Name: Maren Raß
Home country: Germany
Programme: MSc in Leadership and Organizational Psych
I left it a bit open at the time and applied for both studio apartments and shared apartments. When I got the information that it was a student dormitory with 3-7 people. I was of course very excited about how many and which students I would be living with.Once I arrived, I found out we are 7 sharing a kitchen. Even more exciting we are 14 using the same entrance and connected by a hallway. Of the 14 of us, 12 are actually from Norway. - What a great opportunity to get to know the country and culture even better. To be honest - sharing a kitchen with 6 other people can be a challenge, no matter where you're from. But with good communication, it can be managed and probably deserves its own blog post.
However, the question was how to approach the whole thing now. Because in all the sessions during the orientation week. I kept hearing phrases like "Norwegians are not that open" and "they don't talk that much on their own".
If you find yourself in a similar situation, I have a few tips for you.
But so that you know from whom the tips come at all, very briefly to me. My name is Maren, I'm 26 years old, I'm from Germany. I worked for a couple of years after my Bachelor's degree in Business Economics. My desire to do a Master in Leadership and Organisational Psychology brought me to Norway. Since we are talking about living here, here is a short estimation. I lived for 5 years in shared flats in different German cities and during my semester abroad in Rome. After that, I lived alone for another 2 years.
Maybe you find yourself in the same situation once you arrive in Norway, then I have 5 tips for you.
Now for my first tip: talk to everyone you meet! Over and over again. Ask what they are studying, where they are from in Norway, if they have any tips for you, etc. And don't expect everyone to ask back the same amount right from the start, that will come gradually.
Second, suggest doing a taco Friday night! I have yet to meet a person from Norway in my time here who doesn't love Taco Friday. It's a great opportunity to do something together. Everything needs to be cut and prepared and just talk on the side.
Third, after Taco Friday went well, do something outside together. - Go to the park when the weather is good, for example. Memories like that will bond you.
Fourth, plan a party together, invite some friends and start preparing everything in the kitchen a bit earlier. From my experience, most Norwegians love to play drinking games (with or without alcohol). As they say, it helps to break the ice and yes, I can confirm that! Therefore, don't shy away from it, join in and laugh and the atmosphere will be much more relaxed and cheerful
My fifth tip is more of a small additional tip. If you should learn Norwegian, which is not a must. Tell your roommates about it and if you feel like it, practice with them. Even if everyone speaks English, they will be happy if you can say the first little things in Norwegian.
And very important in all this: have fun!