Internationlaisation of higher education: A basic understanding – A nursing perspetive

I am currently undertaking an online module ‘Globalisation and internationalisation of Higher Education’ as part of an extra credit award scheme at my university. Having spent time abroad studying I have developed a new found passion and interest in the globalisation and internationlisation of education and more specifically nurse education and healthcare. Norway was a very interesting experience and my study while I was out there considering the similarities and differences between my education and theirs, has supplied this interest with its driving force and first acknowledgement of its presence in my profession.

One of the things we have been asked to do is write a blog post about what we understand about internationalisation in higher education so far. It is only supposed to be 200 words max in length so the writing below will outline this, however there is a very great chance that I will continue to babble and consider other options afterwards. I have never been very adapt to concise writing. My lecturers could tell you that in a flash.

So what do I understand about the internationalisation of higher education?

First of all what is internationlistion? Knight (2004) defined it as the ‘process of integrating an international, intercultural or global dimension into the functions and delivery of post-secondary education’ After further reading I have begun to understand how international, intercultural and global dimensions influence my university and course and will use this as a reflection.

In terms of international this would be study abroad programs for instance. Our course has a specific elective placement element where students are encouraged to go all over the world to experience nursing in a different context. I chose my university based on the fact that it offered this as not all institutions do, and I felt that it was a vital element to be part of my training. Regarding intercultural, we have a lot of cultural teaching which is seen as an essential element to our course. Our professions in based on caring for those from all different backgrounds, cultures, beliefs an countries. We are a multi-national nation and by default our profession training is intercultural centered because that is a part of what we do. On a global scale, my institution is part of a network called Universitias 21, a global network for leading research institutions which has a health sciences collaboration. Being part of this, students on my course have the opportunity to take part in working/studying/attending conferences abroad including 4 weeks in Nepal to carry out health education programs and nurse education conferences in Dublin and China.

Although I knew the above before starting this module, I had not put it into context about what the above was actually about and the bigger picture that this fits into. Considering all of this, I would say at a very foundation level that my course is quite internaitonliased in its delivery already and compared to other institutions offering nursing courses, rather far out in front.

That is defiantly my 200 words done and a few more. The rest is an trail running of thought processes about what influences internationalisation of higher education, and some attempt at looking at how my course and nursing fits into this….

I have begun to realise that there are many factors that drive HE institutions to be more internationliased. There is;political ‘soft power’, the academic preparation of students being more prepared to be able to work in an international capacity (the movement of the nursing workforce is high, so preparation in your pre registration years is valuable, and it helps you to understand the wider context of nursing), social and cultural – this I feel is more personal, so it allows for a great deal of professional and personal development. The final one is economic which I feel is the one you have to be most careful of that it doesn’t begin to dominate the reasons behind HE institutions becoming more internationlised. Things like research funding and increased revenue from international campuses are a big driving factor. You cannot underestimate the importance of research, as the most recent REF publication has shown (my own institutions impact factor is very high regarding nursing and allied health professions = more money and status).

I do not have the knowledge and more in-depth understanding of these issues yet to fully understand how these can relate to nursing and how the can and do impact on the profession. This is something that I hope to be able to explore further and see how this can fit in with the globalisation of nurse education. There are many other issues to explore and discuss, and internationlisation is certainly more complicated that I have expressed, but I feel this can give a basic outline of the principle and the starting point of its relation to nursing and nurse education.

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Ready for work?: The changes I’d make to nurse education

grumbling appendix

A guest blog by Florian Nightingale
So, as a newly-qualified nurse with a special interest in pre-hospital emergency care, there are things about my undergraduate programme that I would change. There are things I would remove from my degree and others I would add – inter-disciplinary training with other healthcare professionals for one thing.


My experiences in pre-hospital care brought me into contact with paramedics and doctors, but what struck me most about the registered nurses I worked with was their autonomy – more precisely, their abilities to physically assess people beyond taking basic observations. These are skills that, as I have often found, are perceived as advanced and beyond the scope or remit of a staff nurse. I’m talking more than simply checking a blood pressure, feeling a pulse, counting respirations and recording pulse oximetry and temperature. I feel that my undergraduate training gave me very little preparation for…

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But you have been taught the theory behind it right?

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(Wall mount within the Stavanger Acute Medicine Foundation for Education and Research aka SAFER)

One of the main things I wanted to look at when I came to Norway was the difference/similarities between the clinical education content/delivery to that of my own Univeristy. Since I started my nurse training I have been very interested in the comparison of skills needed for practice in the real word, and those taught within the program of study. I personally feel that they do not correspond to each other, and there is work and progress to be made in bringing undergraduate nurse education more into the 21st century.

While many may argue that nursing is an art not a science, I would beg to differ that it is in fact very much both these things. As once described and explained to me by a lecture that I very much admire at my University; with all the good graces of a nurse being kind, caring and compassionate (which I am not dismissing in the slightest they are essential in the profession), those things alone are not going to be able to settle a patient who is attached to a cardiac monitor which starts alarming and gets upset, alarmed or anxious without the nurse being able to interpret the monitor and explain why it may be doing what it is with the sound background of anatomy and physiology in that area. Or in pediatric nursing, how would a nurse explain to parents or the child themselves why they were receiving a certain medication or procedure. It is not always the doctors that are asked the questions and the nurses are often the most available source of information for patients/parents and next of kin. A nurse cannot always keep referring the questions to the doctors. Though of course nurses need to explain and work within the ream of our profession and sphere of competence, they cannot start offering out tip bits of information without the necessary qualifications. Our duty of care extends to ourselves having sufficient enough and up to date knowledge to care for our patients in the safest and most excellent manner.

In Norway one of the things I noticed first is that nursing students here are expected to learn and carry out cannulation in their second year. In the UK this is something most qualified nurses cannot do as it requires you to take an extra training package while you are working. This includes the need of supervision, which given the current climate mostly only doctors and phlebotomists can provide. The time they have to spare in not in great quantities. When I spent some time in the accident and emergency department here in Stavanger, the nursing and medical body were equally surprised that not only are we (as nursing students in the UK) not taught cannulation, we are not even taught the theory in our training either. One of the doctors was very quick to jump in and ask when we then did our cannulation training and I explained that it was not even mandatory on qualification. The puzzled and confused expression in their face more or less said it all. Here in Norway the majority of doctors do not cannulate (they have the option to learn but it is not mandatory), it is seen a nursing role. I have seen the benefit of nurses being able to undertake this skill on the wards as well, as when we are administrating antibiotics for example, and the cannula is not working, or has been removed. There is no time delay or hesitation in it being replaced and the antibiotics going through as the nursing staff can immediately put one back in. Treatments are not delayed, and from my experience in the UK, if a cannula is not working, it is often very difficult to find someone to replace it quickly. This means antibiotics and other medications are delayed and this may have an impact on the effectiveness of the prescribed treatment. I am by no means qualified to state that allowing and teaching nurses within their undergraduate training to cannulate would make the treatment for patients more effective and successful, but you can see the logic and the argument in the implementation. Nursing students here are also able to carry out male cathatrisation, another skill that nurses in the UK can only carry out on qualification with a specific training package.

Simulation training is used a lot more in undergraduate nurse training here than that of the UK. In the first month that I was in Norway I visited Stavanger Acute Medicine Foundation for Education and Research (SAFER) which provides simulation training to nursing students along with all emergency service personnel including the off shore workers on the oil rigs. There is nothing really of this size in the UK though Bristol is home to the Bristol Medical Simulation Center (BMSC), which offers a similar service. In Nottingham, simulation training is not used prominently in undergraduate nurse education, however there is talk that it may be introduced.

In my visit I joined a simulation lesson with other Norwegian nursing students and we carried out a basic refresher of CPR and the use of defibrillators. Afterwards we were split into two groups and put into a simulation room with one of the facilitators controlling the sound/movements/clinical condition of an electronic dummy that was laid out in a mock ward environment. We were fortunate enough that the educators and the majority of the other nursing students had good enough English to be able to attempt the simulation in English! There is a lot of research and studies being published at the moment which look at the use of simulation training and its benefits/suitability to nurse training. So far, much of the research would suggest that simulation in nurse education is beneficial in terms of increasing confidence, transitioning between theory and practice and clinical skills competence. Tough there are still questions which lie around simulations suitability to improving actual patient care. Its use however is on the increase and a number of reasons could be sited for things including a decreasing availability of placement areas and an increase in student numbers, the variations in competence in communication, administration of medicines and decision making among nursing students as found by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Finally the increasing challenges nursing educators face in developing and  preparing students for the real world of nursing practice the variety of placement/clinical training opportunities available (which can impact on students exposure to certain environments and situations like acute and deteriorating patients), are other reasons that simulation training may become more prominent in future training.

It has been announced recently that there is going to be a review into undergraduate nurse education in the UK. Health Education England along with the NMC are to launch the `State of Caring Review´ in May this year lead by Lord Willis. It comes after the Francis Report highlighted concerns with nurse education and training. It will be interesting to see if the final report which is to be released early 2015, will consider or report on the clinical skills education and delivery along with any mention of need for increased simulation training.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond registration

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(A view of pulpit rock, one of the main tourist attractions just outside of Stavanger. The views were incredible, 604m up tends to allow for that)

While the main focus of this blog has been undergraduate nurse education, I have found it interesting to look at the opportunities available to registered nurses here in Norway as well.

Often when choosing a career you consider what progression is available and what sort of opportunities and options are open to you within that career. One of the reasons I wanted to go in to nursing was the sheer amount of opportunity and learning continuum that the profession provided. I was not going to be constricted to one working environment (consider community, hospital, prison, military among others) and the clinical/leadership and management options provided you with the ability to mold your carer and aspirations with new experiences and interests. This variety also allows for a wide variety of personalities and characters within the profession itself, while still maintaining the underlying principles of care and compassion to create a dynamic and passionate workforce. So would this be the same here?

In Norway the band system of 5/6/7 and beyond does not exist as we have in the UK. In fact there isn’t a noticeable structure at all. There are ward managers and below them are assistant ward managers but nothing noticeable. The ward I work on at present has three assistant ward managers who take on similar duties and responsibilities that our own band 6 nurses back in the UK would hold. With this status comes an increase in pay and a absence of night shifts. It is a simple application process when a post becomes available. Everyone wears exactly the same uniform from newly qualified to ward manager. Even the non clinical staff will wear the same white scrubs. The doctors to distinguish themselves slightly will wear a white lab coat over their white scrubs. The does somewhat eliminate the hierarchical structure that is often, or has at least in history, dominated nursing within the UK. Personally though I like the alternative uniforms as it allows for staff, patients and visitors to distinguish from each other and it does give you a certain pride with identification.

I have already mentioned in a previous post that nurses here are trained generally and do not specialise in pediatrics/mental health/learning disability until 2 years after they qualify. After that they are able to take on a MSc in one of these specialties or in something like health and safety or management. These are full time courses run by the University of Stavanger, the fees are paid for but you lose income as you are unable to work so this may not be the most viable option for nurses, especially those with families.

There is another option however. After 2 years of practice experience nurses here are able to start undertaking a clinical specialist qualification. This is a part time qualification which is done in a nurses own time. It is run by the hospital and comes in three levels. A nurses pay will increase in small amounts with each level. This qualification was introduced to aid in nurse retention, allow for nurses to further their knowledge and skills which overall would help to provide a higher quality of nurse. There is no portfolio/or re validation requirement of nurses here. A few whom I have spoken to feel that this would be a good idea and wished it would be introduced to encourage skills to be kept up to date. The levels for the clinical specialist qualification are transferable within the hospital and to the community, but to move hospitals and still keep the same pay level and status is more at the discretion of the new ward manager and the human resources equivalent. Details  of each level are below:

Level 1 –  Available after 2 years of clinical experience. 1000 hours of reading around the topic of general advanced clinical nursing practice, computer based tests to assess knowledge on areas like nutrition, infection control and health and safety.

Level 2 – Available after 4 years of clinical experience. 1000 hours of reading more specific to your own specialty of advanced nursing practice e.g. cardiology, trauma and orthopedics, neurology. More computer based tests. Level 1+2 are evaluated by the hospital.

Level 3 – Available after 5-6 years clinical experience. The reading hours are increased and there are additional study groups put on by the University (this level is evaluated by the University as well as the hospital). Nurses are also required to write a paper on an area of their choice within their specialty. The salary for level 3 is the same as a specialist nurse, so one that has undertaken one of the 2 year full time MSc. There are not many of these Level 3 nurses as only a couple of applications each semester are allowed.

The title ‘clinical specialist’ is a general one rather than specific as we have in the UK such as a diabetes or tissue viability specialist nurse. All levels are moderated and marked. Level 2+3 also have mentoring requirement. This can be for peers or students.

With reference to mentoring, all nurses here mentor students. You can do a 2 day course held at the University but this is not compulsory and you can mentor a student without it. There is no yearly update as we have in the UK, certainly in Nottingham. Each student will have two mentors, one primary who will sign off any documentation, and the other if the primary mentor is unavailable for a shift. Students are assessed at a pass/fail and they have two attempts to pass. Students need to write evidence of what they have learned and reflected upon including a care plan about one patient. It is a lecturer and mentor who go through the paper work.

There are not any specific preceptorships available either for newly qualified nurses that I have found here, were as the UK is seeing a growing increase in the number of specific preceptiorships offered including rotational programs. So far I have established that newly qualified nurses could expect a few weeks of orientation and supernumerary status. This may change in different hospitals however.

To draw this post to a close, there was an attempt at introducing something similar to an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) in A+E , but from talking to nurses who work there, this seems to have trickled out. One of the main reasons seemed to be that people just simply were not going for it. So far my research has not highlighted any areas of nurse consultants, though you will see alcohol consultants which can be a nurse or a social worker who has taken an additional course to train in that area. Not though to the level that we are beginning to see in the UK.

With all of this in mind, I do look at the two structures of the profession and working environment and wonder if I would have been as happy working here as I would in the UK. They certainly have their differences although the principles surrounding nursing are exactly the same. Though I am not initially sure  a grand total of 3 months allows me to make a well informed decision but first impressions would suggest that nurses in the UK have a certain degree of freedom and growth that suits me a great deal which is not translated quite as well here.

 

 

 

 

 

Every cloud

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(a view of the hospital on my way to work in the morning)

It has been a while since my last post but I figured I would wait a while until I had got into the swing of starting placement before I started rambling.

So Is it what expected?

No

When I was choosing which country I wanted to apply to for the Erasmus I choose Norway primarily because it offered acute and emergency placements. This to me says very medically/surgically ill patients and a fast working environment along with pressure and a high demand for the workforce to be on its toes. I like that, and I thrive off of it. So it was natural decision.

The reality…

On OBA (translates as the acute treatment and observation ward) It is safe to say that there is a much slower pace of things over here. However, I do not necessarily put that down to the nurses working at a slower place, there is simply far more of them per patient than there is here. 1-4 in the daytime at most and at night it may increase to around 1-8. The majority of the patients are self caring and I have needed to do very little to no personal care at all. Something I confess to missing. The ratio is great and I have rarely if ever so far seen a nurse pushed for time or attention with their patients. I am simply just not used to it.

The one thing that has surprised me which I did not foresee as being as much of an issue as it has turned out to be initially was that of the language barrier. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the staff speak English and my mentor is fantastic for translating notes for me and helping to me to understand doctors rounds, however it is the huge barrier with patients that it has thrown up. Looking back I am not really quite sure what I expected, there are some patients who can speak English, if they are under the age of 50 then you have a good chance of being able to have a conversation. But, generally I feel like a bystander in patients care, unable to get fully involved because I cannot explain things to them independently without a translator and if I can see a patient is very distressed or unhappy it is much harder for me to try and alleviate that. It has frustrated me hugely and for me it feels like I am unable to care ‘properly’ for people. An interesting discovery as it made me think what caring for someone actually meant to me and what it entailed. My independence in my eyes as practitioner has also taken a slight nose dive.

This particular discovery has made me look at communication in the way the universities always want to try and get through to you but never quite manage with the endless communication lectures and essays, because until you are in a situation where you cannot verbally communicate, only then do you realise its significance, value and presence in the care of patients. Or so this is my opinion anyway. I had certainly taken for granted how much I relied and invested in this within my own practice.

The communication barrier also through up another interesting discovery for myself. I very quickly learnt that I do not like not being able to understand and interpret my environment. It is the most unnerving experience. Patient notes, posters, signs, doctors rounds, general chit chat and conversion in the staff room, a complete mystery without the aid of someone to translate or google at your disposal. I have no shame in admitting that I found this really hard to deal with. It is incredibly isolating. However, for the first time I was able to feel what it was like for those patients that I have cared for that do not have any understanding of their environment or who cannot communicate, dementia and stroke patients among others came to my mind. It is frightening and I have gained at least some empathy with this that I didnt not foresee arising. With this realisation came a note of sadness as well, as I appreciated the loneliness of the situation. With this knowledge now in hand which I endeavor to take with me when I return to the UK, I hope and intend to improve my own practice care for those patients were communication is a barrier.

That aside, one of the other mot notable things that I experienced so far is the amount of mental health nursing that is required here. Unbeknown to me when I arrived, OBA is actually the designated ward for anyone who has attempted suicide or has simply drunken way to much alcohol and has needed to be hospitalised. And it is unfortunate to say that is is a very frequent occurrence. The amount of people coming through the doors with paracetamol overdoses and other means of attempted life taking is heartbreaking. There is rarely time I walk onto the ward and do not see some one being put in line of sight because they are at risk, and the ward itself is usually at least a quarter full of alcohol intoxication. I myself have had to sit within line of sight of someone on varies occasions. My exposure to mental health within my own practice so far has been very limited as we are not given a specific mental health placement, so I am taking this one as so. I have asked the nursing staff why they think there is such a problem with suicide and alcohol and they have said that generally they feel its down the the pressure from society to make something of yourself and be successful. The high cost of living is an added pressure. Patients will get transferred to OBA as well from the psychiatric ward if it is suspected that there is also something more significant medically wrong with them like a heart condition which needs investigation or monitoring. Patients with personality disorders and bipolar again among others will be brought over and the nursing staff will need to care of them as well. Something in this situation which does make the nursing care easier is that face that nurses are trained generally here. And that means they have specific mental health training in their undergraduate years which equips them far better to be able to cope and care for these patients than if it was the UK (granted that may be a matter of opinion). I have always felt that undergraduate nurse training needs to have more varied scope of placements to include in particular mental health as a mandatory component. I do not see where I would have got the exposure and experience of working within mental health if I had not come here. With its prevalence in our own society, I do not see how it can be excluded. This I have to say is not a generic situation as I believe there are some universities which do give their ‘adult’ nursing students mental health experience.

So despite this so far not being what I had anticipated or expected, and feeling somewhat a few hundred miles outside of my own comfort zone, every cloud has a silver lining and I am readjusting my outlook. This Erasmus is bringing me a lot more personal challenges that I had predicted.

A nurse educational structure breakdown & and In other news I miss the price of bananas in the UK


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(I Found these outside a toy shop, couldn’t help but find them entertaining)

Despite the expense, slight location isolation (still missing my four wheels) and that people just don’t seem to smile around here (going for  run, you nod acknowledge say good morning, etc…nothing, blank stare through..) this place is beautiful and I have never experienced cars stopping so far in advance for you to cross the road. We are talking you just have to be near a crossing or even look at it and they will stop. That never happens in the UK.

The week just gone did allow me to have a meeting with our academic link here at the University of Stavanger (UiS) and I was able to gain some enlightenment on the structure and general situation for nursing here in Stavanger.

Student nurses here at UiS (which I have discovered is a common thing in Norway generally) train as general nurses. They do not specialise unless they take on a masters. There are no specific adult, child, mental health or learning disability nurses training at an undergraduate level.

Their placement and theory time like ours is split 50/50 and they have placements in throughout their three years. They have one placement in there first year in which all students go to a nursing home. Students do not enter a hospital environment until there second year, where, continuing into there third year, they undertake placements in medical, surgical, community and mental health settings. Unlike our system they do not have anything that resembles a management placement. The end of their third year consists of them carrying out their thesis (dissertation) and then going on a six week elective. This I found a very interesting deviation, as up until this point we share many similarities in the structure of our training to Norway. This has brought me to think thus far, that, in this instance, student nurses in the UK are prepared and exposed to a far greater amount of leadership and management training and experience than our Norwegien counterparts. What will be very interesting to see is if this has any reflection in practice. I also hope to find out when I have a greater exposure in practice, to understand why that is.

I mentioned that we are similar in our training structure. This is the case, however one other element which does deviate slightly is that their theory and practice assessments are given the same weight as each other. In the UK, and in Nottingham I can only directly relate this, our placement grading makes up a far smaller proportion of our final grade. This also only came in in the year I started my training (2012), as until then, your performance in practice held no direct influence over your final grading. Personally, I prefer this over the current system we have. I feel that your ability and performance in practice should count for a far greater amount in your degree than it currently does. To give an example, each semester at UiS you get 20 ETC (European Transfer Credits though it goes up to 30 in the third year), and a practice block is weighted at 10 ECTs the same as a theory block.

The students here at UiS have a similar work load when it comes to assessment, however, what is most obvious from the offset is that exams are used more frequently. I tend to feel that we have death by written assignment, and that a more balanced way of assessing students would not go amiss.

Nurse education here in Norway is potentially undergoing a radical change. At present there is a national curriculum set, a bit like the NMC sets in the UK, which every institution has to follow. There is a greater North and South divide in Norway, with Northern areas and districts (those outside of a main city) not having the full range of services on offer. With Norway being a much larger and longer country than the UK, things here are very spread out and the current thinking is that the curriculum is to strict, and instead, to hand over control of the curriculum to individual universities and colleges. There would still be a minimum standard set, but it would be far more flexible. I can see the benefits of doing this, however, I can see that this might produce a much greater variance in the experiences and abilities of nurses on qualifying. How do you govern and ensure that patient care is going to be of a high standard from nurses no matter where they have trained, if the educational standards and training are not on an equal footing?

I could go into a list of the clinical skills students get taught/are expected to be able to perform, but I am currently still wading through the pack which details them. Trying to decipher the differences and understand the system may be something I get a greater understanding off in practice. Plus I would really like to get mentors and qualified nurses opinions here about where they think about the the diversity, amount and importance of those clinical skills taught. 

I will leave you with a nice little statistic which has become one of the most obvious things I have noticed since I have been here. People generally are of of a slim disposition. Despite the rates for men and women regarding being overweight or obese on the rise, they currently only sit at about 21% for women and 33% for men (Statistics Norway, 2013). Compare this to the UK where 57% of women and 67% of men are overweight or obese (Public Health England, 2o14). Now that is quite a contrast. To be honest, you can rarely go out anywhere without seeing people out walking/running/or pavement skiing (no I am not joking, think wheels on the bottom of skis and then just push yourself along). It will be interesting to see the rates of diabetes and cardiovascular conditions here compared to that of the UK. I really cannot wait to start in practice. I have a feeling there are going to be some massive contrasts (I have already been tipped off about the lack of paper work compared to the UK, this excites me). 

Any idea what the Norwegian is for thankyou?

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(a view outside the plane over the North Sea heading towards Stavanger)

A 03:30 start is never fun. The only time I have ever seen that time in the morning have been on the (used to be more frequent/I no longer have a life realisation) return of a night out. Failing that rowing or getting up for a shift (that is closer to 4:00/04:30 to be fair) would be the other moments when that time in the morning would be witnessed.

Having landed safe and sound, I discovered that the public transport here in Stavanger would appear to outdo that of the UK slightly in terms of frequency and being on time. I discovered that the cheapest way (this is going to be a running theme) of travelling was by public transport even if it does take twice as long and cost the UK equivalent of around £4 for a single. Makes buses in England now seem economical. Though I do now miss my car.

A more exciting discovery was the location of accommodation. Normally nursing students on an exchange here are located in the university campus accommodation which is on the outskirts of the city. I find myself in the city center and a lot closer to the hospital I will be on placement, which is based centrally. The campus is a fair 50 minute walk from our accommodation/hospital, so getting up for a placement starting at 07:00 would have been a little less desirable if I had been based on the campus. As with most city living, you pay for the location. The only downside of this place is that it is the most expensive accommodation I could have been given. I would like to point out here that I didn’t get any say in the matter you were just allocated where there was space. The room is pretty bare and basic, but after a trip to Ikea, and a rearrangement of furniture, I have managed to make the place look a little less sparse.

The accommodation is a house shared with around 6 other people on one floor (there are 2 floors, but my floor also has a separate but adjoining flat with 5 other people in it). Currently there are only 3 of us living on my floor, so it makes kitchen/bathroom sharing a lot easier. I did find out this morning that the shower is INCREDIBLE. Nothing beats a decent shower, other than decent heating (this place is also very warm), and coffee (I may have to curb my habit while I am here due to the cost of it. Not going to be easy. However I am living with an Italian who has already offered me the use of his cafetiere and coffee 😀 complete winner).

The basement of this house has been turned into 2 huge common rooms with table football, an out of tune piano and a laundry room (its free, another upside of this place despite the overall cost of rent, about £423 per month, which I know is better than London but not by much). Past residents have left infinite amounts of laundry powder so that is one expense I am not longer going to have to worry about.

Despite the majority of Norwegians being able to speak in English, I do feel guilty that I have none, even please and thankyou are an unknown. Cue a download of a Norwegian dictionary and a desperate attempt to pronounce the words properly to the great amusement of anyone listening. I can only hope that 3 months here is going to produce something that sounds like the language is supposed to. And not cause complete confusion and people just speaking back to you in English because you clearly have no idea.