Getting comfortable speaking
OsloMet currently offers two courses: A1 (beginner) and A2 (intermediate). A1 is ideal for exchange students who are in Oslo for one semester, while master’s students, who have more time and possibly a longer perspective about living and working in Norway, may benefit from taking the second class as well.
Per Gunnar Paulsen, who has taught Norwegian for two and a half years at OsloMet, says that new students can expect there to be a strong focus on speaking skills in both courses.
“You need to have the oral skills to be able to interact with people, but it can be hard for students to practice in the wild, since Norwegians speak English perfectly well.”
Regina agrees, saying, “Even though you’re in Norway, it's not always easy to hear Norwegian. Your classes will be in English, and everyone, even at the supermarket, can speak to you in English.”
This is why speaking in the classroom setting is so important. Per Gunnar says that in class, students can expect some short lectures but will spend most of their time speaking in pairs. Norwegian teachers also incorporate games and role playing, since it can feel less scary to try a new language when you’re pretending to be someone else.
“Learning a new language as an adult can be awkward, so we try to make students comfortable,” says Per Gunnar. “These classes are a lot of hard work, but we also want them to be a relaxed space so that the experience is fun and not so intimidating.”
As a student, Regina says she enjoyed this style of language learning. “There are a lot of things you hear people say in real life that you won’t learn in the books. I really liked that we learned to speak some slang in my classes, and listened to popular Norwegian music. We got to practice speaking a lot, which helps you to actually be able to socialise. I think that’s a cool way to explore the language.”