A colourful and outgoing student community greets you in the inland village of Kongsberg

Ingrid Rekve. Photo.

In Norway's oldest industrial city, young people from all over the country gather to embark on studies surrounded by wild nature and high-tech companies.


“During this year’s Norwegian Constitution Day, I was thinking about all the different traditional costumes I saw and the dialects that I heard,” says Kongsberg student Ingrid Rekve.
 
“We were 13 people from just as many places in Norway. All the way from Tromsø in the north to Haugesund in the west and Fredrikstad in the east.

Despite its geographic spread, the composition of Ingrid’s group of friends is not unique. 

“Not at all. In Kongsberg, it is common for almost none of the new students to know each other from beforehand, so groups of friends are formed across cities and places. With so many seeking contact in the same place, it’s no wonder that the buddy week is one of the most fun things you get to experience during your time as a student.

Buddy week at Kongsberg

Ingrid is the head of the buddy committee in Kongsberg, a role she wanted to take on after many good experiences from last year’s buddy week.

“I came here without knowing anyone. When buddy week started, I got to meet all my fellow students. Since we engaged in social activities every day, we quickly got to know each other. When your studies and lectures start, you sit mostly quietly and listen to professors who give talks or you have your nose in a book. It’s not as easy to get to know the people you’re sitting next to.

Buddy week. Photo

New students are always welcomed by friendly buddies in Kongsberg. (Photo: SiK Fotos).

During the buddy week, all new students are split into buddy groups, which are led by their own buddies. The buddies are USN students who have already studied one year or more.

“Buddies know what it's like to start as a student in Kongsberg. Their job is to help all new students through the start of their studies and, of course, organise all the fun that happens during the week. It's going to be crazy fun, and you can attend to everything that's been set up, without drinking as much as a drop of alcohol.

 

The buddy week is not about getting drunk, but about getting to know your new fellow students. And this is best done by remembering what you've experienced the night before

Buddy week activities. Photo

Buddy week also tends to offer fun challenges for the newcomers. For this year’s buddy week, the programme includes barbecue, pub crawls, games, concerts, and various themed parties. (Photo: SiK Fotos).

Student volunteerism in Kongsberg

After the buddy week is over, your studies will start in earnest. Ingrid explains that it is during one’s years as a student that these friendships come in handy.

“Studying can be quite hard. That’s why it's important to have a breather once in a while, and take the weekend off. It's easier to do something fun when you have friends to hang out with, but fortunately buddy week is not the only opportunity you have to meet new people in Kongsberg.

As a student, you have the opportunity to join a bunch of student organisations and take volunteer positions alongside one’s studies. Among other things, you can join the Student Union in Kongsberg, a volunteer organisation run by students who organise the majority of and largest student events in Kongsberg.

As a member of the buddy committee, I am also part of the student union. It's fun to work with so many dedicated students in your spare time, and you can join multiple groups through the student union

“Not only do you get a lot of good friends from other areas of study through the work, it also provides a solid network and it looks good on your resume. When you want to apply for a job, the employer sees that you have built up work and perhaps even management experience while having been a student. It's not a bad thing to have.

Student gala

As a member of the Student Union in Kongsberg, you can join in arranging great student activities and get discounts at many different stores and eateries in the city. From the Kongsberg student's own gala, which SiK’s gala committee organises every semester. (Photo: SiK Fotos).

Here you can read about some of the volunteer student organisations and student groups that you can join:

City life and outdoor opportunities

Ingrid was raised in the Vestland municipality of Voss, and for her, Kongsberg was a relatively large city in the beginning. 

“But actually it is a pretty compact city, with good bus services and a central campus. Therefore, students do not need a car if they live near the city centre. The choice of cafes, eateries and shopping is good. In addition, Oslo is only an hour and a half away by train, so you can easily take a big city trip on weekends if you wish.

However, Ingrid has not needed a city trip so far. The nature around Kongsberg has until now been far more enticing.

“If you love being out in the wild, Kongsberg is absolutely great. There are opportunities for hiking just about everywhere, and since it’s an inland town it gets pretty hot in the summer.”

On the other hand, winters are often snowy. With many good ski slopes nearby and a dedicated Alpine centre with a student discount on ski passes   just minutes from the city centre, this is a small winter paradise

Color run Kongsberg. Photo.

Whether it is during the Colour Run or the rest of the year, Kongsberg’s centre is a pleasant place to visit. (Photo: SiK Fotos). 

In the evenings, you have the opportunity to meet other students out in town without it costing an arm and a leg. 

“In Kongsberg, we have our own student tavern called Louis. There are trivia nights, beer pong competitions and large themed parties. The prices of drinks are student friendly, so there is often a lot of people here with a good atmosphere. Louis is right at the city centre, so you can easily get from here to the city’s other nightspots or to concerts at the music and cultural venue Energimølla, where students can also volunteer.

Student Sports Club Trimius

“The fitness centres in the city often provide student discounts. There are of course also several local clubs within many sports that students can join. But I recommend to first check out the offer at our own student sports club, Trimius. Here, students run many different sports, and even I play volleyball. In the volleyball group, we focus mostly on having fun and being together socially, both on and off the court.

Baseball. Photo.

Baseball is one of the many sports you can join in Trimius. Kongberg students’ baseball team won the 2018 Norwegian national student championship during the Bergen Challenge. (Photo: SiK Fotos).

In addition to keeping you in shape, Ingrid points out that the student sport is yet another great venue to get to know other students in the city.

“The biggest advantage of getting to know others is that you feel like you are a part of a vibrant student community. Inside our campus, there may at times be many students gathered, and nothing is as pleasant as to encounter a familiar face to chat with. No matter who it is or how you know each other, it is good to have friends when you are a student. Just come to Kongsberg and join in on all the fun, and you will see that it very easy to make new friends during the course of your studies.

Facts about Campus Kongsberg

Location: Campus Kongsberg is located within the Krona Knowledge and Cultural Centre, located in Kongsberg city centre. Kongsberg is home to several of Norway’s leading technology companies within the armaments industry, aviation and shipping as well as the oil and gas industry. It is also here that Norway's largest Jazz Festival is held every summer. Kongsberg Municipality has a population of just under 28,000 inhabitants. 

Number of students: approx. 1,325

Did you know?: Before the start of studies in 2019, 155 brand new student residences near the campus will be ready. Through the Student Welfare Organisation in South-Eastern Norway, you can apply to have your own student residence.