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Every year, the city of Bergen hosts thousands of international students who are studying at universities such as the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) and the University of Bergen (UiB). It’s often difficult for international students to build friendships with local Norwegians, so organizations like the Erasmus Student Network and AIESEC work to help people meet.

Erasmus Student Network is a student-run organization that has a program called ESN Buddies in which one international student and one Norwegian student are paired together. This allows international students to get to know Norwegians and have a mentor for their time on exchange. ESN also organizes events such as Language Cafe, themed parties, hikes, pub crawls, sports outings, and more. Students are also offered the opportunity to travel to other countries with groups of people from ESN along with a leader. ESN has a large network online, especially on Facebook, where students can go for information, to buy and sell, or to contact ESN members at other locations around the world. Kadir shared, “ESN is a big network, I could go to Iceland or Rome or even to Faroe Islands, and ESN is there, it is everywhere. If I need a place to stay, or someone to show me around, I can ask my friends from ESN and they will help me.”

AIESEC is another organization that works to help international students meet and make friends with locals during their exchange program. AIESEC is the world’s largest student organization with around 80,000 active members in 124 countries around the globe. It offers internships for international students at the location of their exchange. AIESEC aims to give international students a program that they feel comfortable and at home with. The organization holds internal events to promote social integration between local students and international students.