Last week, all the Norway Fulbright grantees got to fly to Oslo for orientation at the U.S Embassy, where, yes, there is a Starbucks coffee machine. Our orientation included a lot of logistical details like learning which grocery stores are cheapest (Rema 1000 always wins) and how to open a bank account (not as easy as it sounds)! We also got to taste a traditional Norwegian smorgasbord of food…definitely a highlight!
It was so great to meet the other Fulbrighters and get a chance to know them over the weekend. There is a mix of scholars from all over the U.S. including Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Arizona, and Idaho. Out of the entire group, Nels and I were the only two that came from the same college – UM YA YA! So good to see a familiar face. We are mostly all split up between the four major cities in Norway: Tromsø, Trondheim, Bergen, and Oslo.
Fulbright held a reception at the Nobel Institute where we all introduced ourselves and explained our projects. It was an amazing experience to stand and speak at the podium where Nobel prizes are awarded! My advisor flew down from Tromsø and my lovely cousin Nina also came for the event (photo creds to her)
The Fulbright projects are all fascinating with topics ranging from clarinet studies to the Norwegian jury system to planetary astronomy. Three lucky Fulbrighters are called “rovers” because they travel all around Norway leading workshops in the high schools. There is also one Fulbrighter “Arctic Chair” who is studying sea ice at the Norwegian Polar Institute. One of my favorites is a project focusing on wild monkeys, since Norway is heavily involved in the education of African wildlife professionals. It was so great to get the chance to know this talented and friendly group of people!
After orientation, I stayed in Oslo for the weekend to visit my relatives. I might be biased, but my second cousins Ludvik (age 3) and Olav (age 1) are about as cute as it gets. On Saturday we took Ludvik to a children’s festival in Sandvika, which is a small city west of Oslo. We listened to the Sandvika marching band and Ludvik got to sit in a REAL Police boat. It was also Sandvika city festival’s “10th birthday” so there was a giant (and free!) chocolate birthday cake. We closed the weekend out playing “pirates” at the local park and spending lots of time with family.
Now I am safely back in Tromsø and just enjoyed a fun week in the lab. I’m still getting trained in, but I will update more on my project in future posts. Next weekend I’ll be going on a hiking trip to Skarvassbu with the Tromsø “fjellgruppe” (mountaineering club), so plan on another post in a couple weeks 🙂