so many people fullfills myself in a real and lasting way.
A pleasant class and learning time
In the beginning I was a bit excited if I will overburden myself with three courses and a language class but due to short time classes (around 6-8 weeks), I was able to handle the workload. I always felt quite accepted and appreciated in my class and hence did not have any inhibitions to participate. I experienced a pleasant class and learning time with my mainly Norwegian class mates. Especially the fact that we as Master students have our own "Master Room" opens up the opportunity to cooperate and connect with each other. I learnt a lot through my classes and could broaden my critical understanding of current phenomena. In contrast to Germany, we completed the classes with an exam, which in my opinion is not necessarily the best format at Master level.
Study life in Bergen was a great experience
Although I was quite nervous beforehand because I heard so many different stories about Norwegian Life, I can say now, that you should rely on your own upcoming experiences. I had the feeling that the University Bergen and all related institutions are really interested to make things as easy as possible for a comfortable start in Norway. As long as you are open and interested in connecting with other people and situations, you won't have any problems.
Compared to my German study life, I was more relaxed and balanced because I did not feel any pressure. Quite the contrary, my lecturers and my department made me feel relaxed by flat hierarchies and an open-minded and trustful contact. And of course, weekly hiking trips in an impressive nature also contributed to a comfortable atmosphere.
Bergen International Student Conference
Besides my studies, I volunteered at the Bergen International Student Conference as a member of the academic committee. I really enjoyed the work in an engaged and lovely team and got an idea of the academic work related to planning and conducting a conference on an international level. One of the main tasks were the sorting of the different abstracts and the planning of a workshop. Especially the lead of a workshop and the moderation of the wrap up debate are one of my most intense experiences because I was quite nervous and under pressure. Luckily, it worked out well.
Besides I had the opportunity to present my previous researches in an international context which was a quite exciting and enriching.
What I really liked as well was the critical and political orientation of the Department of Geography. Thus, we participated in the Fridays For Future demonstration in March and received the support from the Department.