As usual, preparation for my ERASMUS+ on my behalf was minimal, (despite knowing about this trip for over 2 years) I found myself in a panicked rush to complete the pile of paperwork they required, finish my final EMS and try to enjoy Christmas! The day before leaving began with me desperately vacuum-packing all my warm, woolliest possessions into a suitcase and then spent the night dreaming of losing digits to frost-bite, one by one over the next three months!
I always worry prematurely. Perhaps it’s because I know that there is still time for things to change, cancel or improve (in the case of exam preparation). But this worry rarely results in any action. Instead I fret unproductively a few weeks before and then as the day approaches I accept my fate (whatever that may be), relax and I allow my excitement to take hold!
This is the exact opposite reaction to my other-half who was utterly un-phased a few weeks before, but at we drove to Manchester airport, reality hit and he suddenly realised he might be feeling a little lonely without me (so he booked his first flights to visit before I even left!).
I am not the only Liverpool final year heading over to temporary pastures new, but one of three. Together Kay, Cassie and I ventured out to our new homes and spent the weekend exploring Oslo centre and discussing the likelihood of surviving the arctic temperatures. We have since been informed that this winter has been unusually chilly, so we felt justified! We ticked off some of the compulsory sights within the city centre including walking on the Opera house, visiting the Palace (which you can almost walk straight up-to) and Akershus Fortress. I spent the Sunday embracing the most stereotypical Norwegian Sunday: cross-country skiing and eating waffles with brown cheese, jam and cream (perfect combo I can assure you!) My first day skiing went surprisingly well, with not too many falls or crashes (that came later) and I was already hooked on it!
As with all good weekends, it was over much too soon, but Monday morning did indeed arrived and all we knew was that we were in Small animal rotations this week. There had been a somewhat minimalist approach to dispersal of information prior to the exchange and so we were quite clueless to the basic plan. So, wholly-unprepared, the time had come to find out the deal, so we just opened the door and said: "Hi, we're the British ERASMUS students... where do we go?". Then we, thankfully, felt a huge wave of relief as we were answered with welcomes, smiles and friendly English instruction!
This week I was on small animal medicine, the other two were on small animal surgery. I was so surprised at how quickly I settled in to the rhythm of the clinics here. The atmosphere is much more relaxed, there is more time free for teaching, combined with there being fewer interns and residents, results in more practical experiences and better learning opportunities. In small animal there are three clinics: Medicine, Surgery and First opinion, in contrast to the many divisions at home. I have not yet decided which I prefer.. more divisions allows my brain to compartmentalise disciplines, whereas as a vet I need working memory in all areas but equally its harder to guarantee or structure experience or learning.
Everyone has been so welcoming, and writing this retrospectively I can say that we have made some lovely friends and met some incredible people. I am completely in love with how much the outdoors plays an integral part in daily life and have found myself constantly wishing I could take it all home - who wouldn't want to sleep in a hammock outside in minus temperatures?! Sounds great to me anyway!