5 things I wish I'd known
I figured this blog is the perfect place to share such tips in the hope that they would be beneficial to those of you interested and hopefully accepted into NHH.
About Dominique Farag
2nd year, MSc in Energy, Natural Resources and the Environment
I take pride in the fact that my friends call me ‘globetrotter’; I’m originally from Egypt but Norway is already the 4th country that I call home. My goal in life is to visit as many places on this planet at least once and to be able to call quite a few of them home.
After finishing my undergrad at the University of Washington in Seattle and working in the consulting industry for three years, I decided to go back to school and pursue my master’s degree at NHH. I moved to Bergen in August 2014. I applied for NHH’s Double Degree programme and after finishing my first year at NHH, I have now started my Double Degree year with HEC in Paris. Please reach out to me in case you have any questions!
It’s been a little over a month since my big move from the States, and I already feel like I’m home. Granted I still barely speak the language, and I’m still dealing with getting all my papers ready and I still don’t have a Norwegian bank account, but everything seems to slowly fall into place and life is starting to have sort of a routine.
Over the first couple of weeks of settling in, I’ve been taking mental notes of things I wish I’ve known or done or packed before coming here. I will probably never be able to benefit from those little thoughts myself but I figured this blog is the perfect place to share such tips in the hope that they would be beneficial to those of you interested and hopefully accepted into NHH.
1. If you’re into the outdoorsy lifestyle, pack actual hiking shoes:
I love the outdoors, and part of why I picked Norway is to get to enjoy those gorgeous views and hikes and weekend trips. However, as you probably know it rains quite often around Bergen and this area of Norway, so if you still want to enjoy the outdoors and go on hikes like Trolltunga, pack actual hiking shoes and save your exercise shoes for the gym or for your runs on asphalt.
2. If you’re living in one of the SIB hostels, know what to expect:
As your contract will probably say, your room will have a bed, a desk, a closet, a couple of shelves and possibly a chair. This is honestly more than enough to get you through especially with Ikea being available for all the extra ‘homey’ things you need. SIB will also let you know that Internet is provided; however, they do not tell you that it’s only in the form of WLAN and that in order to be able to connect you need a WLAN cable. So a tip from me to you: Pack one or maybe two with you in order to avoid having to pay a ton of money for it here. You could also pack a wireless router if you feel like it or learn how to turn your laptop into one when you settle in.
3. If you’re not a Norwegian citizen, understand the visa process:
This is where most of us new students had issues in the first couple weeks here. If you’re from a non-EU country, you probably have to apply for a visa and residence permit before you come to Norway; if you’re from the EU, you don’t have to submit any application before you move here. However, in both scenarios you have to show up at the police station as soon as you arrive in Bergen. Another tip from me to you: Make sure to book an appointment online before you show up at the police station; maybe even consider doing that before you arrive in Bergen (appointments fill up really quickly around this time of year). You’ll thank me later when you don’t have to wait for two months before being able to open a Norwegian bank account.
4. If you’re planning on learning Norwegian, get a head start:
Ever since I made the decision to move to Bergen, I planned on taking Norwegian classes. Sadly, I never turned to Google for any help back home and instead waited till the semester starts to sign up for a Norwegian class. In hindsight I wish I could’ve done it differently. If you have a couple hours every week in the months leading up to your move here, reach out to me and I’ll be happy to give you the names of some website that are really helpful. It’ll make such a huge difference to know a few extra words.
5. If you’re considering a study abroad program, do your research:
NHH offers so many options for study abroad which is great; however, you need to decide early on whether this is something that would interest you. If you for example apply to and get accepted into the double degree program with HEC Paris, you will have to take all core courses in your first year at NHH and write your thesis paper in your second semester. The NHH website has a ton of info, so make sure to read through it and reach out to people in case you have questions.