Self-organized trip to Hovden

This trip was my first ever trip to organize. I was in a group with three other girls with as little experience as I. We took it as a challenge even though there was a lot of frustration and uncertainty during the planning phase. Despite, it was a very good trip with a lot of take-home learnings!

We agreed to make it a two night trip which was the minimum. We did not feel comfortable with a longer trip and this was already a challenge for us. We decided to go to Hovden to be closer to civilization if something would occur. This made us feel safer in the snow environment and I am glad we made that decision. Also Hovden got some really nice tracks to ski with lights during the night so we would have the maximum time to practice our skiing.

Our original plan was to take the bus in the morning, build up our camp, then ski around the are and to go on a daytrip the following day. That plan changed when two of the group members did not catch the bus. We decided to stay on the bus but had to wait 8 hours for them to get to hovden with the next. The unfortunate thing was, that they had the tent so we did not have the possibility to set up the tent. When they arrived it was dark and the flat spot we had chosen to pin the tent was covered by 2 meters of snow. We saw no other way to set up the tent with our skiis on not to sink down in the snow. We stamped the area and began the difficult task of setting up the tent with skiis and in the dark. We got to the point where we had to use the pegs but did not have the right ones suitable for snow. That made it impossible for us to see how to make the tent stable and standing. At this point it was dark and we were tired.

Luckily, we arranged a plan B a few days before that really saved us. A woman from couch surfing came that late evening to pick us up and took us to her home. It was such a nice experience and a kind gesture. One that I will probably never forget.

The next day, she had told us to dig a hole with our shovels before putting up the tent in it. We used some time to watch youtube videos, also to learn how to make a bonfire in the snow. We succeeded this time and it was a really good and strengthening exercise for our small group.

Then it was time to hit the slopes for some skiing. We practiced and refreshed the skills learned at the basic ski course and had a really good time. We even continued skiing in the dark on the lighted tracks.

The last monday

Monday the 9th of March was our last Monday. It was organised by the boys from the international outdoor education. It was a monday with team building in focus.

The activities took place in small groups that had to collaborate and work together to complete different challenges. The games had time constraints, different communication methods and required to come up with creative solutions. It was clear to see peoples different strengths and weaknesses.

The purpose of today’s activities was to develop the Norwegian and International collaboration and create a stronger bond. It is important that the groups mix and come together and experience to go through the five stages of group development: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. This way the group will get to its maximum performance and work together as a strong unity. We want to avoid social loafing and obtain as much learning and good experiences as possible.


The organisers of the days activity was very well thought trough. They were prepared and organised, making the experience enjoyable. However, I think that some of the activities lacked participation of all individuals resulting in passivness from some participants. A feedback to the organisers and to myself in the future is to always have Maximum Individual Performance (MIP) in mind to keep everyone busy and entertained.

Basic Ski Course

3-7 Feb. 2020

On Monday 3 February, we left Kristiansand and headed north to Trollaktiv near Evje. This was the first time skiing together as a group and I was very excited.

We divided the group according to food preferences. Two small houses for the veggie-eaters and one big house for the meat-eaters aka. The Slaughter House. During the week I really experienced how I got closer with my new roommates. We cooked lovely meals, laughed a lot and we were good at helping each other. Together with Manual and Natalie I planned the meals beforehand and did the grocery shopping. I learnt how preparing and planning takes time. We cooked so that we could also bring leftovers for lunch the following day.

During the days on ski I learned:

  • To always bring a warm drink (preferable not coffee or tea because it is diuretic)
  • To eat frequent but smaller meals instead of few heavy meals
  • Bring lots of snacks in pockets to keep your energy level constant
  • Hydrate (1L or more)

Leadership style
We were divided into two groups. My group was led by Tim. I liked his leadership style; teaching and sharing his knowledge in a pedagogical way and challenging us at the same time. He kept us motivated and showed a good mix of fun and seriousness. We made competitions and practiced different skiing techniques. I really enjoyed how he told us about the surrounding environment, the weather and Norwegian culture along the way. We each took turns to lead the group which I also found nice to try.


Theory lessons
Every evening after skiing we had theory lessons. I learned a lot of valuable knowledge during these evenings which I am sure to be able to use in the future. I wrote notes and drew illustrations in my notebook to better remember.


  • Day Sack – what to bring on a day trip on ski
    • Ground and individual
  • First Aid Kit
    • Group and individual
  • Wax and Snow
  • Clothing
  • Cold weather injuries
  • Ski Sport

Mountain skiing
I have experience in downhill skiing and snowboarding. Nevertheless, this type of skiing was much different than I expected. I believe it was an advantage to already know how to keep balance, shift of weight and generally being in snow but I needed to learn how to break and turn in other ways than usual. Tim also taught us telemark and Heronboning. Heronboning is askill used to ski/walk up a hill where you need to position your skis in a V-shape with the tips apart and ends together. This was a source of much fun when falling and sliding back. We also tried to use skins on our skis when we had to climb a steep 300-meter hill. This was a whole new experience for me, and I did not know this existed.

Other snow skills
Other learnings consisted of how to make a snow anchor. Half of the group did it with the use of skis and the other half by digging and only using the snow. That was a very cool experience to see how the snow can be used in different ways.

Later the same day, we were challenged to make an emergency shelter in the snow. 30 minutes and in pairs of two. Afterwards we evaluated and accessed the different shelters and discussed what worked and what did not. Again, a very cool experience to see so many different approaches and to lean what to take into consideration in an emergency situation.

After lunch the following day, we got a task to start a bonfire in a snow environment only using what we could find around us. We used bark from birch trees, and everyone tried to light the fire with Haron’s fire steel. It was hard but he gave good tips and in the end we succeeded.

Social development
I think this trip brought us much closer together as a group. Besides spontaneous snowball fights, cozy evenings in the houses or in the common room, we also had to deal with our different skiing levels. We had to have patience and be a good at helping each other. I found that it was sometimes hard for me not to get frustrated but in the end, we are all here to learn.
One evening we made a bonfire, Manuel played guitar and we played different games arranged by each student. That was a lot of fun and just what we needed after a long (possibly frustrating) day to connect us again.


Jegersberg overnight

On Thursday everyone went to Jegersberg to spend the day and camp during the night. It was my first time camping outside since I came to Norway. I am not very experienced in building up a camp and what comes along with it, so I really got the opportunity to learn from others with more experience. I paid close attention throughout the trip.

First, we needed to find a flat spot to set up the tent. Unfortunately, we had not checked our tent before leaving (but if we did I would not have known what to check for anyway) but it turned out that we were missing the inner tent. This was the very first key learning – always check the equipment before leaving!

Luckily it was close by the university, so Sarah biked back to get it.
We found a flat spot to set up the tent, which later turned out to be a less fortunate spot where water would gather. In the end that rain and this position overflooded the bottom and we had to sleep home because everything including sleeping bags were soaking wet. Another lesson to learn – always find a flat spot where water will not flow when setting up a tent. I really liked the fact that we had this “trail” camp to get this experience before going on a real trip with no possibility to return.

After everyone finished we gathered for some group dynamic games that each group had prepared beforehand. These games really served the purpose of getting to know each other better. It was interesting to see the different “roles” people took, whether it was leading, organizing or a tendency to be passive or just to be social loafers. We are still very much in the forming stage of the group, but I think the games brought us closer together. I laughed a lot and found the activities super fun. At the same time it served the purpose of keeping us active thus warm.

The last task we had was a cooking competition. Len brought some ingredients and we had to make a dish out of it. Each group tasted the meals and rated it accordingly. I liked how the activity sparked some creativity and especially how food preferences (vegetarian) was also taking into consideration. I learned how nice it is to have a warm meal when being cold outside and what types of ingredients that is suitable to bring on a camping trip.

When collecting firewood to use for the fire I asked and observed Melanie. She showed my what to look for and how to easily break off branches turning them in circles. It was quite challenging though cause most wood was pretty wet.

Team building

Monday the 20th of January

Once again we met with the Norwegian students for the weekly Monday activity. The overall theme of this day was “team building”.

Building a shelter
We met a Spicheren and went to the area behind the equipment garage where we were randomly divided into mixed groups of approximately nine people. The task was to build a shelter with a fireplace with sitting space for everyone under the tarp. We had 30 minutes to complete the task with the use of a trap, some knives, three ropes and everything else we could find in the forest.

This was our first attempt:






Afterwards, everyone took turns to present and explain their setup. We gave points and feedback to each other’s shelters and got 15 minutes to improve before the second round/final examination. As creativity points, we added “miss piggy” and some plant decorations.

We improved our shelter by pulling down the tarp closer to the ground in the back and cover the sides to shelter the wind. Furthermore, we moved the fireplace closer to the sitting area to get the heat from the fire underneath the tarp.

This was our improved shelter:






We ended up with a good score and I was proud of the team effort.

Tower Building
The task was now, in the same groups, to build the highest tower out of the things we had in our backpacks. Another fun and competitive activity.


Monday the 13th of January the International Friluftsliv class met with the Norwegian Frilufslivs class for the first time doing a Monday activity. We met outside Spicheren, went through Jegersberg and ended up at Holmenkollen where we lighted a campfire. By the fire we played some ice-breaking activities and games.

The purpose of this day was to mainly to get to know each other, mixing the Norwegians with the internationals. In group development terms it is the forming stage. We discussed common interests but also norms. We agreed that everyone should speak English not to leave anyone out. Even the Norwegians to each other which seemed to be strange for them. As I am from Denmark, I understand Norwegian so I felt in the middle, because I could speak and understand everyone. I tried to be good at navigating and helping out with language barriers if they occurred.

Originally, we were supposed to go to “Den Omvendte Bot” but due to icy conditions the Norwegians changed the plan. It shows how important it is to be flexible and be able to adjust to the weather. Especially in Norway, where changes can happen fast.
I have learnt many new names that I hope I can remember to next time we will mix with the Norwegians again. I think it is important to get to know each other well to have a good group dynamic and in order to get to know the Norwegian culture on a much deeper level.