Matriculation Ceremony

Matriculation Ceremony

It is sad to have missed my big day; graduation ceremony in UTM. But isn’t loss always come with gain? Join Jiann Chyuan to a completely different “graduation ceremony” in Norway.

Graduation day is a big day for most of the students pursuing a certificate in higher education. But in Norway, graduation day doesn’t exist. However, it is fortunate enough that there is a substitution to recognise this glamorous event.

It is called the matriculation ceremony. But instead of fare-welling successful graduates from the institution, it is actually a traditional way in Norway to welcome all new degree-seeking students, and to celebrate that they are going to begin their life in universities.

Well, to welcome students in orientation week is definitely not uncommon. But the supposed-to-be-formal event of matriculation ceremony is very unique if compared to the ordinary orientation programmes. It is big, too big that it is absolutely comparable to graduation ceremony held in other universities in the world. (Repetitive statement is meant for emphasis. And in this case, it means BIG!)

However, big doesn’t always mean bureaucratic.

In fact, it is so informal, casual, relaxing, and surprisingly, entertaining!

Firstly, you don’t have to spend money for this ceremony, not even a single cent. Why? Simple, no graduation ceremony fee, no need to register for photo taking session, and the most important and funny part is, you can even wear singlet and shorts to receive your matriculation certificate!

Okay, I’ve to admit it is too exaggerating to have mentioned singlet (but it is true for the case of shorts), probably because the weather in Trondheim is too cold for singlet. But a simple pullover will do the trick. Why would such a big event so tolerable to students’ attire? I’ve no idea. But I did enjoy it a lot, because it has less hassle (zero actually).

The matriculation ceremony was divided into two parts. As simplicity kicks in (as it is in this country), these two parts are simply called part I and part II. For the matriculation part II, it was just when everyone from the same faculty sitting quietly (and dressing casually) in an auditorium, while waiting for their names to be called for receipt of certificates. It was nothing interesting, except witnessing the head of faculty to shake hand and saying “good luck” for a few hundreds time.

The fun part of matriculation ceremony was, what else if not the part I. It was also in this part of the ceremony that makes me wonder the toleration’s limit of university in this institution.

It is not hard to imagine the fun. A huge stage in the middle of the field with thousands of audiences standing under the rare warm sun, and again, dressing commonly casual, and were accompanied by extremely entertaining performances. Still find it hard to imagine? How about a few “hot” guys dressing in tube-top and super tight hot pants, dancing in Pussycat Dolls’ remixed version of Don’t Cha?

Again, isn’t the toleration of Norwegian university is a bit excessive? But I have to agree that Trondheim is undoubtedly a very happening student city. Student activities are very active in this city. Want to know more what students do in Trondheim? Stay tuned in the future.

Back to matriculation ceremony (part I). Other than “hot dance”, there were also musical performances, musical drama and dancing, all performed by students. Of course, the inevitable ones were speeches from all the highest administrative officers. Provided that they spoke in English, otherwise I just shifted my attention to most elsewhere.

Event lasted for only 2 hours. Short and concise. Exactly! What is the p oint of asking everyone to sit in a hall waiting for a few hours for their turn to receive their certificate? Maybe institutions in Malaysia should consider such a lively event for graduation ceremony.

From left (click to enlarge):

Mascots? They are promoting student activities actually.

All the VIPs.

Pussycat Dolls, Male version.

One of the musical performances.

The audience. Doesn't this look like outdoor concert?

Steinan Studentby

Steinan Studentby

You can probably rent a room in a super high end condominium located in one of the hot spots in KL with RM1650, of course, nice flat mate is not included. But you can get just so little in Trondheim. - Jiann Chyuan discovers.

Many of my friends came to me in MSN and asked me about my accommodation in Trondheim. RM1650 per month is definitely not the only thing I can tell. But what exactly can I say about this luxurious room?

Don’t expect chandelier in the middle of the room or Jacuzzi in the bathroom, they are not going to exist in this apartment. No, you also cannot find floor finished with India imported pearl marble. In fact, you wouldn’t want to have marble floor because the weather is just too cold here.

No (again), I was not trying to imply that my living condition is extremely bad. Instead, this apartment that I’ve is actually one of the best apartments available for students in Trondheim. Yes, it is undeniably slightly pricier than living in Berg Studentby and Moholt Studentby. But the condition that I’ve in Steinan Studentby is far too cosy for a student, if it is not too heavenly good.

At least I’ve a double layers spring mattress. Yes, after a long day, you definitely want to have a comfortable and perhaps slightly luxurious bed to sleep on. This is exactly what I’m having. To enhance the luxury level, I added my spring mattress bed (it is just so important to mention the spring mattress, because I’m not having a foam mattress!) with bed linen bought from IKEA.

Oh, about IKEA, it is the love of every student. With such a high cost living standard in Norway, it is very surprising that goods sold in IKEA are relatively cheap. In fact, they are cheaper than what you get in Malaysia. Is it because Norway neighbours to Sweden? I don’t know, and I don’t care, as long as I’ve got cheap and high quality products.

So what else are in my room? They are a 2m height bookcase, a coffee table with one chair, a table with extended portion, a wardrobe, a table lamp, and a basin with toiletries cupboard. The total area of my room is about 12 square metres. Not too large? It is bigger than the room that you are living in now.

Of course, RM1650 is not really worth so little. It still comes with a shared common area with fully furnished kitchen and a separated bathroom and toilet. And the bonus to the money, two nice, cute Norwegian flat mates which can really be a good source for you to immerse in pure Norwegian culture.

The surrounding area is of course a criterion too important to miss. Firstly, it is too far away from campus. When we usually pay for higher rental to convenience, this isn’t applicable in Steinan. You pay for the comfort, and you need to fork out extra money for the transport. Brilliant!

To rapidKL, at least, buses here are available in high frequency and are comply with Norwegian standard, punctual!

Other than distance, you can really say nothing bad about Steinan. Peaceful and calm. Everywhere is so quiet until there was an occasion when Pia, Paulina and I got scolded by one snobbish girl, saying we have made too much noise talking and laughing at a garden. Certainly, the residents in this village expect to hear the sound of a dropped needle all the time. Wonderful!

If you like berries, this is the place for you. Nope, it is not that this village has a good market selling dirt cheap berries. It is because within just 5 minutes of hiking to the hill behind the village, there are probably a few jars of berries waiting for harvest. In fact, I picked half a jar myself yesterday. They are not as enormous as what sold in market, but they are delicious.

Talking about market, there is a chain market named ‘bunn pris’ just 3 minutes walking from my apartment. How convenient this is! But practice your “ya, takk” or “nei, takk” before going. You definitely wouldn’t want to request to speak in English when the cashier asks you “poser?”

For those who have had a virtual room tour with me, congratulations! I have been really busy turning on my webcam these few days. For those who are less fortunate, here are some pictures. Enjoy until we meet next time!

More than the Norwegian ways...

More than the Norwegian way…

The excessive amount of information regarding the Norwegian way of living in this orientation is certainly signalling a clear message to international students. But why does it take Brit and German to explain it? Asked Jiann Chyuan.

After having the great impression about Norway and its people, pictures of Norway is becoming clearer for me, since I’ve been exposed to an excessive amount of talks and seminars regarding the Norwegian do’s and don’ts. And of course, I am surely benefiting from the kindness of my two lovely Norwegian flat mates in teaching me their language.

Steward Clark and Wolfgang Laschet, the adviser of NTNU and the Socrates Programme coordinator respectively, sparked the orientation beautifully with their extremely lively and hilarious presentation about the Norwegian odd ways. But as the names suggested, it wonders me why does it take a Brit and a German to deliver such a crucial presentation to 600 international students in the NTNU.

The answer is simple: the Norwegian are shy. Yes, the brain of every international student has been bombarded repeatedly with this exact same phrase. We have been told for endless amount of time that Norwegians are not cold, but they are only shy. But is that really true?

At least this is not in my case. I’ve to admit that I’ve got really lovely flat mates, and they always surprised me by initiating conversations with me. It could be just a simple greeting, for example, asking how was my day for the orientation. And very often, this simple question has, however, always turned into hours of chatting and exchanging experiences.

You may think that this is very common all over the world. But the truth is, to have a Norwegian to start talking to you? This is certainly something strange in this country. And if you have got them to invite you for a cup of coffee, that means an honour.

So, what are the other peculiarities of Norwegian presented by these two foreigners, by using a stunning SWOT analysis? To all Malaysians, Norwegians are punctual, extremely. The sensitivity of Norwegians to time certainly deserves the highest respect of everyone. It is not only applicable to events, it also reflects on their public transport, where you can find no bus reaching a bus stop 3 minutes later than it is scheduled. (More stories about transportation in Trondheim will be coming in the future.)

Brown cheese, as it name suggests, is eaten as food. But it can also be used as glue to repair the holes in your shoes, as demonstrated by Wolfgang in the presentation. And the advice to this Norwegian most favourite food is: get rid of it before trying to put it into your mouth. (More stories about food in Trondheim will be coming in the future.)

The biggest fish, not the well-known salmon in Norway, but the ‘dead fish’ that is alive on the street where you can probably seen when you are walking on the street early in the morning. Confused? It refers to drunk Norwegian who slept on the street. As famous as their shy characteristic, Norwegian certainly can be categorised as alcoholic addict. And I’ve witnessed once. (Again, more stories about Norwegian drinking habit will be revealed soon in Sambal Delivery Post.)

I have been talking a lot about the Norwegian odd ways. But in this whole orientation week, things than I’ve learnt are not only about the Norwegians. With 600 international students coming from all over the world, I’ve learnt a lot of cultures and gain a lot of knowledge about people from the other countries. I have benefited, and I’m sure you are going to, because I’ll make sure all the knowledge will be put in my future posts. Therefore, check out Sambal Delivery Post more often in the future.

Sorry again for the pictures. I’m compiling them.

The Norwegian Way?

The Norwegian Way?

Leaving a place where I’m so familiar with as to chase after a European dream. However, would the first impression still be incredible after 48-hour of long tired journey? – Jiann Chyuan

Burdening myself with a whopping 42kgs of baggage, which certainly contains a lot of discard-able food, for examples, Chinese herbs and Chinese cooking ingredients, I boarded on flights travelling for 48 hours to reach my final destination – Trondheim.

I did not torture myself in purpose by tagging with the excessive luggage. It is because the thought that it would be extremely wonderful to smell the love from home country occasionally in a land where I know no one is lovely.

After transiting at so many places (Singapore, London and Oslo), the memory of the first impression generated in this country, Norway, where I’m going to spend half year on, is blurry and indistinct. The only thing I really manage to recall is, for the first time of my life, I drank tape water without feeling worry of diarrhoea.

Ops, did I tell you it was happened in the toilet of Oslo Airport, where (the airport lounge, not the toilet) I also for the very first, slept unconsciously in public, with all my valuables resting quietly on a trolley beside me, also without a sense of worry of theft?

You are indeed observant to tell that I’m actually telling you about my first impression. But lest you suspect that the aforementioned blurry adjective is just a mask to cover my infamous short-term memory lost, I am struggling insanely hard to recollect details for the following description.

Prior to departure, I’ve read and heard a lot regarding the cold behaviour of Norwegian. I’m not going to lie that I did not worry at all. In fact, the worry had never stopped even after I stepped down from the final plane of my final stretch of the journey.

I tried hard enough to convince myself with the messages sent by Erling (Kah Yin’s Norwegian husband) that it is not as bad as what I’ve read. But the worry just couldn’t stop.

It was only after I talked to the first Norwegian then only the worry was melted away. Indeed, as a foreigner, taking the initiative to reach to the locals is vitally important. And so again, the first impression is, behind the cold and emotionless face, Norwegian stranger can actually be friendly and informational.

Reaching hostel at Steinan Studentby, greeted by a cute looking Norwegian stranger with English,

“Oh, so it comes a person who speaks English.” My heart tumbled. But it proved that first impression isn’t always right soon before the Norwegian-is-cold impression manage to mark permanently in my mind. This Norwegian stranger, the now my house mate, is surprisingly warm and friendly.

An example would be he invited me to do some grocery shopping, not once, but twice within two days. I’m not sure whether the invitations were only to get a companion (this statement is supported by the fact that from my observation, my this house mate doesn’t really need a companion in doing things). But I choose to think at the positive side. He was at least my life saver in market filled with words I don’t understand. Tusen takk.

Is it really all that nice? The truth is bloodily ugly. I did experience being rejected from communication with locals just because I don’t speak Bokmål. Perhaps these are only odd cases especially when I am dealing with old folks. Perhaps they just don’t understand English. It is nice to dig in for excuses at the beginning.

Want some general description of the city? Trondheim is peaceful, in a eerie way. The surrounding is so quiet that it makes me feel painfully guilty to break the silence by playing windows media player, with the minimum audible volume. The weather is fine, not too cold, but still cold enough to keep me shaking while juggling my typing in front of my laptop at 1 in the morning.

In summer, the night is short. I woke up automatically in the morning today after noticing that it had been bright outside, to only find out afterwards that it was only 6 in the morning. Yes, I still not get used to it. But I firmly believe this will not last long. There are certainly more things that are coming in a Norwegian way.