Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Precautionary Principle: Student insurance

There have been plenty of examples in the newspapers about Norwegians abroad, who were not covered by the Norwegian Welfare Administration when working or studying in US. It is a myth that American hospitals will not give you treatment if you do not have health insurance, but everything will be a lot easier and it can save you from being economically ruined when studying. Norwegian travel insurances will just cover about 45 days of travel. It is therefore imporant to have a student insurance, which covers damages and losses outside of Norway, or just in the US. The two biggest insurance companies for people studying outside of Norway are "Gouda Travels" and "ANSA" (Association for Norwegian Students Abroad). I decided to go for the ANSA insurance, which covers everything I could think of, including extremesports, which was not offered by Gouda. But for both insurances it is important to fill out a form for membership in the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV-Utland), to get the same medical rights as if you would be living in Norway.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


After many attempts and lots of work, the US Government gave up trying to learn Americans the standard measurements used in the rest of the world, such as metres, liter og kilo like it was planned. Now it is the tourist who has to adapt and learn the meaning of miles, pounds, yards, gallons, feet and other measurement standards. After some practice I have found ways of converting temperatures andweight into European measurement standards:

The easiest way is to learn the numbers 30°F, 50°F, 70°F and 90°F which equal the European numbers 0°C, 10°C, 20°C and 30°C. This way is almost correct, but the most accurate way of calculating it is to draw 32 degrees of the original number and multiply the answer with five and then divide it with nine, but this is nothing that can easily be calculated in the head, so I would reccoment you to use the first method.

Is simple to find out if you have a calculator near you. If you want to find out how many grams some ounces are, then you can just multiply the number with 28,35 to get the answer. The other way around you would have to multiply the pounds(16 ounces) with 0,545 to get the number of kilograms.

If you dont have a calculator, you can simply follow the table given:

U.S. Measurements 
Metric Measurements 
1/2 ounce
14 grams
1 ounce
29 grams
1 1/2 ounces
43 grams
16 ounces (1 pound)
454 grams

First step on American soil since 2002

Today, I had my first visit to the American Embassy in Oslo, which is American soil, with American rules and American security. This I could see straigtaway when I entered the building. There were guards and metal detectors that had to be passed, and papers that had to be shown before I could enter.

The American embassy ion Norway is located in Henrik Ibsens gate 48 in Oslo, which is a 10 minute walk from the National Theater along Henrik Ibsens gate in the direction of the Palace. The easiest way is to catch the train from Oslo Central Station to Asker, get out at the National Theater, which is the first stop and just follow the street with all the white Henrik Ibsen quotations until you see the big building on the left side with American flags.

The meetings took less than 10 minutes and went well. I had to wait in line for about half and hour, and when they called out my number, I just went up to the reception and talked to them. They were very straigt to the case, and did not mention anything about my delay (which was about 3 hours).

When you are at the American Embassy there are certain things you should consider to make it go as smoothly as possible:
  1. Have everything ready, like the papers you need to bring (The I-901 Form, I-20 form, DS-156 Form, DS 157 form, DS-158 Form and a paper showing that you will get financial support from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund ), stamps (110NOK to cover the expenses of sending you passport back to you after you got the visa), passport, the Non-Refundable Application Fee (800 NOK or 131 USD cash in exact exchange)  and a picture less than six months old (has to be a standard photo where you have a direct eye gaze, your ears visible unless long hear covers them and no smile).
  2. Do not have any wounds on your hands or fingers, because everyone have to make a fingerscan, and if your wounds are not completely healed you will have to come back again some other time. When enterring, the guards wipe your hands with a cloth and scan this for radiactive activity, gunpower residue and other suspicious materials, so try to keep your hands clean when enterring.
  3. Remember that the consular officers who are working there are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. Keep you answers short and to the point.
  4. Have a positive attitude (some of the consular officers might seem strict at first, but by showing that you are willing to cooperate, they soften a bit)
  5. Do not say, under any circumstances that you want to work in the US after you have finished your studies in the US.Your main purpose for getting a visa is your studies. You may work besides your studies, but keep in mind that this is not why you came there. 
  6. Do not mention the word "terrorism", under any circumstances. Just doing what you have to do, and saying the most neccessary you will be out of the embassy before you know it. Making jokes to the Consular Officer or the guards may make you have to go to jail and ban you from entering the US ever again.
If there is something that the Consular Officer is not satisfied with (that you have filled out the forms wrong, or if you have wounds or small rifts on your fingers) you might have to arrange a new meeing and pay the Non- Refundable Application Fee again, so this is why you need to take this meeting seriosly and be prepared on beforehand.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Course registration

When I was younger my mother always told me that "you cant always have what you want", and that is often how it is. Some weeks ago I sent a mail to the international office with a numerical list of the courses I wanted to attend at Stritch. Today, as the course registration started, I was told which courses I was registered in (marked red):

1.       CA 243 Gender and Communication (3 Cr.)
2.       CA 301 Advanced Public Speaking (3 Cr.)
3.       BU 105 Entrepreneurship (3 Cr.)
4.       CE-ART 192 Introduction to Photography (3.Cr)
5.       CA 252 Persuasive Communication (3 Cr.)
6.       CA 206 Interviewing Techniques (3 Cr.)
7.       CA 210 Group Communication (3 Cr.)
8.       CA 310 Argumentation and Debate (3 Cr.)

9.    SPN 102 Elementary Spanish (3.Cr)
9.       CA 221 Introduction to Broadcasting (3 Cr.)
10.   BU 331 Advertising (3 Cr.)
11.   CA 245 Nonverbal Communication (3 Cr.)
12.   CA 246 Leadership and Communication (3 Cr.)
13.   CA 400 Practicum (3 Cr.)

    It looks like I am only going to study communication this spring at Stritch. I was hoping to study Digital Photography and Entrepreneurship as well, but it seems like they were either full or not offered this semester.

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    Plane tickets to Milwaukee

    After some hours searching for plane tickets at Finn, Kelkoo and Skyscanner I have found out how to find the cheapest tickets from Oslo to Milwaukee. I have tried these tips on other flights as well (such as NYC, Amsterdam and Bankok) and they really worked for me:

    1. Choose the right day to fly: Generally, the cheapest day of the week is Wednesday. The second best days to fly on are Tuesdays and Saturdays. This is probably becuase people travel less on these days.
    2. The first flights in the morning are often the cheapest ones: This will make you arrive in Milwaukee earlier, but it might be pretty uncomfortable if the departure is at 4.00 or 5.00 in the morning.
    3. Dont buy the tickets from a Norwegian page: I saved more than a thousand NOK by buying my ticket from US Airways directly, paying in US Dollars (5,60NOK)
    4. Roundtrips are often more cheap than a one way ticket: a single ticket bought now would cost more than ten thousand NOK, but a roundtrip costs about 6 000NOK. I do not know how the flight companies will earn on this, but it is in my favour so I will not complain.
    5. Book in time: Some might say that if you just wait a littlebit, the flights will be cheaper. I have done a little fare-compare and found out that this is not the truth. Try booking as early as possible, maybe even the day that you get the International Travel Guide from Cardinal Stritch.


    The list of forms and papers that have to be filled out to get an American student visa is long, so its imporant to start early (as soon as you get the confirmation papers from the university). Here is a step by step guide of which papers to start with:
    1. Application for financial support by the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund 
    2. The I-901 Form on the internet, has to be done before you pay the SEVIS fee (200$)
    3. To make an appointment with the US embassy in Oslo, you need to fill out the DS-156 Form online
    4. The DS-158 Form can be downloaded as a PDF-file and printed out (must be brought to the meeting at the embassy)
    5. Recomended: Membership form and insurance form at ANSA (Association of Norwegian Students Abroad)

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Research on things that have to be done

    After some research I have found out that there is a lot that has to be done before one can study in the US. To quickly sum- up: there are forms to be filled, insurances to sign up for, visits to the US-embassy that has to be made, different scholarschips to apply for and practical decisions to be made (such as finding out where to stay, chosing subjects etc.) This I would all have to do during the two months before departure, but just one step at a time.

    The beginning of a story

    Some write diary blogs about their romantic lives, others write blogs about politics. In my blog I will simply write about my experiences from the student exchange semester to Cardinal Stritch University, that I will make in the Spring of 2010. The story of how I ended up at Cardinal Stritch in Milwaukee is simple: as I attended a lecture about studying abroad, with presentations of different Universities, I heard the words "10 000$ scholarship" and "Central- American city with little crime, snow and breweries" which got my attention. A spark was lit in me, and I applied for the study programme.

    After some months of waiting, I finally found a letter in my mailbox saying that i got the scholarship and was accepted at the Cardinal Stritch University in Milwakee, Wisconsin.