Experiences of a Norwegian Exchange Student at WPI – Ingeborg Brede
I come from a little town in Norway named Snåsa. It has a population of about 2,000 people and is in the middle of the country in an area, which is not by the sea, but in the mountains. I grew up on a cow-farm, and my childhood was filled with a lot of hours helping out at the farm and also hunting. I was also on the soccer team and I enjoyed singing with choruses out-side of school.
We did not have any high schools in my home town, so when I was 16 years old I had to move away from home to attend high-school. After three years in high school, I moved to Trondheim to study Material Science and Engineering at NTNU.
Experiences in the U.S.
I have now been at WPI for one month and so far everything has been great. The first week was really busy, because I had to move in, meet my roommate and other students, and attend the orientation week program where I got to know the school. Living on campus has been new and exciting because we don’t have anything similar in Norway. Every school and social activity is centered inside of campus. There has not been a boring moment since I got here. It has also been easy to meet friends and other students to do project work.
Since then, classes started and the workload has increased. I have experienced that going to WPI is really intense and there is always something to do when it comes to homework, projects and tests. I have found the school system to be a lot more dynamic than in Norway. In Norway we have a different system where we have 15 weeks of classes and then the one exam at the end that counts for 100% of the grade. We have to keep up with the course material independently. Here, the main challenge for me has been to try to combine the social activities and schoolwork and to try to find a new rhythm that works in terms of that. The school system has been the biggest difference for me since I got here.
The international council has also welcomed me well, and in the weekends they arrange activities for the international students to attend. Last weekend, I went to Boston and we also had a trip to Six Flags. I also have made plans with other international students to visit New York City and Niagara Falls, so that I also get to do some travelling while I am here.
I am also pleased the way you have welcomed me. I have had the opportunity to meet the professors in the material’s department and I find it interesting to see what kind of problems you work with. I find the Wednesday seminars to be useful in the way that I get to know people in the department and those who can help me.
I have only had good experiences here so far with the people I have met, living in a dorm, the courses that I am taking, and the places I have visited.