Foreign Nurses should begin from the bottom...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I suppose I have to change the outdated posts I did for foreign nurses hoping to work here in Norway, as there will be changes in the process of application starting this year. A lot of nurses, especially Filipinos, are reacting negatively to this unreasonable change.

There are two ways for a nurse with education from countries outside the EU / EEA seeking authorization in Norway: Either start again on the Bachelor's degree program and get an exemption for certain subjects, or to take the qualification route, which may contain the nasjonal fag, medication management, language, practice and some theoretical topics.

From January Høgskole i Oslo og Akershus or HiOA (College of Oslo and Akershus) is starting a new study entitled "Professional and Scientific basis" of 33 credits, which is a collection of all subjects. Previously subjects been spread over several years in nursing education, but they are now being compressed as a course to make it easier for foreign nurses to qualify.

Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel (SAK) recently said that it is too early to say whether the creation of the new study on HiOA will lead to nurses with education from countries outside the EU / EEA will save them from starting from scratch.

Currently, the health care ministry is out for consultation a proposal for a new licensing system for healthcare professionals who are trained outside the EU / EEA. One of the points in the proposal is that a decision by SAK shall be valid for at least three years, to give a more predictable system. It is also proposed that language examination, examinations, courses in national subjects and medication management should also be taken.

Learn Norwegian Part 5

Friday, October 24, 2014

I already started with the Bergenstest preparation course online today. To be honest, I really missed studying and learning something new in the Norwegian language. In fact, I have learned one Norwegian expression today:
Å ta seg vann over hodet


when broken down literally means:

å ta seg - to take oneself
vann- water
over - over
hodet - the head

Do I see a bulb just lit up there? No, sorry guys. This does not mean Ice bucket challenge. Nice try...

Seriously, this simply means, biting off more than you can chew. Taking a task that is so big for you, that you get overwhelmed and eventually, failing to accomplish it.

I am a member of Facebook group, Ja, Jeg snakker lift Norsk. It is intended for foreigners who want to learn Norwegian. Members are both Norwegians and non-Norwegians. Such group is very helpful if you have questions relating to the language. When writing a post or comment here, I am really mindful of the grammar, the choice of words and the tone of my voice. It is a good practice really. Plus people here are so quick to correct you, which is another positive thing.

Speaking of corrections, when someone corrects you or points out a mistake you did, how do you react/feel? Do you go all full metal gear into defensive mode or maybe just laugh it out? I asked this because I want to let you guys know that it is impossible to learn a language without committing grammar errors, incorrect use of words or pronunciation, not understanding the sentence or the context, not being able to communicate your thoughts or feelings properly, etc. It is really frustrating. REALLY. I did not learn Norwegian overnight, neither was it just a walk in a part. I was laughed at, been quite humiliated, discriminated and backstabbed because of my then poor Norwegian, etc. All this because I was learning a new language. No, I am not asking for a pity party here. The reason why I am sharing this is because as much as I enjoyed learning Norwegian, it is not easy and for you to understand that, if you want to embrace a new language, you really have to be humble and learn where you´re at in the learning curve. I have come into terms that I will never be able to speak 100%, perfect Norwegian, but I aim to at least speak 90%. Just that, and I am OK. I remember back then when I met a new colleague at work, I would always tell them that I don´t speak well yet and ask them to be patient with me. I even encourage them to stop and correct me. I do not take offense when they do.Nope, not at all. It was really humbling experience for me.

I have watched a lot of foreigners learn the language, from nothing/ scratch. All the time, the advice I tell them is this: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT say "Yes, I understand" even if you really don´t. This is a fatal mistake almost all foreigners do while learning Norsk, or I maybe, any language. I have to admit that I committed this mistake early years here in the country. I was afraid to lose face to my colleagues - that I could not understand what they were saying equates to incompetence or inadequacy on my part. It must be human nature: Kapag hindi mo gets, slow ka (If you don´t get it, you are slow to pick up) and you are branded stupid, dumbass, imbecile, pea-brain, birdbrain, /insert more words synonymous to idiot here/. Period. No one can´t blame you though, we are living in a harsh, judgemental world. It only took one certain mistake for me to realise that it was really a stupid thing to do and a waste of time.

I think it requires a lot of honesty, not only to the other person, but to yourself. As the Norwegians would say, it is better to ask a lot, than to ask too little. They don´t bite. They are even more appreciative whenever you tell them you did not understand or get what they are trying to say and they would gladly explain it. I have not yet met a Norwegian who did not take time explaining something to me when I asked them to.

Yikes, I may have strayed from the topic I originally intended to write, i.e. the Norwegian expression. haha Anyway, yeah, Ice bucket challenge anyone?

Test in Norwegian - higher level, Bergenstest

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I have been yapping about the Bergenstest for a while now and I did not even realise that I haven´t made a info entry on it yet. (Sorry!) I am not gonna make up any excuses for it (though I really have a  good one).

Bergenstest or the Test in Norwegian -higher level is a language test complying with the European framework of language proficiency.  This test will prove a candidate´s mastery on the Norwegian language. It has two parts, the written and oral, which could be taken separately. I will be taking only the written part because that´s the requirement to get in a university/college. Also, the test is held four times a year, in january, april and october.

The written test is intended for foreigners who wish to apply at a university or college in Norway, Norwegian citizens who took up high school/pre-college abroad and job-seekers and professionals who needs a certification of their mastery of the Norwegian language.

To take the test here in Norway, you have to pay a fee of 1900 NOK for the written part and 925NOK for the oral. You can take it in Bokmål or Nynorsk. The application is done online and is binding.

Where to take it? There a couple of testing centres across Norway. These centres open depending on the volume of the candidates taking the tests. Usually in big cities like Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim, the exams are held regularly there, but you have to apply early because they have limited slots, I heard.

For candidates taking the test abroad, you have to pay a fee of 3500NOK. The test is held usually the same days as the tests are being taken in Norway.

Ok! For the contents of the test. I found this from folkeuniversitetet´s website.

The written test measures reading comprehension of theme-oriented texts, listening comprehension of short conversations and news reports, skills in writing an account of an interview, knowledge in grammar and syntax  and writing an essay on a given theme.

The test has two parts (part  1 has three tests and part 2 has two). There is a 20-30 minute break between these 2 parts.

Part 1:
a) Reading comprehension
b) Listening comprehension
c) Minutes of an interview

Part 2:

d) Grammar, word and phrase
e) Written production

The part A, B and D is corrected after an answer key. For the minutes of interview, it will be qualitatively assessed according to the following criteria: dissemination, content, language (text structure, vocabulary, grammar and spelling& punctuation). While the written production is evaluated according to dissemination, text structure, vocabulary and spelling & punctuation. be continued.

Admission test to a Bergenstest course online

As promised from my previous post, I am doing a separate entry on the recent admission test I did to get a slot in an online course in preparation of taking the Bergenstest.

I have to let you know first though that there are other available internet-based courses. The examples I will be showing are sourced from the admission test of Rosenhof. So if you have questions whether these are actual tests in the Bergenstest, I cannot 100% say.

So about the course! The course is made for academics who wish to improve on the written part of the Test in Norwegian- higher level. This test is aimed for persons aiming to apply at a university or college in Norway and for employees needing a certification on the Norwegian language proficiency. To take the course, it is a prerequisite that the applicant has already a knowledge in Norwegian language to a level equivalent to passing a language test or more.

The test will evaluate whether you understand the basics in Norwegian grammar, as well as testing if you have a wide vocabulary. The maximum points you can earn is 100. A score of 80-100 is a very good result and it means that the course will be useful for you as intended. Scoring 70- 80 is also a good result. You will learn a lot from the course. A score of 60- 70 means that you have the potential but you may or may not need to take a lower level Norwegian course. You have to send in an essay if you wish to be evaluated to be admitted to the course. And lastly, for a score under 60, it is recommended that you take another course.

The test is divided into 5 parts. You can only take the test once and after sending in your answers, it will be registered. Taking time and thinking it through is a good strategy here. And one more thing, without me stating the obvious: No asking for help or using a dictionary for this. The results will not reflect the actual level your Norwegian is, i.e., you are only fooling yourself.

Part one is reading comprehension. Here you will choose the right word that completes the sentence/ thought of the sentence. One strategy I applied here was reading the whole article first and got a sense of what the article is all about.   There are 3 choices on each drop box.
Part one: Reading comprehension

Part two will test your vocabulary. I found this part quite easy. When I started learning Norwegian, I always had a dictionary in my pocket and I always look up the words I don´t understand. Or if I don´t have a dictionary at hand, I write it down and then look it up later. Though I don´t have a very ginormous vocabulary- by doing that, I was able to increase it slowly. I still encounter some words and expressions even after 6 years living here, but I never fail to find out what they mean.
Part two: vocabulary

Part three is grammar, word and expressions. You are ask here to write down the lacking phrase so that sentence A and B means the same. This is where you learn paraphrasing, which is a very useful too in learning Norwegian grammar. 
Part three: Grammar

Part four is listening exercises. Recorded conversations is played continuously and only once. At the end of each conversation you have around 15 seconds to choose the right answer. There are four alternatives to choose from so you really have to listen very well because the choices can be tricky. 
Part four: listening exercises

Part five is fill in the blanks. Another one to test your knowledge in grammar and reading comprehension. Again, it is wise to read first the entire text before diving in.
Part five: Fill in the blanks
Now did I say five parts? Well If you fall into the 60-70 score range then you will have to write an essay if you wish to be evaluated to take the course. A confession: I didn´t read the whole introduction of the test so even though I already passed the 70% passing line, I still did an essay. Haha Eager beaver alert! So yeah, the last part is the essay. For the essay, I was asked to write about the new role of fathers in the Norwegian society. It is normal for Norwegian men to take part in caring of babies/children, which is I think  a good thing and something all men should be doing all around the globe. :)
Part six: Essay
So there you have it. I hope this gives a bit of insight to those who are planning to take the test. I will be doing more Bergenstest related entries to keep you updated. So stay tuned!

First snowfall this year

Saturday, October 18, 2014

This year´s first snow fall happened last October 16. (I know, late post!) I remember waking up to a day where everything outside seemed to be dusted with confectioner´s sugar. It is a light thought, reminiscent that to the story of Hansel and Gretel- minus the children-eating witch part. To my fellow expats who originally come from tropical countries, you probably remember that first time you saw and held a snowflake on your palm when you came here - or some other version similar to that. I remember mine.

There is always two sides to a story. It is not always sunny and happy, we all know that. (Yikes, I sense an impending gloom). This snowfall equates to the end of warmer days and welcoming the cold, grey/dark and depressing season. Why do I always remember the movie 30 days of night when autumn/winter comes? I know right??!! (Too much watching of The Vampire Diaries and the The Originals) Hyssjjj!!!! (Norsk equivalent to shush).

My road to Bergenstest

Thursday, October 16, 2014

At last! After the long wait.

When I passed the Nasjonalfag for sykepleie, it felt like it was a breakthrough. That feeling when you finally discovered the definite cure for cancer.  Well, I am exaggerating. :) Seriously,I knew back then that I had reached a milestone in my quest here in Norway, but like all other quests, that is just one leg and sooner or later, another challenge will emerge. I was meaning to take the Bergenstest right after I became a nurse here. That was the plan. But it took me what, 5 years, to finally do something about it.

Why am I taking this test, you might ask me. I am already a nurse and I passed the Norsk prove 3, which is the standard requirement. Good question! haha Let me tell you this though. I wish to go back to school and take a specialty or higher education (masters or maybe a Ph.D.) and a requirement is passing the Bergenstest, which is designed for foreigners who intend to apply for admission at a Norwegian university or college. Not only that, you see, some employers, especially in Oslo, also require that applicants has a B2 or higher level in language proficiency. Competition is getting stiffer here.

A challenge though: I could not physically attend a Norsk kurs in Oslo (where bergenstest preparation courses are held). My daughter is exclusively breastfeeding and is not a big fan of bottles so I have to be with her or I can be away but for like 1-2 hours max. But I did not let this deter me. I really want this. So I looked over the internet if there are online courses offered and viola! I found one.

Oslo Voksenopplæring Rosenhof is offering an online Bergenstest preparation course. They have like 15 slots per class and to get in, you have to take inntakstest (an entrance/ evaluation exam) to check whether this course suits you, in terms of your norskkunskap. So I took the inntakstest and to make the long story short, i got in! Self high-five! :)

I will be doing a separate post on what the entrance test was about and throw in some of the examples. :) So I hope to see you again on my next blog entry. :)

I am on the local newspaper

Monday, October 6, 2014

I am just sharing this article which was written two years ago on Moss Avis. :) Filipino nurses rules!

Timelapse video of beautiful Norway

Sunday, October 5, 2014

This video is sourced from Dagbladet. Morten Rustad traveled 15000 kilometers and slept in his car for one month to capture these breathtaking scenes of Norway.