Maybe you came today to the ‘International Afternoon’ held in the new University Museum Assembly Hall, if so, please share your experience or your favorite moments by commenting below! The International Afternoon was a welcoming event held by UiB for international students and employees. It was an opportunity to get a taste of some Norwegian music, cultural information, and some insight into Bergen’s rainy weather – as well as a chance to mingle with some fellow international imports (and a charming Norwegian or two). If you didn’t make it, here’s a sample of what you missed:
The beautiful new University Museum Assembly Hall. Photo: Stand Hiestand
International Affairs Vice Rector Anne Christine Johannessen welcomed us all
and she facilitated the flow of the event which began with a performance by student musicians from the Grieg Academy.
City of Rain
Ellen Viste, a post doctoral fellow in the Geophysical Institute, gave us a breakdown of how rain gets created and how Bergen, “the City of Rain”, really stacks up globally (the upshot: it could be a lot rainier, believe it or not). If you were here for all of 2015 so far, though, you have a right to complain, as it was stacking up to be one of Bergen’s worst years until the recent “heat wave” put a potential crimp in this year being record-breakingly bad, not sure if I should be disappointed or relieved…
This year could be really bad… or 1989 could have been worse. Photo: Stand Hiestand
Norwegian Welfare State
Dr. Tord Skogedal Lindén, a senior researcher at Uni Research Rokkan Centre, offered insight on the characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks of the Norwegian welfare state. In this informative discussion, he highlighted the emphasis on Norwegian paternal as well as maternal leave, which I find a fascinating and inspired idea, and which another presenter, Julien Bourrelle, touts as encouraging equality between the sexes in a unique fashion that should be exported.
Discussing the Norwegian Welfare State. Photo: Stand Hiestand
Norwegian Code Cracker
In the final informational presentation, Cracking the Norwegian code, Julien S. Bourrelle, Founder of Mondå, offered a lightning fast exploration of navigating Norwegian social culture.
An example of the Norwegian personal-space-comfort-zone. Image: http://monda.no/ifln/the-norwegian-personal-bubble/
Julien has given longer-form talks at UiB in the past, and hopefully you can catch his engaging presentation if he comes back in the future – or check out his book, The Social Guidebook to Norway. A couple of highlights from his ‘code cracking’:
- Norwegians don’t tend to give much direct feedback, either positive or negative in the workplace or in academia, except perhaps at the Julebordet (christmas table), after a drink or two.
- Norwegians are unlikely to engage with a stranger out in public, except for in the mountains. Which makes hiking a lot important, but really most important is the final take away:
- Get involved! Norwegians often make friends in organized group activities such as sports teams, volunteering, student organizations, etc. Norwegians tend to socialize in these ‘practical activity bubbles’, and they don’t often mix these friend groups except for birthday parties and weddings.
Photo: Stand Hiestand
And of course, the highlights wouldn’t be complete without the juicy subject of “dating”:
A musical close
Silja Sol shares her talents up close and personal. Photo: Stand Hiestand
Folk punk musician Silja Sol finished off the evening with her hauntingly beautiful tunes. Look her up on sound cloud or check out her music video below if you don’t already know her work. If you missed it, I’m sorry! You’ll have to come next time!