I am now six weeks into my US adventure and I am loving it! However, I had to do some prep work before getting to this point, and I thought I would share some tips and experiences with you. The biggest struggle was definitely getting my J-1 visa. Starting this process two and a half months before departure led to me getting it one week before I left, which was quite stressful. I would recommend starting as soon as you can and be prepared to submit a lot of documentation, waiting and going to Oslo for the visa interview. The next challenge was finding a place to live in the middle of the semester. In my experience, the best way to do so is posting in a local Facebook group for university housing. I now share a house with four other girls, which I would definitely recommend if you enjoy socializing and want someone to answer all your questions about American culture.
When arriving in Ann Arbor I received a warm welcome from my supervisor, her students and the rest of the IPIT team. During the first week, I started preparing the IRB application (an ethics approval needed to publish research), which I would recommend doing before arriving in the US if possible, as it takes at least four weeks to get it reviewed. I have also learned that recruiting subjects is not as easy as I expected, which led me to make some changes in my original research plan. However, with the support of my supervisors at NTNU and U-M, I feel optimistic that the end result will be a good one regardless.
Aside from the challenges mentioned, I am truly enjoying this experience. I have made some great friends and gotten to see many cool places already, including New York and Chicago. I also love learning about American culture and continue to develop my college vocabulary. I go out to lunch a little too often (Ann Arbor has got so many good spots), but you’ve got to treat yourself, right? If you are anything like me and like to go out of your comfort zone, I would definitely encourage you to take part in the IPIT program and go to the charming college town that is Ann Arbor!
Written by Ina-Marie