My story tells you it is never too late to make a change. To learn a new language. To get out of your comfort zone.

In a not-so-distant past, I had a secure, permanent job as a translator and was renting a small apartment in the city in which I had lived all my life. I was 28 and felt quite settled in my live. And, most probably, it would have stay that way if it hadn’t been for one spontaneous event in my life. Namely, I decided to go on a sole-traveller trip to Norway and I realized that this is the place I want to be. It took some time, but finally, here I am, in the middle of my master program at UiS, in a totally new reality.

Before all this happened, I was bit uncertain if I would get admission to UiS, so just in case I decided to learn Norwegian in my home country. And guess what, not only did I do it on my own, but also passed the Norwegian exam after 8 months! I never believed that it was possible to learn a language in a year, but now I am convinced that anyone can achieve it. All it takes is persistence and determination. Step by step, you go forward.

One of the most significant changes I observed during my stay in Stavanger is how much broader my horizons have become. In fact, I heard that travel broadens horizons, but I never knew how narrow mine had been. It is not only about a cultural variety of people you encounter, but most of all about what motivated them to be here, who they are, and what their goals are. These stories are real food for thought. You won’t get to read them in any of the books.

This is my second Master degree, but the first one abroad. When I was completing my first bachelor and master education, it never crossed my mind to go on a exchange semester abroad. I hope that I can now make up for that time, and I am doing my best to make it. My week is full of various activities and events that allow me to make the most of my stay in Stavanger. The University of Stavanger offers numerous opportunities to socialize, learn and grow. I attend salsa and swing classes organized by UiSI. They are a great opportunity to meet lots of people and make some friends. I love to dance, and dance classes are the place where you can recharge your batteries and get energy on rainy days.

Another important side of my student life is dormitory. In a dorm, you’re never alone. How good it is to think that after a long and intense day, you always get to meet your kitchen-mates in the evening. It’s like having small family who is always there for you. And then again, this small kitchen community is a part of the entire dorm where nearly no one is anonymous. People like to socialize and are outgoing. It’s good to know who your neighbours are! I hope all of us will transfer this experience of good neighbour community into our future places of residence.

To learn, to study... it is not an obligation, it is a privilege. I feel so grateful for being here in Norway. Education is free, and the University provides you with all the necessary resources you need to develop your skills and knowledge. How fantastic it is that a library is accessible 24/7. But what I find most appealing and so different to what I was used in my country is the attitude of professors and university employees as well as the entire idea of how the university system should work. Namely, in Norway, it is the student who is in the focus, and lecturers are not distant and inaccessible. In fact, one might say that they work for students or, better said, they work with students in one team to achieve the educational goals. It is truly amazing that here in Norway student-lecturer relations are so relaxed and open, this really allows you to get better results.

Finally, I experience Norway as a place where you can live a balanced life. There is time for studying, socializing and contact with nature. Life is not so hectic. I am so grateful that I can study at the University of Stavanger, Norway. It is a turning point in my life. Everyday I try to live fully and in the company of other students. I feel that I am really living my life.

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