Foto: Boyka Todorova

International Student’s Diary

Dear Diary,

It´s been a while since my last writing. September came and is almost gone, bringing some beautiful days of a golden autumn and leaving Tromsø´s forests empty of leaves and ready for winter. But with autumn there also came a lot of adventures and experiences, feelings and thoughts. I have been exploring the area around Tromsøya lately. I’ve been hiking with my new friends, I camped in the Lyngen Alps with three almost-strangers, I drove along the coasts of the Vesterålen on my own with a rented car and I have experienced the famous but still not so well known hospitality of the Northern Norwegians in the beautiful city of Harstad. And last weekend I finally managed to abdicate all these tempting outdoor experiences in favour of my studies!

During these days of exciting offers to join someone on their trip or to just sit outside and enjoy the last warm days of autumn one can easily forget for what reason they came to this wonderful place. And if you suddenly remember that there was something called University, assignments, lectures – or, even worse – credit points in your life you will really have a hard time getting your focus back on your work.

I talked to a lot of people about their feelings related to studying, to their workflow and of course about their different weekend trips. Almost everyone seems to struggle with finding the right balance between enjoying their exchange year and keeping up with their curriculum. It feels relieving to hear that your fellow students are in the same situation as you are. But in the end you still have to work out on your own, how to manage this balance. And in my case the question during last week was: How the f**** should I manage to work up the big gap that my travelling left behind in my reading syllabus??? But here is the positive thing: I did manage it. What seemed to be impossible on Friday turned out to be possible during the weekend. Of course – I stayed at home. Almost no social contact for two and a half days, no partys, no hiking, no camping. But: 3 Chapters of cryptic explanation of Syntax (rocks!), a day without leaving my pyjama, some cups of tea with two fellow girls and the feeling of “I can do it”. I have to say: That was kind of an exciting weekend on its own measurement. So in the end I can still say that so far there was no weekend like the other – Tromsø still keeps up its adventurous atmosphere.

Btw: Did I mention that I saw northern lights for the first time in my life this month? And not only once and also to a breath taking extend? No, I didn’t. There is just too much going on here. Sometimes I feel like I should shout out loudly “Stop it Norway!” – I almost feel a little bit spoiled up here in the North. But I must admit: I kind of like it.

I could go on writing about all my exciting adventures and feelings for ages – but there is another chapter of this Syntax Book calling the new born model student inside of me. So I will stop here and collect some notes during the next weeks about what happens in October – I’m planning a trip to the northernmost part of the European mainland for the first week of the next month – so it does not seem to get boring soon at all. Stay tuned!

Greetings, Johanna Schirra