Mays Business School, September 19th, 2023
When I landed in Norway I immediately felt the weather difference. It’s almost 50-60 degrees everyday, which is practically winter for Texas. I also noticed public bathrooms, transportation, and streets were a lot cleaner than they are in the U.S. After a few days, I quickly realized that Norway is extremely environmentally friendly and the societal norm is to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle that prioritizes family. It’s extremely rare to find a trash can in a public building that doesn’t make you separate your trash into plastic, paper, glass, and compost. Oslo is known for the majority of its people obtaining a hobby of running or biking, even the children are encouraged to run and bike with their families at a young age. On Sundays, practically everything is closed except for emergency services and churches, and people use this time to spend all day outside with their families before the cold and very dark winter approaches. The main difference I notice between Norway and the U.S is the government policies and the peoples perspective on equality. In Norway I’ve seen one homeless person and I’m living in the “Austin, Texas” of Norway. This is because the government allocates tax money differently, so those who are unemployed have shelter and a chance to get back on their feet once they’re employed. The government takes care of those in poverty. However, it’s not just the government, it’s the people too. The community is okay with using their tax money to support those who are seeking employment, assylum, or shelter. Equality in the U.S is giving every citizen an equal opportunity to go to school and make a living regardless of their family background or income. Equality in Norway is allocating more resources to those who are in greater need rather than those who are already well off, so the families with lower income are equally as successful as those who come from a wealthier background. Lastly, there’s no ego that comes with the hierarchy of power. The Prime Minister lives in a normal house, goes to the store down the street, and bikes with his family in the park like every other citizen. The professors prefer to be called by their first name, like you’re addressing a friend. Those in positions of power live in humility. The exchange students are all super outgoing and eager to make friends at my school, however the Norwegains are known to be themselves and only build deep friendships over extremely long periods of time. Regardless they’re still super nice, but being introverted is considered polite in this culture. Overall, the culture is so different yet so amazing and I can’t wait to see the way it shapes me as a person as I broaden my perspective this semester.