Student interview - Iliana Vasiliki Ntinou - hiking
Student interview - Iliana Vasiliki Ntinou - outside in the Artic

“If you want to integrate in the Norwegian society, you better invest in a good pair of hiking shoes”

Name: Iliana Vasiliki Ntinou

Country: Greece

Institution: University of Bergen

Education: MSc in Marine Biology 

Three ways to make Norwegian friends

Iliana Vasiliki Ntinou from Greece spent two years in Bergen while pursuing her MSc. in Marine biology at the University of Bergen.  

When first arriving in Norway, Iliana easily made international friends, but she found it harder to meet Norwegians. "Norwegians are very kind and sweet people but sometimes it is hard to get to know them better".  After living in Norway for nearly a year, she finally cracked the code on how to make Norwegian friends. 

Go hiking 

Iliana quickly discovered that Norwegians love being outdoors in nature, and no coronavirus or bad weather will stop the locals from going hiking or skiing.  

"If you want to integrate in the Norwegian society, you better invest in a good pair of hiking shoes and rainproof clothes", Iliana advises. 

Take part in organised activities 

A great way to meet new people is to take part in one of the many student associations on campus, or other organised activities outside of the university.  

"I started taking part in organised activities such as hiking tours, film nights, dancing lessons, and even joined Papillon woman’s choir. In that way, I had something in common with the rest of the people, we had a shared purpose and thus it was easier to socialize and get to know each other better". 

Learn the language and culture 

While most Norwegians speak excellent English, learning Norwegian offers several advantages both professionally and personally. Bergen’s public library offers “Språkkafé” (language café) while Bergen Red Cross organize “Norsktrening” (Norwegian training) - a semi-structured language practice group. You can also learn basic Norwegian for free through NTNU’s online portal NOW

"A great thing is that most of the activities are for free, or have a student discount", Iliana says.