Janina Gleed

My trip to Norway


This summer I was fortunate enough to travel to Norway (Camp Explorience) as part of the Lions Club Youth Exchange. I was initially attracted to this programme because it offered the opportunity to meet people from all over the world while being able to experience the culture and way of life of a country different to my own. Although I didn't have any expectations when going on this programme, I can now say that it surpassed any that I could have had.

The first of the three weeks I was going to be spending in Norway was spent in a host family getting to know the way of life in Norway. Another camp participant from Belarus and I were fortunate enough to stay in the family home of a couple who were extremely welcoming and immediately made us both feel at home. Roar and Aasa, my host-parents, wanted us to experience and learn about Norway as much as possible so we had quite a few day trips out, for example to an old timber farm in the mountains, a celebration in town, museums and to Hunderfossen, a family park and one of Norway's most popular tourist attractions. We got to taste traditional Norwegian food such as Brunost, a Norwegian brown cheese, and Lefse, a traditional soft Norwegian flatbread as well as being treated to Aasa's homemade Norwegian waffles and cakes. 

My camp hosted 25 students from a variety of countries including Brazil, Denmark, Taiwan, Israel, Indonesia and Greece, and was based on the use of nature. This meant that we were often outdoors doing active things such as waterskiing, rock climbing and hiking in the mountains. Other activities included canoeing, mountain biking and zip-lining with other more relaxing activities such as boat trips and a visit to Oslo mixed in. 

Over the two week camp we stayed in four different locations: two different boarding schools, a mountain school and cabins with no electricity or hot water. I really enjoyed this aspect of the trip as each location offered us a different experience of Norway not only enabling us to pack in as many different experiences and activities as possible but also gave us stunning views of Norway while traveling between camps. Living in the cabins with no running water or electricity was a very refreshing experience. Personally, I found it was like having a holiday on a holiday. The cabins are used by the Norwegian Trekking Association and we stayed here for three days which gave us long enough to experience this activity which many Norwegians traditionally do in their holidays. We spent evenings sat around the campfire, cooking sausages and making Snobrød. Some of us ended up going in the lake to wash which, despite the cold, ended up being one of my stand out moments from this camp. Other memorable moments include lying down and relaxing on a mountain edge with everyone after trekking up a mountain, two canoes tipping over in the lake and everyone standing around the fire trying to get dry, and deciding with everyone to find our way down to the lake for a late night swim which, despite not knowing the way, we managed after an hour. What I will remember most fondly, however, will be the people I met at the camp and the friendships we formed. Spending three weeks doing activities and experiencing a new country together, you are bound to get to know people quite well but I don't think you ever really expect to form such close connections with some people. I believe I am fortunate enough to call 24 other people from around the world my friends and a few of us are already planning to meet up in Germany later this year. 

Finally, I would like to give huge thanks to the Lions Club for all their support and generosity which has enabled me to experience the culture and way of life of a beautiful country while forming close friendships with people I would never have otherwise met. For this, I am very grateful. 

20170802 13093320170730 110252 

20630098 1182989678474238_1488334348_o  20170803 120722 

  20662683 1421635557891760_36033550_o FB IMG_1503506878910

FB IMG_1501797094469FB IMG_1503506805468

FB IMG_1501930256298  FB IMG_1501930245954

FB IMG_1503506884123