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It was incredible to complete such an outdoor oriented programme

The chance to go Tour skiing and hiking along with camping, kayaking, climbing and cycling in the mountains and surrounds of Norway was too good an offer to turn down.

Sam Brooks

from Australia

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Sam Brooks from Melbourne, Australia. I am 21 years old and completed a semester abroad at UiA in the spring semester of 2018. I loved my stay in Kristiansand and made so many friends that I now consider some of my closest mates even though we only spent 6 months together. I consider myself very interested in activities in the outdoors as well as sport in general. I have always been very interested in other countries, especially in which english is not the first language and then obviously travelling and getting to experience such varying cultures. 

Why did you choose Norway?

Originally, I wanted to study in Norway because it was an option for me that was much less popular than where the majority of students from my home university were interested in. I wanted to go and study somewhere different. Coming from Australia, Norway is very different! On top of this I found I could undertake the Friluftsliv programme which fit in perfectly with my course schedule back in Melbourne. The chance to go Tour skiing and hiking along with camping, kayaking, climbing and cycling in the mountains and surrounds of Norway was too good an offer to turn down and I don’t know anyone who has ever been to Kristiansand besides my mates that I met there! I think that is much cooler than studying in a very popular and large city.

How was your arrival?

My arrival was very smooth. I had come on the bus from Oslo (as I had been visiting relatives first) and was very unsure of what or how I was going to get to my building. Once I arrived at the bus/train station it was awesome. There was a stand with UiA clearly marked on it with a few buddies and Mette standing behind it answering any questions we asked. When I walked up they asked for my name and gave me my key and name of the building I would be staying in. As well as this it had been organised that some other buddies would drive us to our residences to make it easier with all our bags (as no one had bikes yet). 

What do you think about the quality of the university and its courses?

The university was mostly very modern with fairly new buildings. It is also located in a very nice area of Kristiansand as just behind the campus is Jegersberg which is a popular walking area and even skiing area when there is enough snow.  In regard to the quality of course I can say the Friluftsliv 1 and 2 units I completed were great. It was incredible to complete such an outdoor oriented programme, especially in Norway as this notion is ingrained in the culture.

What was your biggest challenge?

For me, my most challenging moments were when I was away with the Frilufstliv class on trips. We did quite a few tour ski trips through the mountains near Hovden and at times this was very physical but we all pulled through fine and better off for the experiences. 

What is your favorite place in Kristiansand and why?

My favourite place easily is Odderøya. In winter when it is covered in snow it is beautiful and gives a sense that you are a lot further from civilization than reality! In spring and summer it has a few crags to climb and we would go fishing here all the time in June as the sun stays up so late, so we could fish until 10.30 at night!

Did you plan any trips during your stay? Where did you go?

Being in the Friluftsliv course we had trips planned almost weekly and then obviously when we had spare time we went on our own trips too. Some of my favourite places we went to were: Hovden for alpine skiing, Tromsø to see the Northern Lights, a 12 hour hike to Trolltunga and then on to Bergen which is a lovely city (if it isn’t raining aha). A couple of us also went to Aalborg on the ferry for a day trip which was very enjoyable as well. 

What are your plans for the future?

I have 1 semester left of my bachelor degree here in Melbourne and my plan following that is to try and gain an internship or work in Europe.

Is there any advice you would like to give to potential exchange students? 

Always say yes. If opportunities open for you just go for it!