This week I flew to Oslo for a 2-day orientation meeting. The orientation was held at the US-Norway Fulbright Office, with a reception at the Norwegian Nobel Institute – home to the annual Nobel Peace Prize announcement and ceremony (see pictures above).
During this orientation, I met my fellow 2017-2018 US-grantees to Norway, as well as the primary US-Norway Fulbright director and officials who have provided, and will continue to provide, us (grantees) with all the information, logistics and support necessary for our temporary stay in Norway. We are a total of 29 grantees: 14 students, 14 scholars (including me) and the Arctic Chair; together, we cover a wide range of research interests, from climate and medical -related sciences, to education, social studies and music. Only three of us are – or will be – living in Tromsø. It is truly special and a great honor to be part of this group of talented and motivated people from all over US.
At orientation I learned the interesting history and origins of the Fulbright Program, obtained critical information on how to remain legal during my stay (and my family’s) in Norway, e.g., completing residence permit process; obtaining the equivalent to our social security number (personnummer); emergency numbers; suggestions on banks to open accounts at; some basic rules and suggestions of what to do and what not to do (beyond the common sense), and some tips of daily life in Norway, including store schedules, how to seek for the best available prices of groceries, equipment or general stuff (this is not a myth: Norway is expensive for real), some non-typical (at least in our western countries) traffic signs in Norway, etc.
What am I doing here in Norway anyway? Let’s get to that next.