Spa YFC member Hannah Shaw enjoys Norwegian exchange trip

Hannah Shaw and other exchangees sightseeing in Norway
Hannah Shaw and other exchangees sightseeing in Norway

With less than a week left of my YFCU exchange to Norway for a month, time has certainly flown in, writes Hannah Shaw.

On arriving in Norway back at the end of June, I met seven other IFYE exchanges coming from an array of different countries from North America to Taiwan to other parts of the UK.

Hannah Shaw, Spa YFC member enjoys horse riding during her Norwegian exchange

Hannah Shaw, Spa YFC member enjoys horse riding during her Norwegian exchange

I thoroughly enjoyed the first few days of getting to know the other IFYEs and their backgrounds of 4H/Young Farmers as well as visit the capital city of Oslo which has many tourist attractions to offer.

Since being in Norway, I have experienced so much within the county of Hedmark where I have stayed. From attending a 4H youth camp in Folldal, to making traditional Norwegian foods, farm visits and climbing mountains to name a few as well as the tourist sites to see Norway’s culture and history, all of which has been incredible.

I have had many highlights throughout my exchange though I will mention some of my most memorable. The 4H youth camp in Folldal for Hedmark was a great experience with it taking place over my birthday with an embarrassing moment of approximately 400 people singing “Happy birthday” to me but one I won’t forget. It is similar to the YFCU with it being a mixture of a larger version of junior weekend with Rally Night activities combined and it was great to see so many members involved with 4H Norge showing that it is a strong ever-growing youth organisation within Norway.

Secondly, horseback riding which, I had never experienced before. Since I hadn’t done it before, it was quite daunting but after a short time riding on the horse, it was very enjoyable, and I was lucky enough to go riding again a second time. Lastly, throughout my exchange with my host families, I was lucky to see the National Animal of Norway which the moose is or also known as elk. I may not have gotten very close to them, but I saw quite a few from a distance living out in the wild in the forests surrounding my host families homes which was a pleasure to see.

Whilst in Norway, I got to try and make some traditional foods. With my first host family in Våler I made homemade Kringle which is similar to a large cinnamon roll and it was delicious. As well as that, it is common to eat Brown cheese made from goat’s milk, which is a unique taste and is like the Marmite debate, you either love it or you don’t. Unlike at home or in the USA, Norwegians have Taco Friday instead of Taco Tuesday so it was great to follow that tradition throughout my exchange.

Norway is a country with outstanding landscapes and scenery and I have only seen a small part of it with the time I had here. It may seem small on the map but there is so much to see, and its people are truly proud to be called Norwegians. I hope to be back in Norway again to see what the rest of this beautiful country has to offer and learn more about its culture.

Now, I am looking forward to what my last few days in Norway has to offer me on my exchange. I would like to thank the YFCU again for this amazing opportunity in allowing me to come to Norway as well as my Young Farmers’ Club, Spa YFC, for supporting my exchange and allowing me to take a short break on my secretary role.

As well, I would like to thank 4H Norge for allowing me to stay in the county of Hedmark and my three host families throughout my exchange, Kristian Noer and Marit Astrup, Stian Otnes and Ann Iren Holmen and Inger Christine Groseth and Birka Schmidt-Baulmer. It was a pleasure to get to know you all.

Finally, a massive thank you to all my sponsors: Spa YFC, NFU Mutual Downpatrick, Richards Butchers, Watsons Flowers, Shillidays, Ken Burtney True Potential Wealth Management, Meelmore Lodge, Groves Chemist, Provita Animal Health, Joseph Walls, Rockmount Golf Club, Kelvin Grahams, Craig Hendersons Opticians and Martin Fitzpatrick from Castle Veterinary Group, all your support is greatly appreciated.