We at Studvest, the student newspaper in Bergen, wish you the warmest of welcomes to Bergen!
You are probably starting to grow tired of advice on how to make the most of your stay in Bergen. But stay with us, as we think that our advice might just differ from what you have heard from principals, professors and coordinators this far.
We strongly encourage you to not take your studies too seriously during the semester or year that you are here. There are more important things in life than grades. Especially when you are on exchange.
We are not saying that you should ditch every class or actively try to flunk your exams – you are here on an academical exchange, after all. So by all means, put some effort into it, participate in the discussions when you are in class, do what is necessary to pass your exams. And if a class is super interesting, of course you should indulge yourself in that subject.
But chances are that this is the one semester of your life at university with the most freedom. As an exchange student you have few obligations and few people binding you to one place. Your primary concern should be to make sure you have the best time in Bergen you possibly can.
Remember this every time you are unsure whether you should go on a trip, take a long lunch one of those few days when the sun is actually shining or join a student organization that has nothing to do with the subject you study. Whether you get the good grade B or the slightly worse grade D won’t be what you remember in ten years from now. The magnificent sunset you admired with your friends from Stoltzekleiven mountain, however, might just be.
If you fear that the not so perfect grades or making less academical headway this semester might lead to you not getting the job you want in the future, we wouldn’t worry too much. Many employers are more impressed by the fact that you have been on exchange than they are by a marginally different grade point average. And once you get a job, the things you learn on exchange – social skills, understanding different cultures, adapting to new surroundings – are more important than whether you remember that one thing from that one class. Google can tell you that in a flash anyway.
Those of us in Studvest who have been on exchange all agree that we learnt more during those semesters than any other at uni. But that learning took place outside the library, not in it. Chances are the same will be the case for you.