trust and three places to find it
a student in the University of Southeast Norway. I’ll tell you about three
place’s I meet local students. In all of these places, you can see how
Norwegian culture really relies on trust.
I’m going to tell you about my home. I can’t really say I “discovered” this
place in town, but it would be weird not to talk about the place I spend the
most time with local students.
student housing consists of two buildings that are connected to each other by a
tunnel. There are 150 housing units with own kitchen or shared kitchen.
Everything in here is state of the art, like the stove for example. It's
induction and it will tell you when the pan has been alone for too long and you
need to pay attention to your cooking.
one of the few exchange students who have their own kitchen. Most of us lives
so that they share a kitchen with either 7 or 14 other students. Having your
own kitchen is a blessing; you can have your morning coffee without having to
say hi to absolutely no one, but it can get lonely as well.
I first came in Hønefoss the first friends I made lived in the other building,
In Terra 2nd floor. That became to be the place I now call my living
room. There most of the 14 people there are exchange students, but there are
also four Norwegian students.
kitchen the people share is very well functioning, there are two stoves, ovens,
and sinks, and then everyone has their own fridge and cabinets. There are no
locks. Meaning that anyone in the floor could raid your fridge. This is typical
Norwegian, trusting each other. A friend of mine who studies in the University
of Aberdeen in Scotland told me that they have locks on everything.
the beginning of October, it started to be a bit too cold for running out side,
so I joined the local gym, HQ Trening. HQ is circa 500 meters away from home,
and the best part is that it’s open 24/7.
of the students here, even the exchange students, go to a gym, and most of us
go to HQ since it’s so close. When joining the gym, everyone gets a blue card,
it’s used for opening doors, locking closets, and saving data on treadmill.
with my foreign friends we made an observation, that the Norwegian society is
highly based on trust to one another. The staff of the gym goes home at 8
o’clock latest and comes back 8 o’clock next morning. During those twelve hours
anyone with an HQ card can walk in and out as they like. This wouldn’t be
possible if they didn't trust their clients. And people in the gym trust each
other us well, that it really is safe to train at 2 o’clock in the morning.
isn’t completely new to me, since my gym back in Finland has something similar,
but the gym is 24/7 open to only those who pay the biggest amount of money. In
HQ, the gym is 24/7 open to everyone.
Hønefoss nightlife can be described a bit one sided, we have a few good bars,
and exactly three clubs to go dancing. The best one is by far Juvelen, that
luckily is also the closest one when coming from the student housing. In
Juvelen they play music to which you can dance (you really can’t say the same
of the two other clubs), nice waiters, and they even have a rooftop balcony!
Sure, it’s in the second floor but still counts.
we first started to go clubbing, I paid the cloak room fee, 30 crowns. For me,
it was pretty cheap, since in Finland you’d easily spend 6€ for getting in and
then 3€ for cloak room. In Juvelen you only paid the cloak room fee, if you
felt like it. Paying the cloak room fee is something inevitable for me, like of
course I pay it, I still want to have a jacket when going back home.
think it was some of my friends who started it because the Norwegian students
were doing it, leaving their jackets on chairs at the club. Just lying there,
next to someone you’ve never met. I was astonished by it. How bold! I was
suspicious, but I also wanted to save 30 crowns, so when I first time didn't
pay the cloak room fee, I carried my jacket on top of my bag. You can’t leave
your belongings unattended in a crowded club! Except, in Norway you can.
first time I gathered my courage to leave my jacket on a chair, I found the
farthest corner of the club and put my jacket under everyone else’s jackets. At
the end of the night you would just go there and find your jacket and off you
next level of this was leaving your purse there as well. Unbelievable! But then
came the day I walked in to Juvelen, put my purse on the chair and on it my
jacket. In my purse I had my credit card, ID and keys, and I left it there,
next to some random guy. And nothing was ever stolen. I never even heard
someone drunkenly taking someone else’s jacket.
Norwegian society, is based on trust. It is following the golden rule: Do unto
others as you would have them do unto you. I don’t know how it came to
be like that, and why is it that it works so good, but it is beautiful.