For some, the meeting with Norway will be a cultural shock. German Norwin Freshlot wondered how difficult it was to make friends.
– I had a big cultural shock. This was not expected. This is a very difficult time for me, he says.
Last year, there were more than 20,000 alternative students in Norway, according to statistics Directorate of Higher Education and Skills. For some of them, meeting with a new country is demanding.
A cultural trauma is described by Fanny Duckert, a professor of psychology, who encounters people, actions and practices that you do not understand.
Norwin Freshlot, 18, of Germany, was a transfer student at a high school in Alessund. In March last year, he shared a TikTok about part of his experience with over 1.4 million likes.
– Everyone knew each other throughout their lives, had their own gangs and social “bubbles”. I couldn’t get into the mob no matter how hard I tried. I felt different, he says.
– Norwegians may seem a little “cold”
In the video, an 18-year-old man sits alone in the school canteen and eats.
– I have friends who have been in exchanges in other countries and have had many friends there, but it’s not like that for me.
He also thinks it is difficult not to talk to strangers in Norway.
– Norwegians may seem a bit “cold”. I think no one mentions it in a bad way, but it seems to be part of a culture that takes time to make a friend, he says.
Recently, #Swedengate has become a trend on social media, with many claiming to have experienced the uninvited experience of dinner as children. Many from other countries have also responded.
That’s why social media is boiling over #Swedengate
In the #Swedengate trend, it is said that Swedes do not serve dinner to visiting children. This claim has gone viral.
You have to take the initiative yourself
Petar Vujacic had a different experience when he was a student in Norway. Before he moved, he read that the Norwegians were marginalized and kept their distance. He did not even think the opposite would happen.
– I was in the distance and I noticed that it was probably the most personal, he says.
After he takes the initiative, he believes that making Norwegian friends is easy.
Wujasic arrived here in January 2021. He is from Montenegro but has been living in Serbia for the past ten years.
I was shocked by the Norwegian dinner patterns
Mila Apostolova Leite, 21, from Brazil, received several cultural shocks when she arrived in Norway in August last year.
– When I talk on the phone on public transportation, I feel different. People stare at me and say I stand alone.
In other countries, public transportation is often noisy and congested, but she does not enjoy it here. At home in Brazil, he would talk to anyone about all sorts of different things.
In Norway, like the German Freshlot, she enjoyed the fact that Norwegians are private and do not want to share much.
– That was the first thing that shocked me the most, he says.
When she asked Light for dinner at a Norwegian house, she was told she would be there by five in the afternoon. This is unusual for a 21-year-old.
– I can not believe it! I come from a culture where dinner can be had at 19.00 or 22.00 in the evening, he says.
She was also amazed at how much the Norwegians cared about lunch. A packed lunch is not enough. In Brazil, lunch is always a meal with meat, potatoes and vegetables.
– I can not skip lunch, so I often eat at home. Then I can continue to be a part of my culture there. Besides being cheap, she laughs along.
One does not understand what is going on
Fanny Duckert, a professor of medicine and psychology at the University of Oslo, says she understands that what students say can cause cultural shock.
– You feel alienated from the new, you feel you did not handle it well, he says.
You can experience cultural shock anywhere. In fact, it may not take long for you to experience something different than you thought.
Culture is something that surrounds us and we often do not know it. Duckert explains it as food, eating habits, how to greet each other, personal distance and physical contact.
– You often catch your own culture only in encounters with other people’s cultures.
According to the professor, there are simple things that foreigners can get cultural shock in Norway. Many Norwegians are excluded, withdrawn or do not greet random people on the street, which is common in the culture of others. Transfer students are right.
The body is in “emergency readiness”
Duckert says the so-called “infatuation phase” at the beginning of the exchange stay is where everything can be seen as attractive, colorful, and vibrant.
Then comes everyday life, where you find alienation, the frustration of having communication problems and the fact that everything is different than you are used to.
Then the body can get some kind of “emergency readiness”.
– When things get bad for you, you become insecure, nervous and scared. You get angry and think this is too bad. Press the alarm buttons to trigger reactions of fear, where he says you want to escape and fight.
If you deal with cultural trauma, you can integrate well. If things go badly, he says, it will lead to distance and a departure from local culture.
He got more friends after he shared the video
After sharing the video on German Freshlot Dictoc, many got in touch. He made some friends.
Despite his difficult time in Norway, he plans to return to study as a German teacher.
– I did not finish Norway. Now I know what to expect, he says.
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