My Journey to BI: From Mexico to Norway

Name: Lourdes Gabriela Hoyo Martínez

Degree programme: MSc in Business major in Logistics, Operations and Supply Chain Management

Undergraduate Degree: Marketing

Undergraduate University: Tecnológico de Monterrey Campus Ciudad de México

Hometown: Mexico City

Citizenship: Mexican

‘The most remarkable thing I learned about myself at BI is that I’m capable of doing many great and big things.’

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Motivation

I heard about BI Norwegian Business School when I was doing my Bachelor in Mexico and I had to decide which country to go for my exchange, and I decided to go to BI because I have always admired Nordic countries and I realized this school has a really high academic quality among the business schools in Europe, so it was the perfect choice for me. I spent 5 months living in Norway and studying in BI. I also had time to do some travels around Norway and it was one of the best experiences in my life. For my Master degree I decided to return because I know BI will give me a plus in my higher education and because I like the subjects for my program they offer, which is Logistics, Operations and Supply Chain Management, I think it covers all really well.

Academic Experience

The best piece of advice I can give to a new student about my programme is to be organized, go to the lectures and read before each lecture. Also, try to organize study groups with your classmates so you can help each other in different topics. One of the challenges I have faced so far is that I need to organize my time so I can cover all the readings I need to cover for each lecture and also do my own stuff, because having a social life and time to relax it’s also important.

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International Experience

The biggest culture shock for me moving here was to come and study my Masters at BI in Norway has been the realization of a goal that I proposed for several years. However, I share with you the cultural shock I have had in some aspects of my life in Norway:

Society

Compared to other countries, Norway obtains very good results in many general welfare measures. Norway has the best performance in personal safety and satisfaction, and is above average in environmental quality, employment and remuneration, income and wealth, education and skills, housing, life-work balance, civic engagement. As an international student eventually, I get used to the prices, but often I find that I need to budget differently and specially for my limited student budget. I have heard a Norwegian social value called Janteloven, which can be difficult for international students to understand. I searched for the exact meaning of “Janteloven” and what I found was “Janteloven (the law of Jante) at its simplest describes the way that all Norwegians should behave: putting society ahead of the individual, not boasting about individual accomplishments or being jealous of others”. This gives me a more complete view of how egalitarian Norwegian culture is, different from most other cultures.

People

At the beginning I thought that Norwegians were difficult to get to know, they can be really reserved, but later I found they open up once they are familiar with someone. Once that I have been accepted and make a Norwegian friend, I´m sure that I will find a friend for life. As a Mexican, with a Latin mode I also find that Norwegians are not outwardly social, and are unlikely to greet in shops, in the street or even in social settings until they know someone, so I must be extroverted and should use my skills to get to know people. BI is a good place to socialize and meet others since it has an international environment.

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Language

Even Norsk is the official language, I speak fluent English so I have an advantage, since most Norwegians speak English too. International students won’t necessarily need to learn Norwegian, all my Master courses are in English, but learning Norwegian will certainly be useful for me, in my adapting to life in Norway. Actually, I’m taking Norwegian courses at BI, and try to practice with my Norwegian friends and it’s a matter of time that I will express myself in an understandable Norwegian.

Weather

I come from a warmer weather and obviously Norway weather was a culture shock for me, and also the long and dark winters. My best way to handle the winter season will be to wear proper clothing and learn to practice winter sports such as skiing and other sports that I cannot practice in my country, I’m sure it will be a lot of fun; I find new experiences very exciting.

Food

As a Mexican I come from a very varied gastronomic culture, our food has many pre-Hispanic influences (Aztec, Maya, Nahuatl, etc.) as well as mixing with the Spanish gastronomy of the conquest, creating infinity of varieties with hundreds of dishes. Although Norwegian cuisine is not as varied, it has delicious dishes such as salmon and cod, and I can also find global cuisine, such as pizzas, tacos, hamburgers, etc. I must say that going to eat to restaurants in Norway is very expensive. As part of my goal of personal and human development in Norway, there are 2 things that I absolutely will not stop doing.

1. Catch the Northern Lights: Surely this experience will be one of the most beautiful and memorable of my life, this spectacle of nature is reserved for a lucky few people in the world and I want to be one of them. Surely, to be able to live that experience will be recorded forever in my book of life.

2. Norwegian Fjords: Other natural wonders that I have in my buck list to visit, that there are only in very few places in the world and that Norway has many of them, are the Fjords. As an exchange student in BI in 2015, I had the opportunity to know the Lysefjord and its beautiful view from Preikestolen and in the near future, I will take advantage of school days off to visit Hardanger fjord with its wonderful view from Trolltunga and Geirangerfjord and the Nærøyfjord with its waterfalls (Seven Sisters, The Bridal Veil and The Pretender) all these places declared World Heritage Sites.

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Recently I learned that there is a special natural connection between Norway and Mexico, the connection is The Gulf Stream from the Gulf of Mexico which is the strongest ocean stream in the world, displacing a large mass of warm water from the Gulf of Mexico and it goes directly to the North Atlantic and in Norway it forms the fjords, it means literally that if my parents or my sister sent a message in a bottle, sooner or later I could pick it up in some Norwegian fjord… that’s interesting!

The scariest thing about moving was heading away from home and standing on my own feet is a frightening prospect and carries many tensions, but it can also become the most exciting moment of my life and marks the beginning of a journey full of possibilities. My home will always be my home and will always be there for me when I need it. But I cannot deny that there is not only one, but several things that really scare me and that is what I am going to share in this blog. I miss my family more than I realize now that I am far from them, my joy of a homemade meal becomes a distant memory, there is no one in my family to support me if I had a bad day and I have a hard time getting used to it. I’m suddenly far from them. Being in charge of my own finances becomes a juggling with expenses and taking care of myself is more difficult than I thought I did not realize how much my family did for me until I left home and had to order my whole life day to day. Also, the chance of failure becomes frightening, once I took that big step and moved to do my Master there is no turning back. It is also easy to lose contact with friends in my hometown and childhood, as time passes and I get stuck in the tasks of the study, I must find time to maintain contact. I’m sure I did the right thing by moving to Norway and I do not regret it, although I often feel nostalgic. But I am also happy to make new memories and meet new people.

Reflections

The most remarkable thing I learned about myself at BI is that I’m capable of doing many great and big things. I can be an organized person and I can achieve all my goals, since one of them was studying my Masters at BI and I got a place to study in one of the top Business schools around the world. My career goal is to graduate from my Masters and get a good job I like in the industry I want. And I will be always grateful for what my family has done for me and all the people who have supported me in my decisions that led me to this journey.

Lourdes began the MSc in Business programme in August 2018. To find out more about the programme, go to www.bi.edu or email myfuture@bi.no.

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