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!