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My Journey to Norway

It all started 9 years ago, more precisely in 2012, when I decided to apply for an international master degree in Norway – who am I kidding, this started a long time before that, when I first came to Norway as an au pair, and fell in love with the country. That was before Romania was part of the European Union, and we actually needed a visa to be in Norway. Now we have it so easy. Just buy a flight ticket and 5 hours later … BAM! you are in Norway.

After I finished my high-school, I found a nice family in Norway to work as an au pair for. Back then the internet was not so easily available to people, and I remember I had to go to something that we used to call “internet café”. You paid a certain amount of money, and you were allowed to use a computer with access to the internet. I knew I wanted to get out of Romania, because, back then, this was my idea of getting out of poverty. Nowadays, I know better than that, and we have it so easy, when access to any type of information is easily and widely available everywhere.

My first year in Norway was amazing, the best year of my life. I fell in love with its beauty. And by beauty here I mean the nature: mountains, fjords, ocean, forests, deer, reindeer, polar bears, but also the kindness of the Norwegian people. People are calmer, smile all the time, and there is an overall peace that surrounds them. Does the fact that they are one of the richest people on the planet help with that? I bet it does. When you have enough money to cover your basic needs, then a lot of stress is off your shoulders, and I can see how people are calmer and more peaceful when they don’t have to worry about food and a roof over their head. They instead, have more time to spend with their family and friends, invest in their hobbies, and in their own growth.

On the way to the Atlantic Road with my sister

The family I lived with for one year, was probably the most amazing people I have ever met. The girls were funny and smart, and had a lot of confidence in themselves, something which was kind of new for me. Although I was the oldest one, I felt like it was me learning from them. I remember my English vocabulary was very limited, and every time they were asking me what I wanted to eat I was saying: bread and cheese. And I don’t even like cheese that much! Especially back then. The mother of the family was very good at English, so in the year I lived there, I became fluent in English. The father decided himself to teach me Norwegian, so he would talk Norwegian to me as much as he could. That is how I learned Norwegian back then (which I forgot, in the following years when I returned to Romania). I lived at a farm, and we had cows and a little and beautiful horse. It was the first time I rode a horse. In Romania, my grandfather used the horses for work, so it was new for me to see someone taking care of a horse as a pet. Cows I have seen before, and I have milked them before. However, what was new for me, was how nice the barn the cows lived in looked like, and how well they were taking care of. Unfortunately, in Romania there are kids that live worse than the cows in Norway. This is the sad truth. Norway is awesome and there is a lot that other can learn from them.

I had to go back to my home country after my au pair contract finished, so the day I left Norway (and more precisely, Solvorn, which to day, I believe to be the most beautiful place on Earth), I promised myself that one day I will be back, and I will be back for good. The funny part is that I am always good at keeping promises. Especially to myself 🙂 So, 6 years later, I was back in Norway, this time as an international student (and without needing a visa, as Romania became part of the European Union meanwhile).

So, in 2007, after I returned from my au pair experience, I enrolled myself to a bachelor degree in oil and gas engineering. Why that you might ask? Very simple: back then, Norway was famous for oil and gas engineering jobs, so I wanted to make sure that my second attempt to Norway it will be risk-free and a calculated move. Well, there is always risk in everything we do, but I do love the calculated risks more than just risks.

An engineering bachelor degree takes 4 years of study in Romania, however, I myself graduated after 6 years (in 2013). That is because in Romania (back then) part time jobs where not so common, and most Romanian employees wanted you to work full time (over time actually, like 12 hours per day, no idea off), and pay you as if you were working part-time. So, I had to work here and there full time during my studies, which of course, made the duration of my bachelor quite bumpy and longer. For those 6 years, I always kept in mind my prize/my goal, which was: get good grades, and get admitted to a Norwegian university for a master degree. This was my plan. I knew that for a master degree I would only need English as language requirements, so this was my goal. I had no idea how I would be able to support myself as a master student in Norway, but I decided that I would deal with that challenge, AFTER I had an offer on the table (an admission offer at a Norwegian university).

In 2013 I came to Norway, more precisely to Trondheim, full of hopes for my dream life. I was living my DREAM. I had created my DREAM LIFE 6 years before that, envisioned and imagined what that life would be like for 6 years, and finally it was the time to actually LIVE it. And it was overwhelming. Was I full of fear and doubt? I had no idea how I would manage to support myself for the next years throughout my studies. But I came to Norway nonetheless. I borrowed the money for the flight and for the first month. It was not an easy journey, and how I financially supported myself in that period is something that I will cover in another blog post.

Atlantic Road

After my master degree, the oil and gas industry was in decline, so finding a job in that area was not easy. Ironic, isn’t it? What I thought it was going to secure me a good job position in Norway, and secure my staying here, was out of the window in a second. However, when we keep our eyes on the end GOAL, then the brain will find alternative solutions. I started to apply to PhD positions, in my area but not only. The day after I submitted my master thesis, I got an offer for a PhD position in my department at the same faculty. I still remember the emotion of happiness that I had. I finally had my first FULL TIME job in Norway – a position for 4 years, but nevertheless I was thrilled.

It has been 8 years, soon 9 since I returned to Norway (this time for good), and I have done and achieved so many things in those years, that I have never expected. I am grateful for this amazing opportunity that I have been given, but also I realize that most part of the opportunity I have created myself.

At the moment, I am a master student again – same university, this time studying (in Norwegian) a master in Technology Management at the Business School. I quit my job to start my own business, and I am learning as I go. This is another incredible thing about Norway: changing career it is not such a difficult thing to do. You could say that if you manage to come and live in Norway, this is the country where everything is possible 🙂 If you just believe in yourself.

5 thoughts on “My Journey to Norway”

  1. Pingback: An International Master Student in Norway – The Application Process – Quantum Leap Grow

  2. i had to read your all journey here,,, Really It’s not eassy Firstly for you but your ditarmind was so strong then you overcome all kind of problems. Then finally you had to reach your dreamlife. It’s heard by happness me,,,

    At last only i sad you Best of luck and obtain more success
    And pray for me so that i can reach my same dream as like as you got

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