“Ujjwal from Nepal. You?”
That’s the sentences I have repeated most in last five days. At the Blindern Dormitory, near the University of Oslo, where I am currently housed for six weeks along with a few hundreds others, similar sentences are still buzzing.
Officially there are nearly 600 students from 91 countries studying various courses at the International Summer School 2010, and it’s obvious that all are trying to get introduced to as much as friends as possible – for friendship and for information about their countries.
For me, many faces have already become known – and many others remain un-introduced. I believe that within six weeks of our courses, I will at least exchange a couple of warm sentences with everyone else!
* * *
The ISS seems a great program. The ISS brought in so many diversified people from around the world to make it really a global forum – a forum where all smiling faces probably reflect the happiness we could have enjoyed hadn’t there been any conflicts among the nations. (I asked if a Indian friend of mine can warmly meet a Pakistani friend, share the lunch table and talk warmly, why the nations fight?)
The ISS is also great because all the courses we all are doing are credited course – so it’s not just fun but also some serious studying.
And, personally, I liked it most because it took me back to a few years – the life of students. Although there are contrasting differences between my college life and here, I am actually enjoying the routine life (of going to classes, reading books and trying hard to understand whatsoever –ism the lecturers talk about) without the job pressure (so can walk around freely, visit library, computer lab, sit by the fountains, play football and just gossip with friends).
This is fantastic (at least for a mid-career professional like me!)
* * *
Oslo is beautiful.
The jewelry of Oslo is greenery! Everywhere there is green and I am told that within 20 minutes from anywhere in the city, we can reach woods. I believe because I can chose to take a little longer route to my class from that needs some walking in the woods.
I have been to Vigeland Park (the naked park or the park of angry child statue) and the Opera House overlooking a harbor. I had not taken many photos in those places because I know that I will be returning to those places many more time in coming weeks – they are just beautiful.
Oslo is a relaxation city. No matter what amount of work I do or how many kilometers I walk, I feel relaxed because I could see people in the parks, grounds and almost everywhere relaxing – by lying around or picnicking and that’s a striking difference from many other developed countries where everybody seems to be in hurry.
And, probably because it’s summer time here, it’s always bright outside from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (I have not been awake the other hours).
[I am in Oslo, Norway for six weeks studying Media Studies at the University of Oslo’s International Summer School and I will be writing quite a few blogs from here.]