– I couldn’t sleep because of constant parties and loud noises, says Sarah Fengler. As a result, she paid 1400 NOK to find a different place to sleep for a few nights.

EXHAUSTED. Sarah Fengler has difficulties to stay awake during the day. PHOTO: Nora Elvestad

– It feels like a prison. Since I came to Bergen I’ve often only had around three hours of sleep per night, says exchange student Sarah Fengler about the situation at new student building, Fantoft TRE.

According to Fengler, the situation got so bad that at one point, she had to spend a few nights in a hostel to get enough sleep.

– My health was more important for me than the 1400 NOK I needed to spend on the hostel, Fengler says.

I often saw no other solution than to skip my class to rest at home.

Sarah Fengler, Fantoft resident

Nonstop parties

The German exchange student blames her lack of sleep on the constant noise coming from her flat’s communal kitchen. At Fantoft TRE, students live in shared rooms connected to big kitchens, used by 16 residents.

– There are parties in the kitchen several times a week. They are often too many people, some evenings over 30 persons, because people invite friends over. Even with earplugs the loud music and constant screaming and laughing makes it impossible to fall asleep.

Sammen prohibits loud noises and parties after 11 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and after midnight on Friday and Saturday. However, despite these rules, parties continue long after midnight throughout the entire week, Fengler says.

SCENE OF THE CRIME. Frequent parties take place in this communal kitchen. The black doors in the background are bedroom entrances. PHOTO: NORA ELVESTAD

Fengler is not the only Fantoft resident annoyed by this. Polish exchange students Alicja Dytkowicz and Marta Perlinska, who live around another 16-person kitchen, have also encountered constant noises.

– The shared rooms are directly connected to the common kitchen. The walls are not very thick and if there is a party with loud music, we hear everything. That makes it difficult to fall asleep.

Skipped classes to sleep

Fengler had high academic goals for her exchange. However, the lack of sleep and constant exhaustion made following her classes difficult.

– I even decided to withdraw from one home exam. My teacher agreed with me because she saw how tired and unable to concentrate I was, she says.

At times, she also left early because she felt like she couldn’t learn anything.

– I really enjoy studying at the university and love my courses but often I saw no other solution than to skip my class to rest at home.

EXCHANGE HOUSE. Most of the students living in Fantoft TRE are exchange students. PHOTO: TORIL SUNDE APELTHUN

Dytkowicz and Perlinska found it hard to go to class without enough sleep, too.

– We usually have class at 8 a.m. With not enough sleep it is very difficult to follow and concentrate during the lecture.

Sammen: – More noise-complaints this year

The landlords, Sammen, are well aware of the noise problems at Fantoft TRE.

«We have noticed that we have had more complaints from the two new blocks», wrote Bente Holmevik, sales and market director in Sammen, in an e-mail response.

Sammen apologises to the students that can’t sleep because of the partying.

«We are sorry that students living in the R- and S-buildings of Fantoft TRE are affected negatively by parties held in their common kitchens», she writes.

However, Sammen explain that they have already taken measures to manage the issue of constant parties and noises in the common kitchens.

«At Fantoft TRE we have issued several warnings and also conducted a kitchen meeting […] We constantly evaluate how to deal with these kinds of problems, without putting too many restrictions and regulations on our residents» Holmevik writes.