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120 new exchange students to Faculty of Law

Helene Feldner and Svenja Gutsche are two of the approximately 120 new exchange students who started at Faculty of Law in Bergen this semester.

Svenja and Helene
Svenja Gutsche from Germany and Helene Feldner from Austria.
Photo:
Veronica Ljosheim

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Helene from Austria and Svenja from Germany arrived in Bergen earlier this month. The girls had known for a while that they wanted to study in Scandinavia; partly because of the amount of English lectures offered in the Scandinavian universities.


- For me the choice was between Oslo and Bergen. I chose Bergen because it is smaller than Oslo; I thought that was better to get social contact and not get lost, Svenja laughs. - I also came here because of the landscape and nature. And I like the Scandinavian architecture and style! she adds.

- Yeah, the houses in wood and different colors are nice, Helene says.  - Bergen is very nice and beautiful. It is smaller than where I am from, but it has a good size. I enjoy being near the ocean; I like that you can see it from everywhere. Together with the hills, it is a good combination!  I’m still adjusting to the climate though, she says.


An intense introduction week


Last week, most of the new international students were busy with the Introductory Programme and Mentor Week. Throughout the Introductory Programme 7-12 August the students were introduced to different aspects of being a student in Bergen and Norway through practical information and entertaining lectures during the day. In the evenings Mentor Week took over, which is a social programme were mentors from the university give the new students an insight into student life in Bergen from a student perspective.


- Last week was very intense, Helene tells. - It has been very informative and well organized, and also very welcoming. I joined almost every event in Mentor week. The mentors were really helpful – I liked that! They put much energy and spirit into it.


Want new perspectives


Helene is staying in Bergen for one semester and Svenja for one year. They have great expectations for their stay in Norway.


- I think there will be many outdoor activities. I want to go hiking a lot – at least that’s what I plan to do! I want to find friends here, but I also want to get new perspectives in my studies, from different angles than I get from my country, Helene says.

- To get new perspectives in my studies is an important thing for me to, Svenja says. - I want to meet many people from many different countries and get the international experience. And I want to do things I haven’t done before – to open my horizon a bit! she smiles.


An informal environment


Svenja and Helene have a good impression of the university and faculty so far, and say that it is different from what they are used to back home.


- The university seems very open and inviting for all students. There is a high standard, and the professors and staff are very friendly. They invite us to ask questions; I am not used to that! Helene says. - In Austria there is more respect for the professors and students are more “afraid” to contact them, she explains.


- It is the same in Germany, Svenja says. - Here it is very informal. I think it will be easier to get in contact with the academic staff and get help!


Helpful Norwegians


Before Helene and Svenja came to Norway, they were told that Norwegians were cold and unfriendly. That was also what they were told in one of their first introduction lectures at the University in Bergen. The two girls do not agree with this.


- I’ve experienced the complete opposite! They are friendly and helpful! If I stand with a map in my hand, someone comes to ask if I need any help. They are a bit reserved, but not as cold as I expected. They seem sporty and active! Helene says.

- I have the same impression; they are very friendly and helpful! One day I stood with a map, and even a person on a bike stopped and asked if I needed help! Svenja says impressed.