By Caitlin Elrod, Opinion Columnist
Remember Orientation week? We were separated into groups and assigned two Orientation Guides to show us around campus. They became our guides for the first week at Pacific Lutheran University. PLU was becoming our home and our OGs were mentors, teaching us what food was good to eat, when to get sandwiches from Tahoma and how long it takes on average to walk from class to class to allow optimum sleep time.
Here in Elverum, Norway we were assigned students like OGs, called buddy studenter, or buddy students.
Our buddy students in Norway are part of a class and like OG’s the position is voluntary. But our buddy students get class credit. The classes they get credit toward their nursing or physical education degrees. It is just like a normal class, but at the end of the term our buddy students have to write a report on us, their subjects.
Here, our buddy students know exactly what to show us, how to get us involved, and what activities to do around town. Being so far away from home, it is good to engage in activities that we normally would at home, and our buddy students arrange these welcome activities by taking us bowling, watching movies or even arranging for a Norwegian quiz night.
Inga-Lill Stenseth, one of our buddies, attended PLU last year as a foreign exchange student. Her insight into how things run at PLU has helped with our transition here. She helps us understand finals, classes and how to adapt to the Elverum lifestyle.
Our buddy students help us take off the American lense to see the world around us in a new light. One of the ways they helped us was by having us experience Norwegian culture, by visiting museums and having us partake of traditional holiday events. One of these events, arranged by the buddy students, was called Julekos, which is where we were able to try traditional Norwegian Christmas cakes and build gingerbread houses with the Namibian students.
My buddy students have become my lifelong friends thanks to the countless times they have helped me here in Norway. I plan to continue to have contact with them long after I leave Norway and maybe even visit them sometime. I encourage you to stay friends with your OGs and not to be afraid to contact them later during your years at PLU. If they have graduated or moved on, don’t be afraid to contact someone else or your friends from your OG group.
If you would like to become an OG, an opportunity to apply will be available for Spring Term and the application will be posted in Student Employment under JobX.
Caitlin Elrod is a junior at Pacific Lutheran University majoring in Communication and Global Studies. She is studying abroad this semester in Elverum, Norway.