I’ve finished my last month and a half in Norway and have now been back in Cobourg for almost a month! This year has flown by, and I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to come on exchange thanks to the Cobourg Rotary club. This year has been the best year of my life and I can’t believe it came to an end so soon.
Everything’s now come to a close now that my exchange is over- I had my last day of school, my last dinner where I saw all of my host families, my last rotary meeting, my last trip with all of my exchange friends. Now that I’m home it feels like the whole year was a dream. As much as I hated saying goodbye, it was nice to come back into my life in Canada and get back into routine. The last six weeks in Norway were so busy and so fun, so I didn’t really have much time to think about going home.
At the start of the month I went on a 10-day bus trip around Norway with all the other exchange students. It was such a fun trip and I’ll always remember those days to be some of the happiest days of my life. We started our trip in Oslo, the capital, and then travelled to the mountains and to Nesbyen, Bergen, Alesund, Kristiansund and Lillehammer. We also went swimming in a glacier, white water rafting and flying in a wind tunnel in Voss (like the water company), cycled rallarveien, saw incredible views, and of course, climbed some mountains. I’ll always remember and cherish the memories we made on trip- the whole trip everybody was so happy to be together, and even the bus ride ended up being fun- maybe even one of the best parts.
After our trip around Norway, I came back and finished up school. In Norway, in the year before the final year of high school, we only have to do one final exam. The exam taken in the second last year is pulled at random for each student, and I got picked to take the French exam. My exam went well, and it’s cool that now I can say I took an exam in Norway.
Of course I also went on some cabin trips this month- I spent every weekend I wasn’t travelling at the cabin. June wasn’t as warm as May, but it was still nice and I swam in the ocean anyways. One of the weekends I was with two of my exchange friends, and we put on wetsuits and went tubing in the ocean. That was a really memorable experience for me, especially since I got to do it with my best friends.
I also got to celebrate midsummer at the cabin in Norway. In Norway, midsummer is celebrated, but not as much as in Sweden where it’s a holiday. Norway still celebrates though, because midsummer is always around the longest day of the year- a day where the sun hardly goes down in Norway. My host family and I celebrated at the cabin with Norwegian barbecue, waffles, and swimming in the ocean even though it was only 15 degrees out. The sunset was pink and everybody was in such good spirits, and I will always remember this when I remember my host family.
After midsummer, I went with my best friend from Canada and her host family on a roadtrip to three different places around Norway, one of them being Trondheim- the second biggest city in Norway and the furthest north I’ve been on my exchange. We also went to this little town called Røros, a super old town where they used to mine copper.
At the very end of my exchange I had an 8-day trip to Madeira, a Portuguese island, with my District Youth Exchange Officer and an exchange student from Australia. While we were there, we saw fireworks choreographed to music, went snorkelling, rode a boat that was a copy of the one Christopher Columbus used on his adventures, and ate more ice cream than I’m willing to admit. It was a great trip and a great way to end my exchange!
My last day in Norway was just spent at home with my host families and my friends from both Norway and around the world. We had my favorite Norwegian dinner (rice, salmon, and mango salad) and just enjoyed each other’s company while I worked on packing.
Anyways, this is pretty much the end of my blog! I hope they provided a little insight into the life of an exchange student, life in Norway, and gave all of you a little inspiration to come and visit Norway yourself! Norway has won my heart this year, and exchange has truly been the best experience of my life.
I guess this is goodbye until the next adventure! xx