Photo: Sammen

10 tips on how to get to know Norwegians!

You are new to Bergen and want to meet some local students. Question is: Where and how?

You might have heard the stereotype that Norwegians are shy and reclusive—but that is not always the case! All you need is the right timing and the courage to say hi. The best way to befriend Norwegians is through friends and common activities. Here are some tips on where you can get to know Norwegian students in Bergen.

1. Attend classes!

If you are studying at a higher institution, then you have plenty of opportunities to befriend local students. Many classes, particularly on the masters’ level, are taught in English and are attended by both international and Norwegian students. Use this opportunity to sit next to a local student and say hi!

2. Fadderuken

At the beginning of the Fall semester, each higher education institution host their own version of orientation week called “Fadderuken.” In this week, all new students are put into groups, usually divided by their field of study, and together they engage in a week-long program consisting of many social activities. Fadderuken is a great way for you to be introduced to the Norwegian culture and local students.

3. Buddy programs

Several higher institutions offer buddy programs, where international students are put into groups with local students and partake in social activities together. This is a less intense program than Fadderuken, and might offer you more opportunities to get to know Norwegian students for a more extensive period of time. The local student organization ESN Bergen also offers a buddy program Buddy Bergen that is open for all students. Buddy programs are a great way to get to know fellow university students—both international and local.

4. UiB’s Tandem Language Program

If you wish to practice Norwegian while teaching your own native language, then UiB offers a language program where local and international students are paired up one-to-one. This is a great program to improve your own language skills while getting to know a local student.

5. Join a student organisation

Bergen has a buzzing student community, and among those are vast amounts of student organisations that welcome you with open arms. Many student organisations are open for international students or have activities held in English. Joining an organisation is a great way to get involved with the local student community while participating in something you enjoy.

6. Sports clubs & outdoor activities

Norwegians are generally known to be very active and involved in sports and outdoor activities, and Bergen offers many opportunities for you to partake in those. Some higher institutions might require that you are a student at their school to try out for the sports teams affiliated with their campus; this varies from institution to institution. Bergen Student Sport Alliances (BSI), an organisation that offers a large selection of sports, has tryouts open for students from all higher institutions. Another option is the student welfare organization Sammen, where you can buy gym membership at their sports centres throughout the city, book group workouts and take advantage of their diverse activities; including rock-climbing, swimming and diving. Besides this, many non-sport organisations organize hikes and sports activities throughout the semester open for all students to join. Keep your eyes open for those!

7. Volunteering

Want to befriend and give back at the same time? Volunteering allows you to learn about and involve yourself with the local community on a closer level. Many organisations offer volunteering opportunities without joining the organisation, such as the SocialErasmus project at ESN Bergen. You can also volunteer at events and at non-student organizations. UiB’s International Student Blog lists many of those volunteering opportunities.

8. Student centre, clubs & pubs

A sure-fire way to meet Norwegians is to attend the local student areas such as the Student Centre, Hulen, Det Akademiske Kvarter, and the student bars at the different faculties. At the student bars, there are often organised events that are a perfect environment for you to engage in a friendly chat with Norwegians. 

9. Quizzes

Quizzes are a popular social event among Norwegians. They are often organised at student bars and are often in both Norwegian and English. Det Akademiske Kvarter holds a quiz event every Tuesday and sets up teams and score lists that last throughout the semester. Norwegians are serious about their quizzes!

10. Events

If you want to meet local students in other events beside quizzes, there are endless events throughout the semester that are open for all students. On Facebook, there are many public student events group, including Student Bergen - eventsEvents in BergenUiB events, NHH - events and other events groups, related to your higher institution or student organisation.

These are the 10 tips to get to know Norwegian students in Bergen. We wish you good luck!