Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, NHH welcomed a record-high number of exchange students this semester. K7 Bulletin have spoken to five exchange students about their decision to enroll at NHH and their expectations for the semester.
Last year was certainly different from previous years, and it seems as though we will not be going back to normal any time soon. Despite making changes, NHH still got to welcome between 200 and 300 exchange students to Bergen this semester. K7Bulletin talked to five of them about their decision to go on an exchange to Bergen this semester, and particularly their expectations and what they were looking forward to, given the special circumstances.
Georgiy Bilousov (22)
Francesca Olivetti (23)
Edoardo Colaneri (23)
Jonathan Fenton (23)
Kati Vinnikainen (25)
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However, while the infection rates in Bergen are lower than in many other cities, it is not the only reason the exchange students are looking forward to their semester here. Even though the classes are online, that does not make traveling less appreciated. The students underline that one can still have a lot of great experiences in the city, in spite of the regulations. Bilousov, Vinnikainen, Colaneri and Fenton are all CEMS students. Bilousov, explains that for “Cemsies” it is mandatory to take a semester abroad. Vinnikainen was originally set to travel to India, but it got cancelled due to the coronavirus situation, and she eventually ended up in Bergen instead. They both emphasize on how Bergen feels like a safer place to be amid the pandemic compared to many other places at the moment, while Fenton says he was “desperate for an in-person experience”. Generally, this seems to be a common feeling among the exchange students.
– Everyone I have met here seems to be grateful for being able to travel to another country and live here this spring, surrounded by the beautiful landscape, says Vinnkainen.
– Even if all public places were to be closed for a while, the mountains are near and always open, she adds.
The social aspects of it, as well as the nature and the new culture, is something several of them stress as important reasons for why they wanted to travel and try to enjoy their stay.
Fenton says his expectations for the semester is to “Meet new people, discover the country, have a successful academic semester, and make good friendships that will stay with me”. And Olivetti tells us that the experience is turning out to be better than expected.
According to the students, there are still lots of reasons to participate in the exchange programme, despite the fact that there is a pandemic raging.
– Even though the teaching might continue to be online, that is not so important, because I’m in one of the most beautiful and developed countries in the world, says Bilousov.
Colaneri also points out that the academic program seemed interesting and Olivetti highlights her wish to try a different teaching method that is different from the Italian one.
– Academically speaking, studying at NHH is a great addition to my international education, and the business projects we are doing with Norwegian companies are a truly valuable learning and networking opportunity, says Vinnikainen.
All in all, even though there is a pandemic raging, the exchange students mostly have a positive outlook on their semester abroad here at NHH. As Vinnikainen puts it; "I look forward to seeing what Bergen and Norway have to offer and keep my eyes open for adventures that await!"