During my studies in business and communication I spent all time possible abroad, feeling that this gave me a peace and better motivation to learn than I would have done at a cramped student library or my tiny apartment back home.
As a Norwegian student (in 2017*) you will receive 103 950NOK/almost 15 000EUR as a full time student from the government, where only 60% would have to be paid back, and 40% will be given as a scholarship. When living in Norway, this is regarded as a minimum, but if you go to India or Thailand, this would be enough to stay at a guest house by the beach, drink freshly made juices and write your papers on a calm, quiet, stress free setting.
Today, with the rise of so called MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), learning away from home has become much easier. Instead of having to show up for compulsory lectures, delivering hand ins in a paper format and showing up for exams, it is possible to study at your own pace and finish high quality university courses completely online.
So far I have only tried the course IKT i læring MOOC* which requires a whole lot of studying but has been rewarding in the sense that it provides quality lectures from YouTube, lecturers slides through Present-It and a comment fields for other students to review your work throughout the course. At the end it is possible to sign up as a student of NTNU and get 15 credits if you pass.
Big universities such as Stanford, Princeton and Harward have already created free and open online courses for their studies and I believe this is the future of learning. MOOCs can create a more equal world by being available for people in with all kinds of social statuses, it provides flexible learning and is something I can recommend testing out.
*Based on the rates provided by the Norwegian Education Fund, Lånekassen, January 2017: https://www.lanekassen.no/nb-NO/Stipend-og-lan/Utland/Hvor-mye/Basisstotte/
* Program description about the course “IKT i læring/ICT for learning”: https://www.ntnu.no/videre/ikt-i-laering
It has become a tradition go abroad for New Years and I have previously celwbrated in cities like Tokyo, Kiev, Bangkok and Istanbul and this year I chose to go to Tallinn.
Since New Years landed on a Saturday we only had the weekend to explore the city, which was enough and then we had a couple of nights to celebrate the end of 2016.
New Years Eve was a blast. Better than anywhere I have celebrated before. After warmikgng up with beer pong at the hostel, we went to freedom square where there was a free open air concert, packed with people who had come for the countdown. The rest of the night was danced away in a massive club called Kultuurikatel. I liked it so much that I amam already considering coming back for new years next year as well.
I’ve been living ny whole life saying that I will never go on chartered package holidays, but when my parents invited the whole family to celebrate my fathers 60th birthday I was glad to join.
They had booked a five star resort called Lopesan Beobab for a full week, meals included. I was now a charter tourist, and believe it or not but life there wasn’t all that bad either! The hotel was in Meloneras, a quiet area in the south and lots of pools, a good gym and workout sessions for the guests. Instead of just sleeping in a sunchair me and my brothers treated ourself as we were in a bootcamp. We were up before the sun every morning to do yoga, swam a few rounds in the pool, then hit the gym and maybe did a HIT (high intensity training) session or went for a jog in the evening when the air was cooler. Right next to the hotel was the Madpalomad Desert where you could hike the dunes and see lots of nudists walking around with their junk out.
I also had a rental car for five days, costing me only 5euros a day. On one of the days I took my parents and the car tofor the top of the island visiting a bodega for wine tasting and hiking up the famous Rocke Nublo at almost 1700meters.
The landscape around Roque Nublo was quite amazing!
All in all it was quite alright, and even though I will not prioritize going on chartered trips instead of backpacking I will not say that I am never going on another charter package holiday again.
When it comes to driving, Malta is a mess. Luckily my dive master from Dive Systems was used to it and drove me through the one was streets, through hills, curves andog traffic until we got to the port of the Il Hnejja Grotto (Blue cave) where we got out of the car and into our scuba gear.
We didn’t have to swim more than a.few minutes before being at 30 meters depth and by the Um el Faroud, a Libyan ten thousand tonne oil tanker that had an explosion and sunk together with nine of its crewmembers in 1995.
Diving through the wreck was great, but the best was looking up when we were halfway across where the tanker had broken in the middle. There must have been hundreds of Barracudas swimminh in a school above us!
On the second day of diving I went with this Russian dive instructor called Sergey. He took me to the north of the island to dive around a tugboat called P29 and a giant shipwreck called MV Rozi. Sergey was like a non stop guide, telling me all there was to know about Malta on the way- a great lad!
The dive sites at the North were a lot like the ones in the south. The ships and underground landscape were fantastic, but there was not much to see in terms of underwater life. We saw a few mooray eels, some barracudas and tunas, but Sergey explained to me that due to overfishing all the squid, that there used to be so many of, were gone.
The wreck MV Rozi with a canon on the front!
My main purpose of going to Malta was to dove, which I would reccommend everyone to do, but I also had a rental car and got to see some more of what the island had to offer. Together with people from my hostel I got to see forts, churches, the Mdina and the nightlife that Malta is so famous for. I had a blast and I will have to come back, especially to see Gozo which is a neigbor island more like how Malta used to be back in the days.