The Global Lounge in Vrimlehallen is a meeting place for formal and informal meetings between international and Norwegian students and staff. It is located next to the main entrance and was officially opened in January 2018.
Text and photo: Ingrid Dihle
One of the University of Agder’s main strategic efforts is to have a global mindset. The Global Lounge supports the Global Mindset strategic goal by removing obstacles to international academic success and encouraging contact with fellow students and staff. In doing so, it strives to contribute to an inclusive climate where all are welcome.
The Global Lounge informs students about all the different possibilities in regards to gaining international experience, and hosts country meetings weekly where representatives from different countries and universities present what it is like to study at their original university.
Christina Konz and María Boyero Merino are currently working full-time at the Global Lounge as interns. Konz will stay for one semester, while Boyero Merino is staying the entire year.
Konz is originally from Germany and is studying for a bachelor in Spanish and Business Administration at the University of Mannheim. Boyero Merino is from Cáceres in Spain and studies for a bachelor in English at the University of Extremadura.
"Most of the time, we help international students with any questions they might have. We also talk to Norwegian students who want to go on exchange," Konz says.
The Global Lounge is closely connected to the international education office and ESN (Erasmus Student Network), and works together to facilitate increased international activities at the university.
The interns at the Global Lounge can assist international students, employees and guests regarding accommodation, transport or guided tours on campus. Newcomers with international background can receive help to establish local networks and get information about life both on and off campus. They offer several activities such as tea parties, country meetings, Bare Norsk kafé and other events focusing on various topics related to internationalisation.
"We have free cookies and board games available for people who want to just sit here, relax and have a good time," Boyero Merino says.
While creating an arena for people to come and ask questions, the Global Lounge creates a space that enables intercultural acquaintances and friendships between Norwegian and international students. Boyero Merino and Konz wish more students and staff would use the Global Lounge as a space to get to know each other across different nationalities.
"Exchange and international experience is a great opportunity, people can come to the Global Lounge and see all the possibilities we offer at the university. Going on exchange might be a scary thought, but I have never met anyone who has regretted it," Boyero Merino says.
To read more about what the Global Lounge has to offer, you may visit their Facebook page.