Hello! My name is Nate Beattie, and I am a Junior at Mizzou studying Computer Science and Music. I am currently spending the semester studying at the University of Bergen in Bergen, Norway, and I also happen to be Alex’s brother. Much like Alex, I have a background in technology with software development experience and am passionate about sustainable development. This series will outline some of the highlights of my experiences while in Norway and beyond!

Nate in the snow

My travel to Norway, simply put, was a mess. My first flight out of St. Louis ended up being significantly delayed (in excess of 10 hours), resulting in a convoluted mess of trying to rebook my entire ticket, which after a less-than-healthy amount of stress, ended up resulting in my arrival in Bergen only 4 hours later than I originally planned. While this experience was clearly not ideal, it did teach me valuable lessons on how to handle the precarious travel situations brought about by the pandemic, and how to arrange travel in a way to try and mitigate these complications as much as possible. My first taste of Bergen was in a quarantine hotel, where I was fed local food, ranging from scallops, meatballs, potatoes, and salmon to surprisingly good nachos, and the only permitted activity of walking around the industrial area around the hotel. On the fifth day of my stay, I received a negative PCR test that allowed me to transfer to my student apartment complex. This is where my Norwegian experience truly began.

It is such an excitingly jarring feeling being dropped into another culture, especially when you are among a group of students all living a similar experience. Everyone you meet is excited to get to know you, and everywhere you go there is someone new to meet. From hiking to volleyball, there is consistently something to do at the apartment complex where I live. My favorite activity by far has been hiking in the beautiful mountains surrounding Bergen. There are seven mountains surrounding the city, and in only about a month, I have hiked to the peak of five of them. On these hikes, you are treated to breathtaking views of the city, as well as even more breathtaking views of nature. It is a profoundly humbling experience being alone in nature, subject to both the beautiful rays of sun descending as if they were from heaven as well as the forceful winds of a spontaneous snowstorm that threatens to knock you off your feet. In Norway, even more so than what I have become accustomed to in Missouri, the weather is chaotically eclectic, although most of the time it merely consists of varying forms of precipitation. As a Norwegian would say, there is no bad weather, only bad clothing. This was a perfect introduction to Norwegian culture. Even only a month in, I can tell how the experience has affected me, and how my worldview has expanded.

Cabin on the lakeshore A cabin along the shore of a lake near the mountain Landåsfjellet

In many ways, I have quite enjoyed my adjustment to Norway. While the official language is Norwegian, I have not yet met a person that has not been able to also speak fluent English (including the international students), the structure of my classes are largely the same, strangers are very polite (i.e a woman asking me to throw some bread to the ducks in the pond as I was walking by), and due to my partially Scandinavian background, I enjoy the wide range of fish, seafood, and especially rye and crispbread available in the local stores. The public transportation network is fantastic, allowing me to get pretty much anywhere in the city with some combination of train, bus, and walking. All told, my first few weeks of exchange have been absolutely fantastic, and I am excited for my upcoming adventures in the beautiful city of Bergen, and hopefully beyond!