Archive for August, 2009

A few things I forgot to mention…

August 29, 2009

I think there have been a few details I forgot about in previous posts, so here’s a quick update – though no doubt, I will forget to include everything in this post!!

I am still living in the hotel – I have been here for almost two weeks now. Earlier this week I received an email informing me that there are rooms available at Bjolsen Studentby, and it would be possible to change my contract from Krinsgja to Bjolsen. I decided against moving to Bjolsen, for a number of reasons, including that I have friends in Kringja, Sognsvann lake is beautiful, the T-Bane station is closer to Kringsja, Bjolsen is more expensive and, the all important decider, SIO Accommodation are currently paying for my hotel room, which is in the perfect location of the centre of Oslo. Why would I move and begin to pay for a room when I’m not obliged to?! Also, Su (my chinese room mate) managed to get her room in Sogn Studentby on Thursday, so she has now moved out & I have a hotel room all to myself! Fantastic!!

Adrian, the third year student I have been speaking with this past week, adores Russell Brand! His English accent is almost perfect – there is hardly a hint of any foreign accent, and he is so fluent it’s like talking with an English person. I don’t even have to speak slowly or repeat myself, and he has a vocabulary range that is astounding. In truth, all Norwegians are completely fluent – definitely the best English speaking country I have heard, it really is remarkable. I have heard very little Nor-English – this only occurs from the teachers, if I’m honest. I think it’s possibly because they may not have learnt English from such a young age? Nowadays, it really is the Universal language.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this in my video – but Agnes is studying Costume, Eva is studying Interior Architecture and Furniture, whilst Alicia and myself are on the BA Visual Communication. I have yet to see the Norwegian exchange student in one of our classes, which baffles me slightly?

I am due to begin Norwegian lessons in a few weeks time. I’m disappointed that it’s taken so long to arrange because the longer I have little knowledge of the language, the more I look like the stereotype of the ‘ignorant English’. At least the other students are having to speak in a second tongue! I just look lazy. I intend to continue with Norwegian when I come back to England because it is so similar to the other Scandinavian languages – the difference between the languages is more based upon dialect, so alike the differences between Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England? I think there are 18 million people in Scandinavia? Knowing Norwegian would allow me to access 18 million people via my Graphic Design! Last night I learnt that ‘skål’ means cheers! It is pronounced ‘Sk-oh-l’

I have also heard from the Student Stop AIDS Society back in England, so there is more work for them to be done! I’m going to be collaborating with James Addison to create their Briefing booklet, along with posters for various campaigns and events! I love creating work that means something to me & has a real impact on life. There is quite a quick turnaround for this project, so I thought it better to collaborate – a problem shared is a problem halved, no? Not that this really classifies as a problem! James is so talented, it will be really great to work with him & the work will no doubt be truly fantastic. It’s all quite exciting! I will write more about this project on my regular blog: http://alexandraclarke.wordpress.com

I think that was everything for now…!

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My Oslo social life.

August 29, 2009

So, I’ve introduced you to my educational week in Oslo, I though I’d explain a little bit about the times outside of class…

Earlier this week, on Monday, I met with an Australian student called Tom – he showed me Aker Brygge and around the docks. It’s really lovely there – the boats leave to go to the Fjords, there are numerous bars & restaurants, and there are also lots of new apartments. It reminded me of the work that is currently being done on the docks at Ipswich, England. Apparently Tom came to Oslo two years ago, whilst all the work around Aker Brygge was beginning. Some of it is still ongoing, but it’s a gorgeous area that buzzes with life late in to the night. As we walked past TGI Friday I noticed that the Liverpool v Aston Villa match was on in the bar, leading us to more drinking! I paid 100 kr for a Mojito – about £10, so a little bit more than I would pay in England. Most cocktails were about 100 kr, cider is around 70 kr but it’s too sweet?

On the Tuesday, I went to an ‘International Night’ held at the bar in Sogn Studentby. There I met a number of new people from all across the globe, it was a really good night. Sabine & I shared a bottle of wine, which cost 150 kr, about £15.

A group of us at International Student Night.

A group of us at International Student Night.

Later on that night, one of the International students I had met came into the centre of Oslo. His name is Ben and he is from the US – it’s nice to find students from English speaking countries because their knowledge of English allows for more humorous conversation? I laughed a lot during this night! We went and took photos of the Opera House, in the rain, until 3.30am! It was so spontaneous, great company & the photos are fantastic.

A photo of a section of Oslo Opera House.

A photo of a section of Oslo Opera House.

A photo of part of the Oslo Opera House.

A photo of part of the Oslo Opera House.

Making silhouettes against the Oslo Opera House.

Making silhouettes against the Oslo Opera House.

On Thursday, I was invited to have dinner by Janita – a Norwegian girl I met in ‘Devilles’ bar last week. She lives down Torgatta, about 5 minutes from my hotel. Janita, her flatmate Susanne and I ordered vegetable pizza & watched ‘Låt den rätte komma in’ – a Swedish vampire film, that I believe has received great critical acclaim. I really enjoyed it. I had a great evening with the two girls – they told me of many places in Oslo to visit, including underground clubs etc. They have also said they will take me to Denmark to buy cheap alcohol – apparently the trip across via boat is normally a really good laugh. I cannot wait! Whilst we were talking about drinking & I was mentioning how expensive alcohol is in Norway, they told about ‘home-brew’ (also known as MoonShine) which is an illegal drink that is 97% – it is possible to go blind, and also to die from drinking this stuff, though apparently only if it is not made correctly. 97% alcohol!? Woah.

Every Friday, KHiO has it’s own party – people from outside KHiO come along, and the proceeds go toward the second year Visual Communication trip to Japan. It’s held in the cafeteria, DJ’s perform and the drinks are cheap! It’s a really good atmosphere and also allow the new students to get to know each other. I had a really good night, I hung out with Adrian – a third year Vis Comm student that I get along really well with, and introduced him to a number of the 1st year Vis Comm students too. It ended at 2am, at which point I walked the 10 minutes back to my hotel – I think the last train to Kringsja is around 12.30am, so I won’t be able to stay until the end during most weeks unless I pay for a taxi, or look into getting a night bus.

Sarah & Myself - KHiO Party.

Sarah & Myself - KHiO Party.

Today, I am intending on working on my project – I want to have a good deal of progression & development to show on Monday. I have an idea that I really like, so I am going to finalise a few things and begin work later on… I also might head out to a flea market with Janita and Susanne, and then possibly head to Hovedøya – one of the Oslo Fjords. Eva, the exchange student from Belgium, has also invited me to her Studentby – she is at Bjølsen, to cook some dinner! What a busy day I have! I’m having the time of my life & I don’t intend to stop anytime soon!

My first week @ KHiO

August 29, 2009

I have officially survived a week at KHiO! I absolutely LOVE it here, I don’t think I’ve been this happy in a long time.

The second day at KHiO began with another welcoming ceremony – this time involving the entire academy. It was held at the new build, at Fossveien 24. At present they are still building there, though certain areas have been completed & so a few faculties – namely, the theatre and opera, I believe – have moved in. The build is due to be completed in time for next year, so I have arrived at KHiO at the end of an era! After this year, Ullevålsveien 5 will be no more!

The new KHiO build, Fossveien 24, Oslo.

The new KHiO build, Fossveien 24, Oslo.

Anyway, the opening ceremony  was in Norwegian, but it was really interesting. It was held in the ‘hall’ – which is more of an open space for people to meet, eat and relax? It’s not like an auditorium, where there are rows upon rows of seats. It gave the ceremony a really nice atmosphere. Some of the students performed as well – a Norwegian folk song opened the ceremony. They were fantastic, it was really nice to see a display of the talent at the school. Apparently we are allowed to go and watch the performances for free, if we register our names beforehand – I will definitely be doing that!

Afterwards, we had a meeting about the IT facilities and processes with logging on etc… a little bit boring, so I won’t go into detail! We also received our KHiO student cards! I am officially a KHiO student!

On Wednesday, we were briefed on our first project. It reads like a story & is very different to any brief from AUCB.

Map Design brief from KHiO

Map Design brief from KHiO

The basic story reads that I was an exchange student in Japan for one year & a Japanese family were very kind to me – taking me to many sights, such as Tokyo, Kyoto, etc… They have decided to come to Norway and want my help in advising them where to visit. They have a fair amount of money & plan to spend one month in the country, with at least one week spent in Oslo. The father is a history professor, the mother an architect, their daughter is an art grad student, whilst their son is 21, likes music and is interested in food or becoming a chef. They require two maps: one of Oslo, one of Norway. The maps have to be on PAPER and can only be ONE SIDED. They must also be able to be mailed to Japan.

I have until the 4th September to complete the project, when I will present it to the rest of my class. Unlike England, where there are criteria to guide me – Kai (the tutor) has given us this open brief & wants us to use our own style to create an visually interesting map. Kai has a collection of maps – alike many creative people, he hoards things!

I really like this brief – it’s very open, but there are limitations due to the fact that we are creating a map & there are quite obvious requirements of map design, such as legibility, transportation etc. It’s quite difficult to think of a way to create a unique and interesting map – the normal and most coherent communication in map design is the use of symbols, colours, numbers etc to signify specific areas of interest. I think that this is unavoidable and to try anything different could affect the communication of the message & possibly confuse the user. I have decided that the way to approach these designs is not to change the MAP, more the way it is presented on the page.

We are generally left to do our own research and designs, though we can ask the tutors for guidance and/or the other students. We are due to meet on Monday to discuss our progress so far.

My first day at KHiO.

August 29, 2009

So, here is a video I decided I would make to tell you about my day… big mistake. Not only did it cut out halfway through, it took so much effort to get it into a format that I can post for you to see! But finally, it works! SO, I’m going to type about the rest of my first day at KHiO. Watch the video below first, and then carry on reading! 

So, I began to tell you about the competition. The students entered work that was up against a number of Japanese students, many of whom were in their fourth year. The Norwegian students who submitted work were all from their 1st year & they received some praise for their designs. From what I gathered, the competition was about ‘Reflectors’ and the designs had to make fashionable items reflective. One student designed a selection of gloves that used reflective thread, another designed a collection of Tote bags with reflective designs. It was interesting to see the ideas behind the work.

Once the presentation was over, we went down to the cafeteria to have a chance to get to know each other. The third years didn’t come along – they have all been working together for a number of years, so they already know each other! Alicia, the exchange student from Barcelona, and I sat with the first year Visual Communication students. They all seem really nice & we had a really good time chatting with them. Being sat in the same working space as the third years, I don’t doubt that we will get to know them soon. It’s nice that we can get to know the other years too.

Edvard Munch Museet.

August 23, 2009

I have never considered myself very impressed by Edvard Munch. ‘The Scream’ is a classic painting – also very well reknowned (along with ‘Madonna’ for being stolen from this very museum) but I have never thought it as one of my favourite pieces of art.

After seeing the Edvard Munch Museum though, I have to change my opinion on the artist, and to some extent ‘The Scream’.

I was going to post a photo of ‘The Scream’, but after seeing it first hand it is apparent that none of the prints do the painting justice.

The museum gave a great insight into the life of Munch – losing both his mother and sister to TB at a young age, failed relationships and having his work ridiculed and opposed numerous times during his life. He suffered from a breakdown partway through his life & he spent the last years of his life in almost total solitude in Norway. He left all his works to the City of Oslo – leading to the incredible collection on display at the museum.

The variety of mediums he used in his work is incredible – oils on canvas, wood, charcoal, lithography… It is his less famous works that I prefer. They aren’t as well known, which is a shame because some of them are truly spectacular & support his status as an amazing artist. Below is ‘Madonna’, a version of one of his famous works. I really like that he would often do a number of versions of his works using different mediums, such as lithography.

Madonna (lithograph) Edvard Munch. 1895 - 1902. Available from: http://www.hunterian.gla.ac.uk/munch/images/gallery/800px/madonna.jpg

Madonna (lithograph) Edvard Munch. 1895 - 1902. Available from: http://www.hunterian.gla.ac.uk/munch/images/gallery/800px/madonna.jpg

Pre-Party Kringsja Style!

August 23, 2009

As promised, Roberto invited me to a pre-drinks at Kringsja. I had a really great time, meeting lots of people from all over the world. Many of them are studying at BI, the Management school in Oslo.

Roberto, Hilda, Igor & Myself at the Kringsja pre-party. Photo by Moritz Flunkert.

Roberto, Hilda, Igor & Myself at the Kringsja pre-party. Photo by Moritz Flunkert.

It was really great to meet people at Kringsja, but also great to meet people from such a variety of backgrounds & courses! It was a really interesting night. One thing I will say though, I have never found alcohol SO expensive! I bought SIX cans of CIDER and it cost me 200 kr i.e. £20 – TWENTY POUNDS!! How does cider manage to cost so much!? It’s unbelievable… They do have a system where you return your cans to the store and receive 1 kr per can back – 10pence, but it’s good that they have a recycling system in place.

I had taken my camera – minus the memory card. I was so annoyed…

After the pre-party, the majority of those at the party left to go into the centre of Oslo. I didn’t go with them – most of them were BI students from the same course, so it was more of a ‘course’ night out and I didn’t want to intrude. I helped Roberto clean up & got the 23.55 train back to Jernbanetorget.

The train was full of drunk students headed to Chateau Neuf or to another club, the name I do not know. Chateau Neuf appears to be like a Student Union? It is right next to the Music Academy.

When the train reached Blindern, a group of Norwegians got on & I began talking with them. They were headed to a rock bar and got off at Nationaltheatret station, two stops before my station. I decided to take a risk – and got off at Nationaltheatret too. The rock bar turned out to be just down the street from my hotel – quite why they got off two stops before Jernbanetorget, I’m not quite sure? The bar was quite small but filled with people. We got a couple of rounds of Heineken – 150 kr (£15) for a MASSIVE jug of Heineken, and three pint glasses to share it, though I didn’t end up paying for a round myself?! When it came to getting the third round, no one wanted another drink – which was great news for me, though I did feel bad!

I had a really good night talking with Christian and Jo – managing to meet Janita, as well as a girl studying Graphic Design at another art academy in Oslo. I switched details with Janita – we are planning on visiting the Botanical Museum at some point next week, and talked politics with the boys. I found it strange that I could talk about Politics, as it’s not something I have ever thought I was interested in – obviously I subconsciously take in much more information than I think!!

Listening to the cricket, time for an Oslo update…

August 23, 2009

It is Sunday & I have had a lazy day! I actually have not left the hotel. Originally, the plan was the visit the Vigelandsparken (sculpture park) and possibly the Viking Ship Museum, but after beginning to listen to the Ashes, I cannot tear myself away!! So, I have resolved to update my blog on every going on in Oslo so far.

I joined a Facebook group for people living at Kringsja Studentby and then wrote on the wall, hoping to meet some people at Kringsja whilst I am stuck in the centre of Oslo! A Brazilian called Roberto messaged me and said he would invite me to any parties that his apartment had. On Wednesday I went to see the lake at Kringsja – called Sognsvann, I believe. It is such a stunning view – I really cannot wait to live at Kringsja!

View of Kringsja Lake.

View of Kringsja Lake.

Earlier on Wednesday, before visiting the lake, I walked with Sabine to the Music Academy for her first day. It is about a half hour walk from the hotel, and we chose to walk past the Slottet – the Royal Palace, and through the Slottsparken.

The Royal Palace, Oslo.

The Royal Palace, Oslo.

Slottsparken, Oslo.

Slottsparken, Oslo.

After reaching her University, I decided to walk back in the general direction of the hotel – I didn’t go back the same route & I didn’t take out a map, until I wanted to really know where I was! I managed to find my way onto St Olavs Gate and on that road is the Museum of Applied Art. Ironically, the next road is Ullevalsveien 5 – where KHiO is. It was free to look at the exhibitions & it was really interesting. There was an visiting exhibition ‘Norway Says 10’ celebrating the tenth anniversary of a group of Norwegian designers who have gained international recognition for their work – Norway Says consist of Torbjorn Anderssen, Andreas Engesvik and Espen Voll. The exhibition showcased their furniture that has introduced the world to Norwegian design.

Kunstindustrimuseet, Oslo.

Kunstindustrimuseet, Oslo.

The Kunstindustrimuseet (Museum for Applied Arts) is a part of the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design – which has four buildings around Oslo; The National Museum of Architecture, The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Museum of Decorative Arts & Design (Applied Arts) & The National Gallery. For more information on The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design (the photo shown above was from their site) please visit: http://www.nationalmuseum.no

Before the adventure…

August 23, 2009

I forgot to mention that my family and I traveled to Heathrow on the Sunday night, to stay in a hotel because it would be easier than waking extremely early to drive to the airport. We still had to wake up at 5am though…

Anyway, the hotel – ‘Thistle’ something(?) was directly behind Terminal 5, where I was due to depart from the next day. The corridors were never ending, and reminded my sister of the Titanic…

The restaurant in the hotel wasn’t particularly good – the only thing really going for it was the view of Terminal 5! Amazing.

 

View of Terminal 5 from the restaurant.

View of Terminal 5 from the restaurant.

Life at Rica Oslo Hotel.

August 23, 2009

Living at a hotel is actually quite nice – after being told that SIO (the student accommodation company) would be paying for the room & I would also be allowed a free breakfast, along with free internet, not being allocated my room immediately seemed great! Not only is the Rico Oslo Hotel in the very centre of Oslo – directly by Oslo S, the main train station in the city but it is also surrounded, and within walking distance of all attractions. If I were to be living at Kringsja, it would require traveling on the T Bane to visit anywhere.

That’s not to say that I haven’t purchased or used the T Bane – which is actually very easy to understand and use, once you are used to the ticket machines. There are six train lines, which join the same track at the centre of the city. To see the map, look below or on the link: http://www.tbane.no/userfiles%5CLinjekart.pdf

T-Bane, Oslo. Available from: http://www.tbane.no/userfiles%5CLinjekart.pdf

T-Bane, Oslo. Available from: http://www.tbane.no/userfiles%5CLinjekart.pdf

A single adult ticket costs 25kr – about £2.50 for an hours travel. There is an option for a ‘Flexikort’ (180kr) which entitles the rider to 8 journeys (each journey with the limit of an hour) but you must remember to stamp your ticket in the yellow machines. Trains are fairly regular and, so far, they have been on time. My hotel is at Jernbanetorget, so to get to Kringsja I take the Green Line (3) in the direction of Sognsvann. These train comes through Jernbanetorget four times an hour for the majority of the day, with normally about a 15 minute wait between the arrival of the train to Sognsvann.

For those that don’t like how crowded the English Tube is – the T-Bane stations have much more space, are far less crowded and also not so far underground! Once outside the centre of the city, they are not underground anymore.

So, enough about the T-Bane. This is where I am living right now:

My room at the Rico Oslo Hotel.

My room at the Rico Oslo Hotel.

I have a room mate called Su, she is from China. She is studying for an MA in Businness at the BI Management university in Oslo. She will be here for two years & when she is allocated a room to live in, she will be a Sogn accommodation, which is a ten minute walk from Kringsja accommodation. Apparently she has already lived in Denmark for two years – though she cannot speak any Danish!! Her English is good, though she has quite a strong accent.

We have explored around the hotel – we are surrounded by shops, being only one road away from the main shopping street Karl Johans Gate. We bought some food from Kiwi – possibly one of the cheapest food shops to find in Oslo, definitely the most accessible – there are a great number of them around the capital. For this week I am going to be living off Ryvita, cheese, salami, plums & strawberry yoghurt! Yum.

I found out that a number of other student are living in the hotel too – so we asked for a list of the room numbers. We met two girls Sabine (Latvian) and Anna Lisa (German) who are really nice. Sabine is a composer, studying here for a year toward her MA at the Music Academy, whilst Anna Lisa is only here for the semester at NIO, the Sports Academy.

Sabine & I walked around Oslo – reaching the docks and having a quick look at the Akershus Fortress.

The view from the docks at Oslo.

The view from the docks at Oslo.

A building within the Akershus Fortress.

A building within the Akershus Fortress.

The Akershus Fortress surrounds the Castle, the Norwegian Resistance Museum, the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum and (I believe) the old Opera House. It is free to walk around the grounds between certain hours during the day, but there are entrance fees to the museums. Because it was quite late when Sabine & I reached the Fortress, we just walked around and admired the view of the harbour and the city from the Fortress.

View of the harbour from the Akershus Fortress, Oslo.

View of the harbour from the Akershus Fortress, Oslo.

Arriving in Oslo.

August 22, 2009

So, Monday the 17th August was the most hectic day ever.

After reading instructions from KHiO, I decided I should head there first to pick up all the relevant information that I needed, so after arriving in Oslo an hour late due to the wheel change, I got on a bus to the centre of the city. It cost 140 kr and took about 40 minutes. I arrived at the Bussterminalen and walked toward OsloCity – a shopping mall, where I then took the No. 37 bus. I got off at the Nordahl Bruns Gate stop, which is on the same street as KHiO.

The doors to KHiO were locked & there was no answer from reception. I walked around the building, asked people and eventually resorted to sitting by the steps waiting for someone to either go in or out. After a while, I managed to get in – at which point I was told that the lady I would need to speak with was on holiday. So, with the help of a Norwegian student, I went to the train station to go to Kringsja Studentby.

Buying a ticket to get on the train was hard work! In the end of bought a single ticket for 25kr & went to the platform for Train 3 to Sognsvann. When it didn’t arrive on time, I spoke with a Norwegian guy next to me. His accent confused me – it was a strange mixture that sounded very English! He also got onto the train & we talked about Oslo and Ipswich until he reached his station. I carried on to the penultimate stop; Kringsja.

Kringsja platform sign.

Kringsja platform sign.

Kringsja Studentby from the Train Station

Kringsja Studentby from the Train Station

I reached the Reception & sat for near an hour to be seen – I had a ticket with a number, alike the ones you find at meat counters! And the sound to signal an available attendant was like a surgery waiting room! I was so looking forward to having my own room & then I was told that they were FULL. So, I came out of Kringsja and on to the train again, headed back towards Oslo centre. I got off at Jernbanetorget – right by Oslo S (the main train station) and checked in at the Rico Oslo Hotel. The student accommodation are paying for my hotel room, which is a twin with another student. I also get free breakfast & internet – whilst also being in the very heart of Oslo, which is fantastic.

I arrived at the hotel at 4.30pm, very tired and very hungry! I went to get some food from Egon, which cost me 178kr – about £18 for a quesadilla and small coke! Oslo is expensive…! After eating, I came back to the hotel and fell fast asleep!!

Hello Oslo!

August 13, 2009

So, the day has finally arrived.

It has come around far too quickly – I don’t quite understand where the time has gone!! At present, I am sat at Gate A15 at Heathrow Airport, London waiting to board my flight – which has been delayed from 7.55am until 8.30am due to a wheel change. No matter, it allows me time to write my blog.

I forgot how unbelievably huge Heathrow is, I almost started hyper-ventilating when I saw that I would require 10 minutes to reach my gate from the security check ins! Luckily, being in Section A, it’s not that far!!

I’m sat by a sushi bar that has a giant neon butterfly as it’s logo.

 

'Itsu' Heathrow Airport, London.

'Itsu' Heathrow Airport, London.

 

 

Also, has anyone ever noticed how ugly the British Airways uniform is?? I wasn’t able to take a photo without appearing rude or strange, so type it in to Google and let me know what you think!