Spring in Oslo
”April is the cruellest month”, the English poet T.S. Eliot writes in his poem The Waste Land. I am inclined to agree with him. Over the past couple of weeks we have had bright spring sunshine, heavy rain and even snow and hail here in Oslo. So at least, the weather seems cruel. But now May is just around the corner, summer is drawing steadily closer and we are looking ahead to hopefully more predictable and warmer weather. And what is more, we are looking forward to the summer session, now only eight weeks away.
This week we have completed admissions. Places have been offered to 644 students. As I told you in my last blog, we had well above 4,000 applicants, and more than 3,500 of them applied for scholarships – so unfortunately, we have had to disappoint many who were hoping to come to the ISS this summer.
Preparations are now well under way to have everything lined up for those of you who are coming. A lot of information has to be passed on to you, about practical matters and course related issues. Tickets are being booked for those who have received travel grants, compendia with course literature are being compiled, we are in constant communication with faculty members. Room bookings both for classrooms and events have been made months ago, but everything has to be checked and rechecked. We had a meeting with the Blindern Dormitory managers where approximately 60% of you will be staying, and the very last members of our summer staff have been hired. You have also just been asked to choose a weekend excursion, and a lot of work goes into planning these trips to various destinations all over Southern Norway.
Personally, I have among many other duties, been busy fitting in the last bits of the programme for the opening ceremony in the University Aula on the old university campus downtown – Blindern is the new campus located two metro stops up the hill from the city center. 2016 is a special year, as it is our 70th session, and that fact will put its mark on many of the events, not least the grand opening, where you will be welcomed in the Aula surrounded by Edvard Munch’s magnificent murals, and afterwards treated by the City of Oslo to a generous reception in City Hall, which is also the venue for the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10th every year.
All admitted students have been invited to a Facebook group for the class of 2016. I am also invited as a member of this group and I have with great pleasure read a lot of the excited messages you have passed on to each other and also to us in the administration. We are here to serve you, and hope to get acquainted with you before your arrival. Turi, Joey and Karoline in the front line team you have already had a bit of contact with – and those of you who live in North America will already know Torild and Michelle in our North American Branch Office in Northfield, MN. In the summer they will all be here.
And I can assure you – it is not only you students who are excited to get to know all of us – we are equally excited to meet you.
We all have a magnificent summer to look forward to – a summer full of academic experience in lecture halls, seminar rooms and field trips, a series of cultural and social events, and stimulating interaction with people from altogether approximately 100 nations. Come to Norway – Experience the World.