Program: Bachelor Arts/Bachelor Social Science
Majors: Political Science, Environmental Studies and Development

Hannah Elvery on exchangeAn impulse decision to apply for an exchange to Norway only one day before the applications were due has taught me much.  I relish reflecting on lessons learnt about the world, myself and the need to be able to change your expectations according to the reality you face.  I loved the challenge of living in a new environment, with no familiar places or faces to crawl back to, and perhaps one of the reasons it was so amazing was because so much of it was unexpected.

In the rainy landscape of Bergen, I experienced the sheer beauty of a small city surrounded by mountains, where the change in seasons allowed for skiing in the winter, and hiking and rock-climbing in the summer (provided the rain holds off for long enough).  Having being a study-aholic all my student life, I didn't expect to find myself letting go in the last six months of my degree... but the temptation to hike and explore such a magnificent new world was just too much ... and having a group of such amazing friends to explore it with just added to the experience.

The many people I've met on exchange have opened my eyes and taught me more about the world in six months than any formal education could have.  Although it was interesting to learn in a different country's education system, I only studied at the University of Bergen for 13 weeks, while I'll continue to learn from my new friends for years, hopefully decades to come.

It was difficult to get through the application process for the University of Bergen, and I had a lot of trouble finding courses I could get approval for (which then changed when I arrived in Bergen anyway). However, I'm glad I persevered and the wonderful lecturers and welcoming, encouraging attitude of the university more than made up for the bureaucratic difficulties. 

Do everything you can to go on exchange, and once there don't be afraid to let go... it’s the best way to learn.


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