Hi everyone, I’m Jonas from Lithuania, and I’m on the first days of my exchange year in Norway. Before we head-rushed into the jungle of the Norwegian life awaiting us, we were given some survival instructions and preparation, so we have some light in the dark and come out alive. Simply said, it was probably the best camp I’ve participated in.
What I freaking love about Norwegians (including the ones who organised and carried out the camp) is the fusion of reserve, honesty and open-mindedness in them, which means they don’t talk for the matter of talking, they ask you because they really care about what you’ll tell them. The Norwegian set of character qualities means that they are always there to help you, and if they look like they care about you, it is because they actually do, which leaves no other choice but to love them.
However enthusiastic and helpful the staff, smart the participants and organised the camp, it all wouldn’t matter if the content of the group sessions was empty. And believe me, it was as far from that as it can be. We were divided into groups led by volunteers. Very quickly I started believing that YFU Norge had collected a team of the most professional volunteers from Norway, Germany, Sweden and Denmark, set a competition to find out the best ones and called it YFUka (which roughly translates to ‘YFU week’). It might seem that I’m exaggerating a bit, but I was honestly very impressed by their job. First thing I noticed was that they always surely know without thinking of what to do after what, how to carry out different scenarios of changes in the group climate, which clearly shows how much effort was put in preparation and how experienced they are. Not to mention all the humour, ALL THE FREAKING ENERGIZERS, the Danish head-massaging thing and the insanely friendly and intellectual atmosphere it was all wrapped up in.
Though I just enjoy my first days here and I cannot say I know Norway or the country’s people, one thing I know is that I love it here and I bet my fortune that it’s exactly what I’ll tell you after the coming nine months or so.
Damn, when I just said ‘nine months’, this ingenious wild idea came into my mind: During the exchange year we really develop to become a new citizen of the host country. Step by step, bit after bit a ‘host country side’ of your personality grows and after the nine months a new person of the host country comes into life. Bam!
Okay, enough of philosophy for tonight! Damn, the Norwegian coffee brings energy as well as inspiration to your mind.
Fellow exchange students, good luck to every one of you, you will need it, as one smart Norwegian has once said (open your survival handbook to find out who it was!).
Really, I wish you the best.
-Jonas fra Litauen (2015/16)