Here are an edited and translated version of the welcoming speech the leader of the Student Parliament held the on the opening ceremony:
Dear International students, welcome to Oslo and Akershus University College of applied sciences! I am Eline Stølan, and I am the president of the Student Parliament.
It is an honor for me welcoming you to us, Norway’s largest University College. I am very proud of being your representative and proud to be a student here.
You all have an exciting time ahead of you. Your time as a student can become the best time you’ve ever had. It is with the people standing around you, that you will establish relations and friendships that will last a lifetime. You might also find your future husband or wife in this crowd. It is now you can define who you want to be and what values you want to support. You will have doubts, you will be wrong and you will see things in a different light, these are all parts of being a student.
Many of you are now experiencing independence in your daily life for the first time. Someone are straight out of High School and have just moved out from home for the first time. You will meet a new life; no one waking you up in the morning, no chores and you can eat all kind of “bad food” at all hour of the day with no one commenting on it. A lot of freedom, but also a lot of responsibility.
One of my best advises to you is to get good study buddies. Create a study group and read together, support each other, inspire each other and help each other. It have meant the world to me at least!
Get involved in the student life and take control of your days. Speak up if something’s could be better and ask questions about why things are being done the way they are. Remember that your ideas and thoughts are the once that develops our community and it is YOU that builds the foundation for what kind of education your children will get in the future.
Get involved in student activities and student politics, work in the bar at the student pub, play at HiOA’s Lacross team or join the sports club. Become a representative in the Student council and get involved in the Student Parliament election. I advise you to do this not just because it is fun, but because you will learn something from this work, that you cannot learn in a lectures.
The Student Parliament is located in Pilestredet 46 and are also at our office in Kjeller once a week. Stop by for a talk regarding your daily life as a student, problems, and joys or if you only need a cup of coffee. If you are feeling lonely or needs some support, know that we are here for you and to assist you! The more feedback we get from the students, the easier it is to work for making this school a better place.
During the starting weeks there is a lot going on. Use these weeks to get to know each other and learn from the more experienced students. Learn where your Student Council is located and talk to them. If you have any questions, just drop by our office, we can answer most questions and are here to assist you.
Enjoy your first weeks as students at HiOA, get new friends, have fun and explore the city, but remember to also start with the studies. This city and the student community have so much to offer that you will always have something fun to do; therefor it is a good idea to get into good study habits as soon as possible.
I would also like to advise you to enjoy your subjects and go deep into your fields. Now you have the time and resources around you to build a good foundation for the rest of your working life. Take responsibility for the community you are a part of and become solid representatives for your field!