A new school year has begun, bringing with it new students who have many questions about what to do in Volda: how to survive in Norway (with higher costs on many products that one used to be able to have daily), or simply, how to find your place and create a temporary home here. As an international student, who has already spent two years here, I feel like I’m in a good position to give some advice and share some tips that I’ve found helpful during my time in Volda.
USE YOUR SMARTPHONE
As simple as it sounds, you can use your phone to find your way around in Norway, and I am not just talking about using Google Maps. Here is list of some apps I find very useful:
As you have all probably noticed by now, the weather changes quite quickly here. The easiest way to prepare for this and pick the right clothes for the day is to be aware of the weather forecast. The best app I discovered is called «YR», which tells you the forecast for an actual day and upcoming week, hour by hour and is mostly quite precise. Also, you can easily check different places in Norway (and around the world), so that you can choose the right clothes for hiking, travelling etc.
The beauty of the north itself, the Northern lights, is something everyone is eager to see. And it’s best to be prepared and ready. You can of course check one of the many websites that shows the prediction for the lights, but what’s even better is to get an app that will give you push notifications when they seem to be strong. You can find a bunch of them, both on Google Play and Apple Store, but the one I’ve been satisfied with lately is called “Nordlysvarsel”.
Get help while hiking or going on trips
“Hjelp 113-GPS” is an app that tells you your exact location in degrees, minutes and address (if available). In case you get lost while hiking or travelling, it will help you to find where you are or call 113 for help.
Save money on food
The food prices, right? Different shops have various offers every week and some shops also have the 10 kroners offer once in a while. But if you want to save money on a regular basis, get an app called “Mattilbud”. With this app you can see current flyers for different shops, or you can just search by categories – like meat, cheese, veggies and so on – and see where the cheapest offers are.
SAVE MONEY ON FOOD
Talking about food, there are some other methods of getting food, and sometimes even for free. The first one is of course fishing. Fishing is free at open water and now you can also borrow fishing rods from Pangaia. Tips on fishing are also available. Another popular option is dumpster diving. As it might sound gross at first, it’s actually a pretty good way to save some coins from time to time. Norway has high standards in regards to food quality, which means that food can be thrown out when it’s still edible. So you can often find packed bread, other baked-goods, vacuumed veggies or even meat in dumpsters around shops. But be careful, because according to Norwegian law this isn´t totally legal. The reason for that is that the dumpsters are owned by someone, and it is therefore categorized as stealing. If you get caught you can end up with some pretty high fines.
Around Volda University College, you can find plenty of different organizations that are into travelling, nature, sports and media (like the newspaper, TV or radio). So you are pretty free to find something that fits you the best. The best advice I can give is this: travel, explore, enjoy the place and get to know the Norwegian culture. So don’t be shy, get to know people, get involved in events and try to make the most out of your stay in Volda!