Posted On July 1, 2014

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So my first year is officially over! In the past academic year I have learnt so much Norwegian, including bizarre terminology in psychology and political science. I have also made some good friends and somehow managed to get really good grades (which, coincidentally, spell out the name of a well known Swedish pop group from the 1970s).

At the start of the year I was seriously wondering if I was going to develop a painkiller addiction due to the sheer number of Norwegian language induced headaches I suffered in the first few weeks. Luckily they subsided and I am so glad that I took the leap and quit my job to go back to school. Don’t get me wrong, it has been really hard – but I am much more proud of my work this year than all the stuff I did before back in the UK. I guess because of the language, but also because I finally feel like I am doing the right thing with my energy.

However…and there is always a ‘however’… my homesickness of recent months reached a peak and I have been seriously considering moving back to the UK for numerous reasons. Which is strange as I LOVE it here in Norway, but a combination of friends leaving and the general ‘easiness’ of being back at home has created some really convincing pushes and pulls. Being the daughter of an accountant I of course made lists of pros and cons regarding staying or going. There were basically the same number on each side so it has become a matter of trying to qualitatively work out which side is more compelling. I still don’t have the answer.

But I have made the conscious decision to just take the summer and try not to think about any of the big future questions and just go with the flow. I’m incredibly bad at doing this so I don’t know how it will pan out but I am at least going to try! For the moment I am back at my old job for the summer – which is actually working out really well. It is nice seeing my old colleagues and just working at something that I know how to do without having to constantly translate and think hard the whole time.

So here’s to not thinking and just ‘being’ this summer!

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Posted On May 5, 2014

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So it took 4 years, 2 months and 2 weeks but it finally happened – I finally felt seriously homesick last week. I thought I had been homesick before but I was clearly delusional those other times. And I understand why it is called a sickness, because it came in waves of complete wallowing followed by waves of obsessive Googling to consider moving home! It was like the ex-pat version of fever dreams!

I believe the moment that I caught this illness was when I got super excited about going to the birthday party of one of my best friends. This visit will involve two of my best UK friends, plus a roadtrip, possible KFC and seeing my old university town and random other people I haven’t seen in 6 years! (Wow I can’t believe it has been that long!)

So…this led me to viewing some hardcore job and property porn (note to self – should never go on Rightmove or Guardian Jobs!) and I randomly decided to double check the rules for getting authorisation to be a social worker in the UK. Now, here’s where things get tricky, perhaps I read this rule before but didn’t think it was a problem or maybe they have changed the rules, but it turns out that the whole process is more complicated than I thought.

Norway currently does not have a regulated social work profession (despite the fact that the education is regulated and you can only study it as an undergrad programme…don’t get me started on the lack of logic of the whole thing) but the UK does. In order to get authorisation in the UK when you have studied in an unregulated country you have to have completed your education and then worked fulltime for at least 2 years (in the country you qualified) after the end of the education.

Now a few weeks ago if anyone had asked me if I intended to be in Norway for at least 4 more years I would have probably not have even blinked before saying yes. But now that I am being told I HAVE to be here…well it feels less manageable. So after even more searching online I found a bunch of the type of jobs I would love to do – none of which I would require qualified social worker status in the UK for. In which case…why am I doing this if I don’t want to be here!? Grass is greener or genuine missing my country? Confusion reigns at the moment! Maybe if I lie in a cold, dark room for long enough it will blow over!

Practice makes perfect (well…maybe some day)

At the moment I am out on my first placement. I can’t write anything specific about it online but, needless to say, it is a lot of information in a short amount of time!

Was working fulltime always this tiring?? I feel like I am tired all the time! It isn’t hugely helpful that my placement is at the opposite end of the city to where I live – who knew commuting was this tiring! The only commuting I have ever done was up and down to London and even that wasn’t every single day. My weekend has been a blur of…not..doing…much. To be fair I had no energy before the placement started so it might be just encouraging the tiredness, rather than causing it!

Another part of it is probably the fact that my use of Norwegian, in terms of how many hours of the day are spent working in which language, has done another upward leap. Fulltime hours in a workplace with only Norwegian has been interesting! But at least my beginning of Autumn term headaches haven’t reemerged.

It is hard to believe that I am less than 3 months away from the end of my first year of the Bachelor programme, so only two years and 3 months away from being a qualified social worker. To be honest I was a little bit worried that I would go out on placement and then realise that I am not suited to being a social worker after all and would come over all shocked by the reality of it all and want to crawl back to my old job…luckily I do feel like this is the right field of work for me, though I am pretty sure that I would not want to work in exactly the same type of place where my placement is.

The more I think about it the more I am leaning towards hospital social work. I was at Rikshospitalet for the first time ever last week, to get my heart checked out, and it was amazing! I could absolutely imagine working there, and not just because the staff get scooters (!) I have downloaded some books about hospital social work to read on my commute so watch this space!


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