The Classes Start!

Uh-oh, the best part of being a student.

When you register for classes, you’ll find that the system here is very different from that of Berkeley. It’s normal for students here to take 30 credits, which is normally 3 classes. That would make one a full-time student. As I can gather from conversations with Norwegian students, it’s possible to take even less.

My heaviest load. All of the classes start on different dates, so my last class starts in March! Pretty weird for me, but I’ll take it.


Lectures are normally two hours or more, including 15 minutes of late start and 15 minute breaks every 45 minutes, not bad huh? For example, my Gender Studies class starts at 12:15pm and lasts till 2pm, with a break from 1pm – 1:15pm (when my professor is in a good mood). Plus, all classes start at different times! Some of mine started in January, some in February, and my last class starts in March.


You’ll find format of big lectures similar to Cal. Smaller classes, however, feel more directed and supervised than those of Berkeley. I.e. there is too little discussion to my taste, thus, little opportunity to challenge and question assigned readings and other materials. It might be the way professors teach or natural Norwegian shyness; I will never know.

The empty hallway with tables and chairs in Psychology building. Free to use 🙂


One major thing that everybody notices when they study abroad in Norway–there is only 1 exam per course and little to no assignments (non if you’re lucky).  Completely different from Berkeley, where having something due every week is a normal thing. Therefore, overall pressure in the beginning of the semester might seem light and almost non-existent. Though students here promise stressful few days as well as sleepless nights before the exam. Exciting things to look forward to!


I’ve got to express my love to UiO’s truly wonderful study spaces! Study or Netflix, there are numerous places to sit down and do your thing. Almost all of the hallways have tables and chairs, and there are empty classroom-like spaces for you to use as well. Love it.

The big hallway in Eilert Sundt’s hus, the Social Sciences building. It has several big tables for people to occupy and eat, sleep, or study. Freedom of choice!
U1 student cafè-bar in the Soc Sci building’s basement. Did I tell you that every building has its own bar and cafè? It’s completely student run and has 5 kr (~70 cents) coffee. And all those empty tables! What more do you need.


Today’s poem is from Ibsen, of course.

Pallid star! Despatch a sign
From the heights eternal! —
For the soul’s eye twinkle, shine
Friendly, though supernal! — —

Must thy symbolled message seek
To rouse yearning merely?
Teach me so that I may tweak
Future’s veil, see clearly! —

From “To the Star” by Henrik Ibsen, trans. by John Northam

Read the whole poem here.



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