Student Blogger Study Abroad

Introducing Norway student blogger: Ella Budzinski

A public plaza filled with people, anchored by a large silver sculpture, in Oslo, Norway.

Ella Budzinski is HECUA’s fall semester student blogger for The New Norway program! She is a Spanish and Communications Sciences & Disorders major and Scandinavian Studies minor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She’ll be posting on the HECUA blog regularly this fall semester. Read on for Ella’s first impressions of Oslo.

I’m now in my fourth week of school in Norway. It’s weird to even write that down. I feel so comfortable in Oslo, and yet it seems impossible that I have already been here for six weeks. Time is strange like that.

I’m here for a semester-long study abroad program with HECUA called The New Norway: Globalization, National Identity, and the Politics of Belonging, on the campus of the Universitetet i Oslo. I hope to devote more posts to talking more about what that all entails, but I thought for this first post I would simply take you through a day here in Oslo.


A day dreaded by many, for it brings the bitter end to the freedom and relaxation of The Weekend. It can be hard to pull yourself out from under your haven of warm blankets and pillows and hurl yourself into another week full of deadlines and schedules. While I can very much relate to this, I try as often as possible to find the silver lining. Life is just sweeter that way. While a Monday can seem daunting and exhausting, it also brings the possibility of a fresh week brimming with the potential of adventure and new experiences if you know where to look for them.

I woke up to the sun streaming through my window and a sky so brilliantly blue that you wanted to drink it. After eating a quick breakfast, I began the walk to the T-Bane (Oslo’s metro system). I would normally pack myself a lunch (eating out in Norway will quickly break your bank), but I was running a bit behind and so I stopped and picked up some bread and a fruit smoothie at the grocery store on the Universitet i Oslo Blindern campus.

On Monday mornings I have our HECUA reading seminar at 10:15 until lunch. After class, I went to the dining hall with some other HECUA students to get lunch.

After lunch we went back to class for another HECUA seminar where the topic of discussion was the Acculturation of the Sámi People in Norway. The class was very interesting, but due to the incredible weather outside and my excitement about the blueberry picking plans for later that evening, I was getting a bit fidgety.

With class over and some time to spare before blueberry picking, I got on the tram to go to one of my favorite areas in Olso, Grünerløkka, to do a bit of exploring. However, the weather was so amazing, I couldn’t stay on the tram that long so I got off in Frogner, another neighborhood I love, and went and met up with some friends working at a local juice shop.

Here’s a picture I snapped in Frogner on my way to grab a juice.

Later that evening I went to Sognsvann, a lake just a few kilometers from my student village, with a few HECUA program friends to pick wild blueberries. The woods around Sognsvann are nothing short of magical and we found berry patches deep in the woods that were bursting with blueberries. We could have picked all night, but settled for filling up our bags.

sun dappled pine forests in norway

A young woman in a bright red head kerchief holds a full quart bag of freshly picked blueberries.

We then took the fruits of our labor home and, after stopping to buy ice cream, made blueberry sundaes. It was definitely a Monday I’d love to repeat! The peace and solitude of places like Sognsvann offer a refreshing escape from the city and the stress of student life. It is one of my favorite things about living in Oslo! The city is so closely bonded with the nature that surrounds it.

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into a possible day a student may have here at the University of Oslo. I am loving the life here at 59° North, and I can’t wait to tell you more about it.

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