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Norwegian student returns to China after 3 years


December 11th, the 16th ECNU International Cultural Festival was held on Putuo Campus.

At the opening ceremony, Ole Eidskrem, a Norwegian international student representative of ECNU’s School of International Chinese Studies, passionately made a speech in fluent Chinese to express his sincere affections to China and ECNU.

“In this summer, when the plane landed in Shanghai, I exclaimed ‘I am finally back home!’” Eidskrem couldn’t help holding his excitement of getting back to the site of the ECNU International Cultural Festival.

Ole Eidskrem flew back to Norway in early 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. At that moment, he didn’t expect the global pandemic to last for nearly 3 years, during which he kept in touch with his Chinese teachers and classmates in the hope of coming back to the place he calls his second home: China.

That’s why Eidskrem set out on his mission to return to China. In order to be one of the first international students to return, he paid extremely close attention to China’s entry policies during the pandemic. Every 3 months, he took the initiative to call the Chinese Embassy and contact the staffs for the latest messages. “One day afterwards, I finally received the message from the Embassy. In August this year, I became the first Norwegian student granted with the Study Visa to return China after almost 3 years!”

A joint photo of Ole Eidskrem and officials of the Chinese Embassy

In Norway, he had to sleep at 6 p.m. and get up at 1 a.m. for online courses due to the time-difference. As a result, he gave up most of his social life for online courses. However, he never thought about quitting his study. His families and friends often asked, “Is China that charming?” He answered, “Of course! China is a country full of charms, e.g., the long history, the profound culture, the picturesque scenery and the amicable people etc., all of which draw me back.”

On 19 August 2022, he finally was able to return to the ECNU campus. “I feel really elated to be in the beautiful campus with my familiar teachers and classmates. My heart always stands with ECNU and China.”

He loves Chinese cuisine so much that he even cooked it in Norway. Before returning to China, he made a wish list e.g., to have a hotpot in Chongqing, to drink beers in Qingdao, to eat Biangbiang noodles in Xi’an etc. In Norway, he also cooked Chinese food for his family, such as braised chicken feet and braised pork in brown sauce etc., leading his family members to understand and feel the true meaning of Chinese culture.

Eidskrem gradually figured out his goals while studying as an ECNU student. “I want to serve my life as a bridge between China and Norway, enabling more Norwegians to indeed understand China.”

In 2021, ECNU ushered in its 70th anniversary. To express how much he missed ECNU, he waved the flag of ECNU on a ship in Norway, sending his best wishes from Northern Europe.

Huang Meixu, Director of the International Education Center, expressed how he generated profound interest on the Chinese language and culture in his first year at high school.

After graduation from high school, he came far away to study in ECNU to learn more about China. “I believe every teacher and classmate of Ole can feel his inner passion for Chinese culture.”

After the speech, our proud ECNUer called his mother in Norway to invite her to visit him on the ECNU campus--the place where he studied and grew as an international student represenative of Norway.

Source: International Education Center of ECNU

Copy editor: Joshua Mayfield  | Editor: Wicky Xu