Handelshøyskolen BI

Welcome back, I’m sure it’s been a long two weeks with out a post and that you all are dying to hear from me again. Actually, I’m totally kidding. 😉 I sometimes think my blogs would be annoying if I posted too frequently. Anyways, back to the contents of this blog post. I don’t like writing posts that don’t have a central or specific topic. I know they don’t need to have one but I just can’t get myself to write one unless I have a “topic” picked out. It’s just my little bit of ‘OCD’ kicking in. 😀 Looking back at my previous posts, I haven’t really talked about school all too much. I’ve mentioned it here and there, but never dedicated a post about my school. That being the reason I am actually over here, I thought it was a good idea.

So for those of you that don’t know. I’m studying at BI Norwegian Business School, Handelshøyskolen BI, if you prefer it in Norwegian,  in Oslo, Norway. Before I go directly into talking about my courses, I’ll give you a bit of information about the school. BI, for short,  is a private, independent, specialized university institution with 6  locations in Norway – Oslo being the main campus.* It is one of Europe’s largest business schools with around 20,000 students. Internationally, BI has student exchange agreements with more than 170 institutions in 45 different countries.* If you’re interested in reading more about BI, go here. 😀 The building itself is amazing and super modern; it reminds me of a shopping mall. Everything about the school screams “Modern Business Professional” from the building itself, to the staff, and to the way the Norwegian students dress. 😉 [which I’m going to miss seeing on a daily basis. It’s like walking into a school full of models, not kidding either] 😀 hahah

This semester, I’m taking 4 courses which is the minimum for full-time and the amount most people take per semester. Classes meet once a week for about 3 hours (I had one that met 4 hours a week) usually with a 10-15 minute break each hour. That took a lot of getting used to and now that I’m done with lectures, I don’t think I ever got used to it. I will say, having the breaks helped me stay focused and make the time go by a bit faster. Comparing that set up with UND, I think I prefer the way it’s set up back home meeting 50 minutes 3 times a week or an hour and 15 minutes twice a week. I do see how more could be more beneficial having longer classes once a week, I just never got used to the concept. Another big difference between classes here, and I think a lot of universities in Europe, is that the majority of the time, your final grade of the course is based off the final exam, and only that exam. There is no course work throughout the semester. Again, I never got used to this at all. I can’t learn by just reading and listening, I need to actually put the knowledge to use and do work and assignments with it. Though, some classes instead of a final exam have term papers. For example, my Business Ethics class had a group term paper instead of a final exam. I’ve completely done with that class and that paper was handed in last week. My Organization and Change course has 2 parts to the final grade: first part is a 30 questions multiple choice test based on the book that you must get 70% or better to complete the 2nd part, which is a group exam paper. We get 72 hours to complete it. My Social Entrepreneurship and Microeconomics exams are both 4 hour written tests. One other thing to note, is that all exams are taken off campus at various random locations in Oslo. For me that just puts an added stress before the exam trying to find the place. They suggest going a couple days before the exam to find the location… takes time away from studying.

This post is starting to sound a bit to critical (I don’t intend for it to be negative at all), but I wanted to give my honest opinion on my classes and the way they are structured.

With all of that said above, I can say I have learned a lot during my semester at BI both relating to the academics themselves and giving me more of a clear direction of what part of business I want to focus on. I definitely can say I’m thankful for having the opportunity to study at such an internationally accredited business school.

I will end this blog with a few random updates before I leave you with some pictures of BI.

I’m going  to Bergen  today, well tonight, with my friend Sara for the weekend. We’re taking the train over night, to save money and not have to pay for a hotel an extra night. We have all day Saturday and and Sunday and then our train leaves Bergen late Sunday evening. We’ll be back into Oslo Monday morning. I’ve been told multiple times my Norwegians that Oslo itself does not depict the true beauty of Norway or represent the real Norway so I’m excited to go head west and experience Bergen.

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Now that I’m completely done with the class lectures, my time will be dedicated to studying and reviewing for the most part. I have my multiple choice exam, mentioned above, next Thursday (on Thanksgiving 😦 ) and then the following week are my two 4 hour written exams (one on that Wednesday and the other on Thursday). Then that Friday morning I’m heading to SPAIN! 😀 for 5 days. Then when I get back I have the 72 hour group exam paper. The day after that’s handed in, I’m going up north to Tromsø, part of the arctic circle, for 3 days. Then back to Oslo for one day to pack and then I’ll be on my way back to good ole’ North Dakota! I’m actually getting really excited to come home and see everyone and be back in Grand Forks just in time for Christmas, but I can guarantee after a couple weeks, I’m going to want to be back here because I’ve been having the time of my life. ♥

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 *http://www.topuniversities.com/universities/bi-norwegian-business-school/undergrad

(Map photo credit: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-9wxqcbGevoc/TwW4S8llS8I/AAAAAAAAMeA/dPPbHU8JTpE/s1600/norway-map.gif)

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[random] “Stories” :)

This blog post is all over the place with random stories, so I apologize for that. . 😉

Lately I’ve had a lack of motivation to write my blog. Maybe it’s because I’ve been using all my writing ability on my Business and Professional Ethics term paper? 😉 Anyways, maybe I’ll update you on school. Classes are going okay. I still can’t say I’m use to 3 – 4 hour long classes meeting only once a week. I just can’t get used to it. I would much rather go to class for only an hour or hour and half multiple times a week. I actually really enjoy 3 out of the 4 classes that I am taking here. We had a really cool presentation in my Social Entrepreneurship class about social innovation today. I really enjoyed that.  I can’t say I enjoy my microeconomics course. I cannot understand anything the professor says due to his really thick accent and quiet voice in a big room; I even sit in the front. He doesn’t explain anything he teaches and he just shows us notes that look like they’ve been written years ago in sloppy handwriting. The way the courses here are set up is that there are no assignments during the semester – so the grade for the course is just the final exam so I have no indication of what my grade would be right now. I’m definitely thinking I’m probably going to have to re take this course when I get back to UND.

Okay now on to things that are a bit more happy and exciting. Though I do feel like my portrayal of studying abroad in all my previous blogs has been portrayed as almost “perfect” all fun and no bad experiences so far. (**knock on wood**) 😉  But it has, so far, basically been that way, which is amazing and I am so thankful for how well everything has worked out and for being in such a good place.

A few cool things I’ve done this past week was on Thursday I went to the Opera and saw a ballet with Sara. I had never been to a ballet before so I had no idea what to expect. It was actually very cool! And inside the Opera house is just about as cool looking as the outside. We got a very good deal on the tickets, 100kr for good seats, minus the fact they were “bar stool” seats. Luckily enough it wasn’t sold out and there was no one sitting in the row below us, so we moved down to sit in the comfortable regular seats half way through.

The ballet consisted of three main parts with 2 intermissions. The acts or dances were all very cool and it’s actually amazing to think about how a ballet is essentially a story being portrayed by just dance and music. After the first dance was over, the audience gave a very lengthy round of applause. In fact, I’ve never experienced a situation where people clapped for that long. I am not kidding when I say they clapped for almost 5 minutes after each act. I almost couldn’t take it seriously, because it was just so much clapping!! hahah 😀 The dancers would come back on stage and the audience would clap, then they’d close the curtain (audience still continues to clap), then raise the curtain again and the dancers would bow. This repeated 3 or 4 times after each dance. It ‘s definitely either a big cultural difference or that’s what people always do at ballets? I do not know. 😉

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I don’t think I mentioned this in my previous blog, my friend Sara and I booked a little weekend trip to Bergen for late November. We both said we have to go somewhere else in Norway besides Oslo to see the true beauty of this country. Everyone suggests Bergen as the place to go for a weekend. So I’m looking forward to that trip.

OHHH!! I also booked a flight to Spain in December to visit my friend Amber who is studying abroad there this semester and also one of the girls I’m meeting in Paris. I have a week “off” before my last final and it’s one that I can’t really study for, since it’s a group written exam. So I decided I needed to go somewhere since everyone else here will be busy with either exams or going home already. I’m excited for that trip as well!

Speaking of exams, it’s crazy to think  that I’ve been here for 2 months already and my time here is almost half over… :/ It literally feels like I just arrived last week.  It has gone by so incredibly fast and I truly love it here! I am so glad I chose to come to Oslo. Though I do look forward to going back home and seeing everyone, I’m going to not want to leave Oslo.

Last Friday night, I had dinner with a lovely Norwegian family. They are really distant relatives of one of my moms best friends and I was able to meet Stein and his daughter Helene, who’s my brothers age, earlier this summer when they were in Grand Forks. One of the first days I arrived in Oslo, Stein showed me around Oslo and had said one night we’ll have to have you over for dinner. We finally were able to fit both of our schedules and they picked me up on Friday. Funny side story: I texted Helene and asked her what color car they were in. She replied, “The craziest car you can see! Green one.” So I just expected some maybe weird shade of green car. I go outside and walk to where they said they were picking me up and it’s a green HUMMER! hahah I’ve never ridden in a Hummer before, so that was super cool. Before we went to their house for dinner, he had to stop at work to lock things up for the weekend. I can’t really explain what his job is, but I think he’s a contractor and builds houses on islands in the Oslo fjords or something similar. We took this little boat to one of the islands he was working at. That was neat as well. 😉

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After a bit of a rainy time on the island we went back to main land and headed to their house. Their house was beautiful! I wish I would have taken some more pictures, but didn’t want to awkwardly take pictures of their house. 😉 We had tacos for dinner, which I guess is the “thing” to eat of Friday nights. 😉 They were very good since I can’t remember the last time I had tacos – definitely before I got to Oslo. We had a nice meal and it reminded me of home, which is a nice feeling. 🙂

After dinner and dessert, Helene, Henrik, her brother who’s actually just a few days younger than me, and I hung out the rest of the night. 😀 & They tried to teach me to count to 10 in Norwegian, but I have the hardest time pronouncing anything in Norwegian. I didn’t get past learning “two”. hahah It was a really nice having kind of a “family” night and I definitely thanked them for having me over. They’re all super nice people!

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On Tuesday afternoon I was walking to the train and this older lady stopped me and asked me ‘what time it is’, in Norwegian of course. I politely told her I didn’t speak Norwegian, which I really wish I could speak because it’s such a cool sounding language. Anyways, she couldn’t believe I wasn’t Norwegian. She said, “that’s the reason I asked you because I thought you were Norwegian.” The rest of the way to the metro, it’s about a 10 minute walk, she just kept going on about how I look so Norwegian. I love when that happens and always take it as a compliment! 🙂

I don’t really have anything else to update on that I can think of, so I think I will end this blog here. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

-Hannah 😀

P.S I’m going to PARIS in exactly 2 weeks from today and I’m super excited for that!!

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

This past Friday marked my two weeks of being here in Oslo and it was the last night of “Fadderullan.” The time had really flown by and it seems like just yesterday I got here. The quote, “Time flies when you’re having fun” is so true. I really love it here!

Friday afternoon, I went to the Oslo Opera with a couple other exchange students and then we walked around the city center a lot. The weather here this past week has been absolutely beautiful. I’ve been told that this weather is usually warm for this time of the year. I’ve definitely been trying to take advantage of the gorgeous weather.

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Outside somewhat on top of the Opera ^^

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The view from on top of the Opera looking toward the city! ^^

I arrived back to Sogn at around 3:30pm and did a little grocery shopping at the Rema 1000 right near my residence before going up to my room. I then relaxed and tried to cool down because I was so hot from the afternoon outside and I knew that later on we’d be going to the last “fadderullan” party. The party theme for that night was called “Suit Up” so it was a somewhat formal event. We planned on going to the pre-party for sure, but didn’t really plan on going to the actually party because the pre-parties had always been a lot more fun anyways. Plus we didn’t want to have to pay 200kr just to get in. We still decided to dress up anyway and I was glad I did, because all our new Norwegian friends looked so good! Hahaha

I don’t think I can say it enough or describe how cool it is to have the opportunity to get to know Norwegians. Before I arrived, everyone who had either been to Norway or had a connection to Norway told me that Norwegians are so hard to get to know. I can see where they are coming from in certain ways, but as a foreigner to get to know the people of Norway you have to really put yourself into a position that allows you to get to know them. I am so grateful to have had such a wonderful and welcoming buddy group. After the first day of our buddy group, before we met the Norwegians, our leaders told us to come back and meet them at 11:00am the next day to go to the park with them. The first day we had like 25 people in this group, the following day only three of us came back and I am so glad I made that choice to come back. Those other 22 people definitely lost out on the opportunity to get to know the people of Oslo and their fellow Norwegian students. It wasn’t only our buddy group where the exchange students didn’t come back the next day, a lot of them didn’t decide to go back. I feel like that was such a lost opportunity for them. During the 10 days of “fadderullan” I got to somewhat know a lot of the Norwegians in my buddy group, some more than others. I really do hope that I will be able to continue to get to know them because I have really enjoyed the last week with them all. (:

While getting to know our buddy group, I probably can say that I may have missed out on getting to know my fellow exchange students. My whole view on this, is that all my classes will be with them and I can get to know them in class with discussions or group projects. The opportunity to get to know them is still there, while getting to know the Norwegians is there, but at a farther distance.

I really hope this post doesn’t come across rude in anyway, I am just glad of the decisions I have made so far while I am here and that everyone has their own views and opinions on why they are here and what they want to do. (:

Anyways back to Friday night, the party was very fun and probably one of my favorite nights of “fadderullan” even though I didn’t go to the actually party. My friend Sara, didn’t want to go to the actually party, but everyone else wanted us to go. I really didn’t care if we went or not, so I went back home with Sara when the others went to the actually party. Like I said before, the pre-parties are always more fun! (: & I wasn’t going to leave her, because all the other nights when I wasn’t able to get in because of being 19, she didn’t leave me. Anyways, I was starting to get a cold and it was probably a good thing so I could go to bed at a somewhat of an earlier time than the nights before.

Some pictures from the party on Thursday night and Friday night:

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The attempt to get the whole “Fadderullan Entøk” group picture after a night of drinking… = a tough task 🙂 Looking so classy!

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My favorite Canadian, Sara

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William , one of my more favorite Norwegians, but they all are my favorite!

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His pants matched my dress, so of course we had to take a picture!

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Thursday night at the superhero themed party…not many dressed up!

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Sara, Leivi and I

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He told me he had read my blog, so I said we needed a picture for my next one. So here’s the picture, Wilson! 🙂

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Saturday, I kind of took it easy and didn’t do much, I’ve been sick with a sore throat and somewhat of a cough. I went and bought two of the books for my classes, I still need 2 more, but the store doesn’t have the on in yet. The prices for the two I bought were not that bad at all. I paid around $130usd for the two books. Back home I paid almost $200usd for just one. I didn’t do anything Saturday night except attempt to study and read my text books, but I ended up falling asleep reading them instead. Hahah

Sunday morning, I slept in and made a good breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast. It was delicious and the first time I’ve had true breakfast food since I’ve been here. I met Sara at 1:00pm to head to the museum. We both had registered for this free tour to BI students of the Munch exhibit at the National Gallery in Oslo. The tour was good, for the most part that I paid attention too. About halfway through I almost passed out. It was extremely hot in there and we were in a smaller room with a lot of people and then all of a sudden my vision started blurring and my hearing was going out. I had no idea what was going on and I could barely walk. All I could say was “I need to sit down.” I managed to find a bench and then I was super hot so I took out this brochure for the exhibit from my purse and sat there and fanned myself trying to cool off because my forehead was dripping sweat. I really don’t know why that happened, but I think it was the combination of it being super hot outside and in the museum, too many people in the small room, being sick, and not drinking enough water the last couple of days. I did get to see ‘The Scream’ which was exciting since that’s one of the most known/well recognized paintings in the world and I remember elementary art class learning about that painting. 🙂  I was completely fine after I cooled off, but I still have a sore throat and am a little congested. The rest of the day, I just stayed in my room and studied.

Today is Monday and I haven’t done too much. I don’t have any classes on Mondays, which I love. I have been doing some studying and I did laundry today. Tonight, I’m going over to Sara’s to have dinner. She’s making Thai food, my favorite, so I am excited about that! 🙂

Sorry this post is kind of long, but sometimes I just get into the swing of writing and can’t really stop. (:

Fadderullan!

(pictures at the end :D)

“Buddy group” is the translation of fadderullan which is where my time, this past 5 days, has been consumed by. The first day of the group was just international students and the buddy leaders. They gave us a little tour of the school and showed us around a little bit. The next day we were told to meet at the school at 11:00am because we would be going to a park. I met Sara, my now friend, in our buddy group that day. We found out that we both live at Sogn so we took the train back together. We planned to meet the next day to meet with our group.

Wednesday morning Sara and I took the train to BI to meet our group. We got there a little early and didn’t see any of our buddy leaders so we went back in to see if they were in side. On our way in we met Simon, who’s from Germany. He completes the “3 amigos” of the international students in our buddy group because no one else showed up, which in the end I’m kind of glad because I really like getting to know actual Norwegian students. We found our group and today the first year Norwegian students joined us. I met so many people that day, I had a hard time remember all their names!

After introducing ourselves to each other we got on a bus to go to a park in Oslo. On the bus we sat with the Norwegians and talked. Somehow we got on to the top of driver’s licenses and they couldn’t believe you can be 15 and have your driver’s license. I learned that it’s really expensive to get your license in Norway. One of the guys I was talking to on the bus, who I can’t remember his name, spent a year in the United States and studied in California.

Out of all the international students I’ve met or people in Oslo in general, the Norwegians speak THE BEST English our of everyone (besides native English speakers). It’s really easy to carry on a conversation with the Norwegians because they don’t need to pause and search for the right words like some others do. The French, for example, a lot of them that I’ve met are not good at English and have a hard time. The Norwegian’s are really good at English. One of the main reasons they said it’s because all their TV they watch is American or English with just Norwegian subtitles, so they don’t dub over voices like other countries do and they take English really early on.

On our way to the park, after getting of the bus, we had to stop at this little grocery store to buy some ‘beverages’ to drink at the park. In Norway it’s not really legal to drink in the park or public, but in Oslo the police don’t really follow that law too well. We also got hot dogs and these really cool disposable grills that they have at like every grocery store. The Norwegian’s eat hot dogs with lefse and potato salad. It’s actually really good! At the park we cooked hot dogs, drank, and played games. We spent all afternoon at the park getting to know the Norwegians. At about 6:00pm or so we left the park and took the tram and the train to get to Morten’s apartment. He’s one of the buddy leaders, which just means he’s an upperclassman at BI who’s been in the same position as us all and volunteered to help us get to know one another. For the exchange students it’s a really good opportunity to get to know Norwegian people, which can be tough. I’m really glad we’ve been sticking with our buddy group for the past 5 days, because it’s not everyday you get the opportunity to get to know Norwegians.

We were at the pre-party until probably about 10:00pm and then we went to the concert. The artist was Erik & Kriss, they’re a well known Norwegian rap group. When we got to the club, I had to go wait into a different line because I was not 20. There were sooooo many people around and everyone was pushing and shoving to get in. I didn’t recognize anyone in line, so I just hoped I would see people I knew when I got in side. Once inside, found Helene, one of the buddy leaders, and she told me to follow her to find the rest of the group. I ended up losing Helene after we both ran to the bathroom. I didn’t see anyone I knew, so I went to the floor where the concert was to try to find someone I recognized at least. I didn’t want to have to spend the whole night a lone. lol I then found 2 people that had been in my buddy group that I remembered, but hadn’t really talked to. We then spent the next 20 minutes trying to find the rest of our group. Somehow, I got split up from those 2, and ended up with a few international students I had met my first night here in Oslo. The night ended up okay, but I never ended up finding my buddy group of Norwegians, which I later found out, was because they stayed in the basement area which was 20+ only. I really love my buddy group and  all the Norwegians in it. Everyone is so nice and really genuinely interested in you. It actually really sucks being 19 in Oslo, because there is really only one club you can go in, if you are under 20.

The next day, Thursday, was basically the same preparty in the park listening to music, playing games, etc. The only that was different was Sara and I didn’t have tickets to the concert for that night. We were okay with that because we both hadn’t ever heard of the artists, so why waste money in Oslo when everything else is already sooooo expensive.

Friday ended up being really crappy weather and we had a “Study Smarter” workshop at the school in the afternoon. Friday night we met up with our buddies once again and tonight’s activity was a “pub crawl”. My friend Sara said it was not like a normal pub crawl she had ever been on before, so this was not a typical one. We were split up into teams, thankfully Sara and I were put on the same team, but the rest of our team wasn’t good. We were stuck with like the 3 Norwegians who we hadn’t really talked to before and the one was super quiet and never talked or just talked in Norwegian. Basically the first task was to find the buddy leader somewhere in the park. This would have actually been a pretty fun night if it hadn’t been raining. After about 20 minutes of no luck, we went back to the starting place and told them we couldn’t find them. It turned out that they had thought everyone had came through so they just went onto the next place and didn’t wait for us. So we ended up on the wrong foot. At each stop there were different challenges to do in order to get more points. The first stop was to take a picture with at least 2 random strangers. Also along the way, we started out with really small items and our goal was to trade for items worth more value. My team definitely lacked in that department, I think due to the rain, we were just focused on getting to the next spot. Friday night was an okay night, but would have been a lot better if it hadn’t rained or we had had a better team.   😉

Saturday, was nice weather and I had my appointment with the foreign police at 2:00pm and there was also a scavenger hunt with our buddy group at the same time as well. I left for my appointment at around 1:00pm thinking I would have plenty of time to find the police station…turned out it was not and I ended up being about 45 minutes late to it and Norwegians are NEVER late. It all worked out and the lady was super nice to me and didn’t give me a hard time about being late at all. I was told to take the train to the city center and get off and just ask someone where it was. I did that, and they then told me to go to Grønland, an area of Oslo that I’ve been told don’t go alone or at night. It’s a lot of immigrants and to just be careful there. So I get off the train and ask people where the police station is. They told me to go just down the street and it’s on the left. I walked and found the building, but it looked closed. I went up to the door and it was locked, so I buzzed the button and some guy answered in Norwegian. I told him what I was doing and he said this isn’t the correct police station and attempted to give me directions. I could go on and on about how I was lost and then eventually found the correct police building, but it could get quit boring and I really just need to summarize this and say that I made it there eventually and I will be receiving my residence card in the mail within the next 10-14 days. 🙂

After my appointment, I met back up at the school with Sara and Simon and I went with them back to the scavenger hunt even though it was basically over. I honestly love spending time with my buddy group and they are so much fun to be with. We went to Marcus’s apartment first. He’s another buddy leader and we’ve come to the conclusion that there really are more buddy leaders than “students” and they really enjoy being buddy leaders. Marcus’s apartment was really nice as well. All of the apartments we’ve been to have been extremely nice! I will leave that at that and say I had a ton of fun on Saturday night with all of them. 😀

Sunday was extremely crappy weather and I was really tired from the night before. Sara and I ended up going out for late lunch,/early dinner, my first time at a sit down restaurant in Oslo, at a Thai food place called Rice Bowl. It was delicious and I had a pad thai of course. 😉 After eating I came back to my room and just relaxed. I also did laundry for the first time here. I surprisingly had no problems, thanks to Sara for showing me how!

Monday, today, we had a Fadderullan activity as well, but I am going to end this post here since I took quite a few pictures today so that will be it’s own post. 🙂 

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^^ Most of our buddy group on the first night!

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^^^Erik & Kriss concert, the first day of Fadderullan

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Our group chanting to the other school groups of Fadderullan in Norwegian. This was one of the days at the park.

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Sara with Jim and Jespar. Funny story, Jim was planning on going to UND this fall, but something happened with his visa so he has to wait until next year.

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One of the buddies randomly found these tables that had a note that said “Free take them” so he just brought them over to where we were sitting in the grass.

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William and I ! 😀 I couldn’t have a post without a picture of myself in it. Hahahaha so I stole this one from my German friend Simon. 😉 & I had no idea that we both had the same facial expression when he was taking the picture, Kind of funny.