Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Sixth Form Party

During the last couple of weeks we have been urged by both teachers and fellow students to attend the “All around the world” sixth form party Tuesday 2. of October. Our expectations were sky-high, seeing as we have the same type of party’s home in Oslo, called “revyfest/revvyflæ”. Everyone attends, we have a theme, and we also rent a night club – but, it turned out there are still a few differences.

Some of the Norwegian girls had forgotten to buy tickets, and had to show up early on the night of the party to get a hold of some. Unfortunately for the girls, the club didn`t open at 7 after all, nor at 8, so after having camped outside for two hours with more and more people coming, the security guards finally came and began throwing people around. That was when the fun started.

People were in a good mood and very eager to get in, especially the boys, and we were pushed, pulled and stumbled upon until we finally were in the front of the line. We were then told by some highly unpleasant security guards to get in the back of the line again, and let the people with tickets in first. Our good mood was suddenly not as good anymore.

Although we were all a bit tired by then, we have to admit, we were pretty impressed by some of the costumes, like on guy dressed completely in black stockings. Like literally. From head to toe. We also saw people dressed as Norwegians (Scandinavians, but honestly, why dress up as a Danish person when you can be a Norwegian??), Mexicans and a huge number of people dressed as Englishmen, which was kind of a bummer. A number of English girls also seemed to have forgotten their trousers at home this particular evening, which left us a bit puzzled.

After a couple of hours of queuing, we were (well, some of us) finally let in, and were met by a crowd of dancing sixth forms looking like they had the time of their lives. It was pretty cool, with loud music (admittedly from the early nineties). Just the rush of joy from finally getting in was enough to make our night. After a couple of hours we were feeling like we’d had enough of dancing and the huge crowd of people, so we went home for the evening with tired feet, and ready for the English test the following day.

Thank you for a fun and interesting night with new friends from the hours of queuing, and ravers on the dance floor.

To our Norwegians at home: Vi savner OHG-familien og våre enestående revyfester. 

Agnes and Dina:
Camilla, Anne and Ingeborg


On a Thursday in September, our entire class met an early morning on Bath Bus Station, ready to go to Oxford for the very first time. At least, most of us had never been there before. It was a long ride by coach, but traveling with a group of friends is always fun. Some had huge expectations, and some had no expectations at all. However, this ended up being a trip that we will remember.

When we first arrived outside one of Oxford’s many colleges, two guides were already there to meet us. We were delegated into two groups to make the sightseeing easier. Firstly, the guides showed us one of Oxford’s colleges and told us a lot about life as a student in the city now compared to previous times. What was even more interesting was when the guides took us to see some of the locations where different scenes from the “Harry Potter” films were shot. Among these were the ballroom that was used as Hogwarts’ infirmary and room where Professor McGonagall teaches Ron Weasley to dance, the field where Hogwarts’ students practice their “Quidditch” and the dining room that was the inspiration to ‘’The Great Hall’’ where Hogwarts’ students eat and have their assemblies. Some of the girls were really excited by seeing these famous locations. Certainly, a lot of pictures were taken, including a group picture of the entire class. Unfortunately, Fredrik was missing because he was ill this day. For this reason, we photo shopped him into the photo afterwards.

After the sightseeing, which we all really enjoyed, we were given some free time to experience Oxford as a city on our own. Some spent it eating while other went shopping. A few of the students even went to a museum. That is to say we all had the opportunity to be a tourist in the exact way we wanted, which we really appreciated. On our way home we were tired but satisfied. Most of the students seemed to have enjoyed Oxford as a city, and some even decided that they wanted to apply for Oxford University after graduating from Oslo Handelsgymnasium. Only time will show if that ever happens, but it’s motivating to have a dream.

The entire class under a tree in the Hogwarts courtyard. (Notice Fredrik, second on the left at the rearmost row. It's magic!)

Food and diet in England

After arriving at Beechen Cliff on the very first day, it didn’t take us a long
time to notice the fantastic school canteen. This is something we are not
used to at all in our school in Norway. Our lunch in Norway simply consists
of a packed lunch filled with dry and boring slices of bread. We are used to
eating slices of bread for breakfast, lunch and evening meal nearly every day
of the year. At Beechen Cliff School, the situation is different.
In the canteen, we are offered meat, potatoes, rice and vegetables, as well as a
pudding and juice. We can even get fruit and Panini if we want that.

We perceive that all the Norwegians are pleased with the traditional English
breakfast. Eggs, bacon and porridge are considered as food primarily for the
weekends and important occasions in Norway. It is great to eat such a tasty
breakfast every day!

Another thing that varies from the Norwegian diet is the amount of tea you are expected to drink every day. We are offered a cup of tea with some biscuits four or five times a day; tea for breakfast, after school, half an hour before supper,
half an hour after supper, and before we go to bed. At home, most of us are
used to drinking tea two or three times a week, so this is quite different for us,
but nonetheless, we all enjoy it.

The Norwegian girls enjoying lunch in the school canteen

Lessons and learning

Lessons here are quite different from what
we are used home in Norway. Things like calling your teacher by surname, and
walking around like penguins in suits makes our days interesting. In Norway,
this is how we would imagine our great-grand parents going to school! Even
though pupils and teachers here are a lot more polite than in Norway, we are
used to standing until our teacher makes us sit. Here, however, there have been
some awkward moments when the Norwegians have been standing up for several minutes
after the English students have sat down.

It can be a bit hard to keep up with both Norwegian and
English schoolwork, but if you stay focused and do what you are supposed to do you’ll be fine. At least our English has improved a lot during the last weeks.

Further we remark that girls in the school dress a bit inappropriately,
compared to the boys. The teachers at Beechen Cliff are well educated and very nice. They are

inspirational, and are helpful when we sometimes find translations difficult.

The boys in the class ready for their first day at Beechen Cliff

The English weather

One of the first things we all noticed when we arrived in the UK, was how much the
English people talk about the weather. The weather is one of the favourite
topics and conversation starters for the English race. It is a fundamental part
of the Englishman’s life. At breakfast one can always start off by discussing
your thoughts about how the weather is going to be later in the day. When
arriving at the dinner table the weather is also a usual topic. What is mainly
discussed is how the weather has been throughout the day, and perhaps how the
weather forecast for tomorrow is. Another thing several of the Norwegians
experienced when arriving in Bath, was how all the host parents talked about
how terrible the weather had been throughout the summer. It had been raining
most of the time, and it was very cold. Ironically when we first set foot in
the UK, the weather was splendid!  Sun most of the time and temperatures
creeping up into the low twenties. The weather gods had granted us perfect
weather in advance, and they kept their promise, for the first week at least,
they weren`t so kind after we arrived in Bath.

Everything may happen to the weather in the UK. There is no extreme weather,
although the weather may change in an instant. You could have rain in the
morning, and then bright sun in the middle of the day, follow by a huge shower
in the evening. Rain and sun may shine at the same time. Virtually every
weather combination is present in the UK. So far the weather has not
affected our stay in Bath too much, except for some Norwegians coming home sopping wet, having been too naive to bring an umbrella due to a blue sky when they left the house earlier in the day. 
Family life

As we are all seventeen, this exchange is the first time most of us are staying away from our families for such a long time. I think none of us found it extremely easy to leave our parents at the airport that Sunday morning. We were all wondering how it would be living in an English host family, but as soon as we came to Bath, we figured out that it wasn’t difficult at all! We were all met by friendly, welcoming people who took us into their homes as though we were a part of their family.

Some differences are there of course between Norwegian and English family life; routines, food and activities are some of them. It was important for all of us to become a proper part of the family. We do different activities with them in the weekends; some have gone and seen Stonehenge, Theatre Royal and varying museums while others have gone to rugby matches, boat trips and family picnics. It is important to remember that we are not living in a hotel, but in a family and we have to treat them as such. 
Class Community

It took us about three days in York to become an awesome group. We quickly realised that these
were the people we were going to spend the next 104 days with and therefore were left with the
only choice of becoming friends. Just kidding. It was love at first sight.

During our stay, our class has more or less become our family. We have all kinds of people, bringing
different qualities and roles to the group. For instance; Ingeborg makes sure everyone does their
homework, while Nathalie and Tale would walk you home late at night. William’s positivity affects us
all and Birk is our handyman that always solves our practical problems, like the time we all needed
mobile subscriptions. If you ever feel unloved and lonely Anne will cheer you up by giving you a hug.

Together we have experienced a lot. While our friends back home in Norway live their normal lives
we get to do and see so many different things. For example we’ve survived a great selection of tiring
museums, coal mines and churches in York. However we also spend our time playing games and
exploring Bath in different ways in our spare time, especially during the weekends.

I think we all agree that going as exchange students together and being able to experience
everything as a group is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.