I have just started a new blog. If you want to look at it, hit the button below. A lot has changed since I moved out and started studying psychology. It's been almost four years since my exchange in Canada. I am still in touch with my host family, the program manager and some of the friends I made. I figured it's time to go down the memory lane, and write another post about the impact the year abroad have had since then. If you are considering doing an exchange, go for it. It was truly one of my best life experiences. What you learn by living in a foreign country, cannot be learned in any other way.
Today I went out to my summer house to spend a week with my dad. It's located on a small island (with only one "neighbour") 30 minutes from home. I've been here every summer vacation since I was adopted, and can't imagine having a better place to enjoy the sun and ocean. If there is sun, there is fun.
"Socially accepted," just because I'm stranded on an island with no civilization.
What I will probably be doing for the next 7 days, other than socializing with my family; go kayaking, swim, tan and listen to music, read a book, drive boat, help my dad paint, bike and work on my cooking skills (I keep on trying to impress people by promising to serve them homemade dinner, then I realize that I'm not the most experienced chief).
I also get a special visitor very soon; My best friend is finally coming home from Greece. Long time, no see. Can't wait for her to come out. Haven't met her yet because she left the same day I left Canada. It's going to be one of the best reunions.
Have a great weekend! By the way, I have several exchange topics I want to share with you. Just be patient. It takes quite a lot of time to get it all down "on paper". Stay tuned.
I found this video a while back and figured I should share it. I coudn't have said it any better. It's a pretty "long" and maybe a bit deep video, but it's worth you're time. If not today, save it for another day.
That's what I love about being the whole excange thing, you're never alone.
The past few days have involved relaxing, spending time with my family, catching up with friends and working out. I've also been to the mall running some errands, talked with my school counselor (he accepted all my courses) and started driving again (I want to get my Norwegian driver's license as soon as possible).
I've been home for a couple of days, yet it feels like I still have one foot inside my litle exchange bubble. According to my mom I'm "in my own world." As I've mentioned before, it's a lot to process and to me, this has felt very overwhelming (in a good way I guess). It takes time to let go. However, I'm in no rush. I am overly happy to be home. It didn't take long to fall back into old habits and it feels good. Although a lot has happened while I was gone, nothing major has changed. Like every other international student; I came home to the same people and place and realized that what had changed the most, was me.
I already miss certain parts of my life in Canada, especially being an international student, and my friends, big time. Staying in touch shouldn't be a struggle in a modern society like this, but it's actually more challenging than I expected. It's not possible to talk to everyone as much as I'd like to, and it's so weird not seeing everyone everyday. Nevertheless, when it comes to true friendship, no time or distance matters.
Have a good vacation! Miss and love you all :)
These are my final marks. My average is 91,6. When people ask me if it's more difficult to get higher grades in Canada, than in Norway, I have no consistent answer. It's more work, but it's not necesearily harder (this obviously depends on the course outline and your personality).
The biggest differences between the Canadian and Norwegian marking system is:
In Canada the marks are based on a bigger number and variety of assessments than in Norway (compared to my two high school experiences). During the year at YCMHS I had several oral presentations (mostly in language related courses), quizzes (small tests), tests, assignments (in class work and homework), projects and one final exam at the end of each semester. I was also observed though conversation and initiativ to discussion in class. My final marks are made up by percentage of these multiple ways of assessment (the exam usually constitute approx. 30% of the mark). This sucks for those who dislike working in class and home. On the other hand it gives everyone a better chance of achieving the highest mark possible. There is usually a final exam by the end of each semester in each course.
In Norway I have fewer assignments, projects etc. Teachers don't usually care about homework. They say we do it for our own good. Some of them don't even check it. This is good for the students who only prefer studying in preparations for the bigger tests. The negative aspect is that you have fewer chances to improve the mark. For instance, last year I had two big written tests (similar to exams) and one oral presentation during one semester and my final mark was based on those three assessments. If I had a bad day and failed one of them, I would only have one other chance to improve it. I don't like this, because you might do badly that one day because of a difficult task. This however, doesn't mean that you deserve a low mark in the subject. You could have written 10 other great essays. Yet, the one mistake have an big impact on your final. The final mark is made up of the mark average within that course. For instance (we don't do percentage, we have a scale from 1-6, where 6 is the highest), If these are my marks during a year; 4, 4, 5, 5, 5+, I will most likely end up with a 5. In Norway we don't have finals in every course, and the number of exams depends on and which grade you're in. I had no exams in grade 11 (high school is 11,12 and 13) because my class wasn't drawn. While some of my friends got drawn and had one oral and written exam in a course randomly drawn by the school.
It's a bit complicated to explain it all, but I hope this gave the curious people a small insight into the differences between Canadian and Norwegian marking systems. I prefer the Canadian one because I find it more fair. Hard work tends to pay off.
It seems to me like we humans are never fully satisfied. I already miss my friends a lot. In addition there are several parts from my experience in Canada, that I wish I could have brought back to Norway.
I'm sure there's more to it, but it's 2 AM so my mind won't cooperate any longer. However, I am overly happy to be home to what I missed when I was away.
I am home, safe and sound. The trip went very well, with only a small delay on my flight from Iceland to Norway. A shuttle picked me up 08:00 am, and I arrived Tønsberg around 10:00 am (Canadian time).
Enough serious talk. There are lots of funny, strange and a little bit challenging parts about being home, including switching back to the language and old habits. Today I went to the mall and had problems using the Norwegian paying machines. In Canada you have to press OK several times before entering the pin code, while in Norway (probably other places too) you immediately enter the code and press enter. Because I forgot the machines started beeping every time I tried to pay (lol). I also caught myself talking to my dog in English. English words in general slip out in the middle of a sentence every now and then. Just as I thought adapting to the new life in Canada was challenging, I find readjusting back just as hard.
I hope you all enjoy your last days in your host country and homecoming. Travel safe.
There's so much more to say, but I have chosen to split it in multiple posts instead of writing one long.
This year has been an incredible experience and learning lesson. I don't have any additional comments at the moment. There are too many thoughts and feelings to process at once. A lot is going to happen during my two remaining days in Canada. I promise to catch up with everyone reading the blog later.
Enjoy your last days, and for the next exchange "generation", get ready to have the time of your life :)
Before reading this keep in mind that this is overall exaggerated to get people thinking.
Because I am adopted from China I have two different nationalities. I feel 100% Norwegian but I'm also Chinese. Racism is everywhere. As an Asian looking girl, I'm one of the many targets. People make racist jokes all the time. I must admit that some of them are hillarious. Even I find myself making fun of myself and my "own race". However, sometimes it gets too much. My eyes are more narrow, my nose flat and skin colour different. Most of my friends have big eyes, bigger nose and white skin. Does that make them any better than me? I can definitely see the difference, but who are you to set the standards?
I don't mean to pick on any specific population, but let's use Norway and China as an example. It's funny how so many Norwegians, by viewing themselves as the normal majority, allow themselves to make racist jokes about Chinese. There are 5,019 million people in Norway and 1,353 billion living in China. Is point taken? Why are my eyes so much funnier than my Norwegian friend's? Because I'm the "different" one. Remember, my eyes are small, wonder how I can see through them. Don't really see any more beauty in having fish eyes though. What's most funny? That I can't see or that you have fish eyes?
I can try to explain how it feels to be the target every day to my Caucausian friends. They might say: Yes, I understand. I'm sorry, don't be offended. It's nothing personal. It's just for fun. It doesn't matter. It's nothing anyone will fully understand without being in the situation. If you got some extra fat on your body or if you are ginger you probably know the feeling.
This is overly exaggerated, but think about World War 1 and 2. As a result of one man claiming his race, the Caucausian, to be the normal and most valued, millions of people died. I think this is an inborn ideology. We have taken an enormous step from these old beliefs. Still, I find most people, including myself, labelling the Caucausian as normal (pretty ignorant). Racism is a big word, and there's too much to say about it for just a "short" post. I don't want anyone to pity me. It's not like i get bullied and have a horrible life. I also want my friends to keep on having fun at my expenses. I'm very open minded and fine with it, on the contrary other might not be. I just want you all to think twice before you speak. Racist jokes are funny, especially Asian I guess. It's okay to joke around, and I think it's important for people like me to be able to laugh at them. Racism is not going anywhere. The only option is to meet it with humor.
Regardless of your race, as long as you stay within the border of acceptance and tolerance, have fun with it (unless someone tells you otherwise).
Ps: Chinese are not the only Asians.
They say: "Every sixty seconds spent sad is a moment of happiness you can never take back," and I kind of agree. Yet, I think it's better to face the fact that we are leaving and that it is and will be sad. Rather than pretending that we have forever. Like my mom said, I can't live in this bubble for the rest of my life. I know that the day I'm leaving will not feel okay, but it will, eventually. It's okay to admit that it's not. However, I am extremely excited to go home and I know that the sad tears will turn into happy in the moment I get reunited with my family.
By the way, this post have no negative intentions and I'm perfectly content right now :)
THEA JORDAN (18)
I'm an adventurous and positive girl from Tønsberg, Norway. Last fall (2013) I decided to fly out of my comfort zone to live 10 months in Nova Scotia, Canada. With this blog I want to keep my family and friends posted on my everyday life in Yarmouth, Canada. I also hope this can be an inspiration and guidance for future exchange students.
Med denne bloggen ønsker jeg først og fremst og holde familie og nære oppdaterte på livet i Yarmouth, Canada, samtidig som jeg håper at dette kan være en inspirasjon og hjelp til andre som også har lekt med tanken på ett år i utlandet.