tirsdag 20. desember 2011

What it is like to live in Norway

Norway is rated as the best country to live in worldwide according to the human developement index. Thinking of Norway often brings up images of breathtaking scenery, Vikings and nice, rural areas. Another factor that attracts many people is the  quite stable job marked. Obviously we have everything, so when I complain about what seems to be bagatelles, my parents always tell me how lucky I am to live in Norway. But why is Norway rated as a perfect country to live in?

The stable and good economy is probably the main factor making Norway a nice place to stay and live. Most people have a job that covers up ones costs and still have money left to spend on other chosen things. On the other side, the economy makes Norway a quite expensive place to stay for vacations. When tourists arrive in Norway, the prices often take their breath away. Some years ago I read an article about a Czech family who had to cancel their vacation one week before planned, because they couldn't afford to stay here any longer.  

University of Oslo 
Another main reason may be the various education and job opportunities. We start at school at the age of six, and finish our obligated school days when we are 16, in 10th grade. Most students also chose to graduate high school, a period of three years. After this, Norway has several accredited universities as well as private institutions for higher education. Jobs are not hard to get if you have an educational background. Students with no work experience get jobs as well, as a matter of fact, almost half the center located nearby my home is employed by students.

Our lifestyle is becoming more and more international, which makes Norway a place to live for many cultures and religions. However, Norwegians have a reputation to be unsociable and not very forthcoming, which I think is a quite exaggerated assertion. Even though we do not talk to strangers like our friends, the most of us are polite and more than willing to answer questions from for example tourists. As mentioned, we are internationalizing, and to live a rural life is not considered a lifestyle of most Norwegians any longer. Instead, we are using our money on social life like going to bars and restaurants. Shopping is also a big part of our culture, especially in bigger cities like Oslo.

Our language has developed a lot through the years as well. Most of the population can speak and understand English, mainly because we are obligated to learn it at school, at least until the second year at high school. In second grade you have the opportunity to chose International English, which is one of my subjects and the reason why I made this blog. Through writing and oral discussions and presentations I get to know English better, which comes in handy when I am going to college and later get a job.

As you can see Norway seems to be a country of many opportunities. It is well organized for foreign students and unemployed to meet their ambitions and there are a lot of things worth seeing. For example the breathtaking fjords and mountains, like "Sognefjorden" and "Galdhøpiggen" and the beautiful, nice villages by the sea, like Kristiansand. All in all, Norway is a destination for both education and exploring.

"Project Lesotho"

Lesotho in South Africa 

In my English class we think it is very interesting to be in touch with other countries. We write to some other students in Singapore, comment on blogs from all over the world and participate in for example worldwide blog competitions. Although this is a great opportunity for us, the  most exiting part of our work is our newly established project, Project Lesotho. The purpose of the project is to collect money for Mamoeketsi Primary School  in Lesotho.

Lesotho is a small country surrounded by South Africa. Even though the country gained independency in 1966 it is dependent on their surrounding country. Most of the population is quite poor, which is why international organizations like PLAN, are established in the country. They are providing money for health care and education, mainly through supporters from western Europe and other wealthy countries. For example, I am each month sending money to a child and her family in Uganda. Through external help, the poor countries like Lesotho are gaining a better economy and the people in these countries are getting a more proper living standard.

Moliehi Sekese
As mentioned earlier, we have chosen to support Mamoeketsi Primary School. The reason why we chose this particular school in Lesotho, is because our teacher Ann has some contact with a teacher there named Moliehi Sekese . We have received letters from some of the students, thanking us for the money that was collected for them earlier this year. One class even wrote a poem in their letter. For the money that was given to them, they bought some computers, food and health care. So what we are collecting money for now, is provision of internet to the computers. Last week we were selling buns and coffee near our school and in Oslo.

I was very touched when we read the letters in class. We sat in a circle, reading them to each other and talked about it. Even though I often read about children in poor countries, it is quite remarkable when it gets personal. The fact that we know that the money made a difference makes me so happy. To see how the students are doing now, three students from the Intentional  English classes and a teacher have gotten the opportunity to go to Lesotho in the forthcoming Easter. Akershus Fylkeskommune has decided to provide 70 000 kr for us to travel. I really hope that I am going to be one of the three lucky students!

tirsdag 29. november 2011

My Edublog Nominations

Every year it is difficult to find the best blogs, but this year I have decided to nominate in the following categories:

Best Student Blog:
I have chosen to nominate Martine's blog because it has the most inviting layout, and the blog posts are interesting and well written.

Best Teacher Blog:

Best Group Blog:

mandag 14. november 2011

Blogs and Tweets

My blog 

This year I have learned a new way of sharing and submitting my homework. Instead of handing it in on paper or in a folder on the internet, I post them on this blog. Before, my impression of blogs was people sharing boring stuff about their perfect lives on the internet. But after having my own blog in full blossom, I realize that blogs are useful for so much more.

Every week I have to share one blog post as homework. I think that it is quite educational to write an article each week, both for my writing and to reflect on new topics. But what I think is most exciting about blogging is to watch the statistics. I found out that my blog has had 277 visitors from all over the world. Among them are Russia, United states, United Kingdom, Brazil, France, Finland, Canada, Germany, Norway and Ecuador. But although it is instructive and exciting, it would be nice to have some variation of homework tasks.

But blogging is not the only thing that I have been introduced to by my teacher. Today I activated an account on Twitter, a web site where you can share what's on your mind and follow interesting people. Twitter has never really been of my interest, but when I made a Twitter account today, I got very in to it. It was exciting to discover new ways of communicating, and to explore different functions on the website. At the end of the day I had gained 15 followers, and I am following 25 persons and sites myself, so far. To check out my Twitter profile you can click on the blue link on top of the page. 

News of the World - "Thank You & Goodbye"

Rupert Murdoch
The competition between the newspapers is tough and intense, and most of the journalists are willing to do whatever it takes to get the best news first. However, some years ago the tabloid named News of the World showed us a new way of gaining stories. News of the World (NoW) were accused for using phone-hacking to get the most juicy news, which appeared to be right.

News of the World started it's career as a broadsheet by John Brown Bell in 1843, and made it all the way to become a tabloid in 1984. They mainly wrote about celebrity scoops, and their affection for sex scandals was to give them the nicknames "News of the Screws" and "Screws of the World". But after 168 years in circulation, NoW's  director Rupert Murdoch had to cut an end to the tabloid. They were caught  hacking voicemail messages, only to get the best and most extraordinary news first. But even though NoW was the one to get caught this time, I don't think that they are the only news paper using this metode. 

You can wonder how anybody ever could unveil their immoral 
way of collecting gossip. For years there had been rumour 
of the illegal actions.  But in April 2011 the people who claimed 
they had been exposed for it as well as the world press forced Mr. Murdoch to admit it.

Milly Dowler  (13)
The provoking factor that revealed the scandal, was the case about the murdered teenager Milly Dowler.  When Milly disappeared in 2002, everyone thought she was murdered. However, her phone showed recent activity, so the investigators and her family lived in the hope that the missing teenager was still alive. But later on, investigators found that Milly Dowler wasn't the one using her telephone, it was the News of the World who was deleting the read voicemails, so that they had room for more. This case was the starting point of nine years of lawsuits and interviews against the newspaper. And on 17 August 2011 The News of the World's last edition signed off with headline "Thank You And Goodbye".

mandag 24. oktober 2011

"Gran Torino"

DVD Cover 
Today we watched Gran Torino in class, a 2008 American drama film directed by, produced by and starring Clint Eastwood. He has done an incredible job making and starring this movie. He shows us how it was like to be a Hmong immigrant in the United States in the 1980s. The Hmong are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, who fought against the communist Pathet Lao. When Lao took over the Laotian Government in 1975, thousands of Hmong fled westwards. We follow Clint Eastwood as Walt Kowalski when the Hmong people move in to his neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan. Walt's wife recently died, so he has a hard time letting people in, and it doesn't make it any easier that he lost his friends in the Korean war.

When his neighbor Thao, a young Hmong teenager under pressure from his gang member cousin, tries to steal his Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. He realizes that Thao is a really nice and polite young man, he just doesn't know what he wants to do with his life yet. So Walt decides to get to know him better and help him out, in his own special way of course. He has a peculiar way of communicating with other people. He uses racial slurs frequently, not always to be rude, but it often appears quite condescending. For example when Thao's friend introduces herself as Youa, Walt repeats: "ooh Yum Yum". Maybe he does this because he is insecure of his own language skills, as you earlier on could see when he fails trying to say the word "Hmong". 

He is not familiar with the Hmong rules. He pats a Hmong child on his head trying to be nice, but instead he resided the child’s soul according to Hmong beliefs.  And it's very rude to look someone in their eyes, which Walt did. I personally think that Walt wants to get to know the Lor family, especially Zue and Thao, but feels vulnerable because the love of his life died, and don't want to lose anyone close to him. I think that he really shows that Thao means a lot to him when Walt lets him drive his prized car.

Walt trying to help Thao get his first job 
Thao has got some problems with a Hmong gang, the same gang who pushed him to steal the car, the same gang who stumped a smoke on his chin and the same gang who shot with machine guns on Thao's house. Thao wants vengeance, but Walt is not sure if that's the right thing to do. A least that's what he tells Thao. On the evening they are going to raid the gangbanger's house, Walt locks Thao into his basement. He doesn't want Thao to join him, because he has his whole life in front of him, and doesn't want him to die. Walt goes to their house with nothing but his cigarettes and lighter. The whole neighborhood is watching as they argue. Suddenly Walt makes a quick move, just to get his lighter from the inner pocket. But the gangbangers thought he was about to pull out a gun, so they shoot him down. But i don't think that this came unexpected on Walt. I think that he put the Lor family before himself, and saw this as the only conflict resolution. 

Walt and the Hmong family in the background 
Walt Kowalski died that evening. He got them all locked up in jail. The last scene shows Thao driving down the road in his brand new car. Walt Kowalski's testament said: "I would like to leave my 1972 Grand Torino to my friend Thao".

mandag 17. oktober 2011

Social Medias

In February 2004 Mark Zuckerberg founded what was going to be the largest social network worldwide, Facebook. Every second someone clicks, likes a status, chats and shares pictures. The development of Facebook's function in daily life is amazing and fascinating. News spread faster here than on any other international news channel. With more than 800 million active users, where more than 350 million of them currently access Facebook through their mobile devices, there is no doubt that the website plays a huge role in the international society. For example when Apple founder Steve Jobs tragically died last week, updates like "rip Steve Jobs" was all over Facebook's news feed.

 To learn more about the social medias, Sandvika High School invited Cecilie Staude, a lecturer from BI. She taught us some wise things to have in mind when you expose yourself to the internet. Among them were: some updates are appropriate to share, but some things just aren't. A quite good example is negative updates about your job, which can be unfortunate for your work situation. Since the internet has become an "online cv", employers can read what you write.

In the fall of 2008 I signed in on Facebook for the first time. I can't really remember how I used Facebook back then, but now I use it every day. Mostly for chatting, but I do also check out pictures and updates. Arrangements , achievements, school work and happenings are announced on Facebook as well.  The development Facebook has had since it was founded is huge. Before, the website was made for chatting and sharing pictures. Now it is a platform used for advertising, communication, demonstrations and so much more. Some even say that if you don't have Facebook, you are lost. I think that this quote speaks for itself, how could it be that we have become so addicted to social medias?

mandag 10. oktober 2011


As the English language has spread to all over the world, it is only natural that there will be formed dialects and variants of English. The dialects and variants are a result of grammar and pronunciation mistakes. Dunglish is a good example of this, as it has been formed by a collision of Dutch and English.

Dunglish first occurred as "Coal English" early in the 20th century as the Dutch had to communicate with the English traders who came with supplies to Netherland. "Coal English" is today known as the poorest variety of English in the country. The Dutch have a tendency to translate words and sentences directly form Dutch to English, without taking word order and meaning of words to consideration. This can cause misunderstandings like the one the former Dutch ambassador and prime minister Dries van Agt did. He supposedly once said: “I can stand my little man”, when he actually meant to say “I can stand up for my self.” The reason for this error was that Dries van Agt directly translated the German proverb “Ik kan mijn mannetje staan”, a Dutch idiom meaning roughly “I can stand up for my self”.

The reason why the Dutch speak English today, is because they have to communicate on a international level. A very important reason as well, is that a lot of students study abroad nowadays, not only in Netherland, but in the entire world. And I think that you will have more opportunities in life if you know English well. 

How The World Changed 10 Years Ago

10 years ago, the entire world was in shock after what happened in Manhattan. It may sounds like a cliché, but it seemed to be just like another day, until it happened. On the 9th of September 2001 Manhattan turned into a war zone. Two planes were hi-jacked by Al Qaeda activists and crashed into the World Trade Center, also known as “the twin towers”, in New York. A total of 2986 died as a direct result of the terror attacks, included were 343 firefighters. I think that it is quite incredible that so many firefighters fought to get survivors to safety, knowing that their lives could be the price of it.

To get to see the firefighters’ view of it, we saw a movie about 9/11 in class. The French filmmaking brothers, Jules and Gedeon Naudet, came to New York in the fall of 2001 to make a movie about the rookie firefighter, Tony Benetatos, in New York City Fire Department. On the morning of September 11, the Naudet brothers experienced an unexpected twist on their filming. They got to capture the firefighters’ valiant effort to save those who were trapped in the Twin Towers.

I like the fact that I got a whole new outlook/perspective on the incident. First i only thought of the victims in the towers, but after seeing this movie, I think of all the volunteers and firefighters who gave up their lives to save others. Even though this led to a higher death rate among the ones who helped, it increased the number of survivors.

I think that it was a well-made movie, which captured the real moments. For me the worst part of the movie and the part that gave me the most impression was when people desperately started to jump out of the towers. To see them fall through the sky and smash into the ground, it was horrible. And the sound of them hitting the ground, I first thought it was parts of the buildings, but later realized that it were actually humans. I got the same feeling when I saw the first videotapes of the incident at Utøya, July 22. I can’t imagine what drives human beings to do such terrible, unforgivable and cruel acts. 

mandag 12. september 2011

"Redemption Day"

Erin Brockovich is a woman without too many opportunities. She has high ambitions, at the same time as she wants to take care of her children. She is constantly applying for jobs, but doesn't really has any resume. One day after applying for a job, she is being seriously injured after a car accident and hired Masry and Vititoe to represent her in the lawsuit. Later on she also got a job here as a file clerk, where she found some medical records that would explode into the largest direct action lawsuit in US history. She has a strong and great personality which pushes her forward in life. But because of her personality and the way she worked, she got fired. But she gets the job back because her boss thinks that the case she is working on is interesting and that he can make quite a number of money if they win the case.

She wants to be something in life, one that makes a difference, at the same time as she has some serious problems at home. But her neighbor helps her out, by taking care of her children at daytime. She starts to work on the case of Hinckley. The PE&G lets toxic hexavalent chromium into the groundwater, while they say that it is just chromium and that it is not unhealthy. This caused dangerous illnesses for many of the people in the town, and Erin tries to reveal the secret by talking to families who are affected.

In 1996, because of the largest direct action in lawsuit US history with Erin Brockovich and Ed Masry in the head of the investigation, the utility giant was forced to pay out the largest toxic tort injury settlement in US history: 333 million dollar in damages to more than 600 of Hinckley's households.
In my point of view the reason she managed the task was because she cared for the people that lived in the town. She could not stand watching all those individuals suffer, just because the utility giant wanted to earn some extras. She also had an incredibly heavily energized to trap the company.

The reason why "Redemption Day" by Cheryl Crow is used as the theme song, i think is because it describes what happened very well. Especially the first verse tells us what Erin felt about the whole case, and what she tried to do about it. 

tirsdag 23. august 2011

The Harder The Struggle, The More Glorious The Triumph

This year I have chosen International English as one of my subjects. Today was our first class, and we have got to know each other better by sitting in groups and discussing different topics. We started up by watching a movie about hope and expectations in life. We followed Nick Vujicic's life, a man without both arms and legs. He told us about his childhood, where he struggled a lot, and how everything changed when he discovered all the opportunities he actually had. Maybe he found out that he is not the only one with special needs, and that life isn't hopeless because of this. And even though it might be harder for him to achieve things, he never give up; the harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph. This sentence should cross everyone's mind once in a while.

Just like him, I have expectations for life too. At the moment, I am focusing at school and trying to get great grades. I have lots of expectations for the English class, and other classes. I really hope that I get to learn a lot of new things, and that the classes will be interesting and engaging to be in. I am very motivated to learn this year, because i want to improve my grades, especially in English. 

Everyone has different expectations and goals they want to reach, you just got to work hard enough to achieve it.