Thursday, February 28, 2013

ISFiT from the eyes of a participant

This post was written by Anastasia from Russia, a participant of ISFiT 2013.

Ten days of ISFiT have passed like one single moment, and it was a moment that changed my views and my future—changed me. For ten days I lived in a wonderful world; a world, where 116 nationalities peacefully shared common ideas and dreams. We were so different and so similar at the same time! We were different and could teach each other, yet we were similar and could work together and be understanding.

And through this strong cooperation we learned a lot. I’m sure that everyone had an amazing experience of the workshops, cultural exchange and lectures. I for one want to share more about our Health and Wealth workshop activities. Thanks to our awesome Workshop Leaders Maren, Marit, Mari and Max (we called them Four M’s) and our beautiful Workshop Contact Hallgjerd we enjoyed every moment of our studies in ISFiT. Together we discussed problems with health care in our countries, argued about hot topics such as medical ethics, and played role games in order to find a solution to a particular health problem.

We tried to listen to each other and understand every one’s opinion. I learned much from my group-mates, who were all doctors, nurses and brilliant students. I study finance, so at first I was afraid that I didn’t have much to contribute with. But now I see that you don’t need a special degree to help people in their need, you just have to care and try to do your best with what you have.

ISFiT was a small planet, where everything that we dreamed about was possible. And now I strongly believe that everything that was possible on the ISFiT-planet is possible all over the world. We can live in peace.  We can share and care.  We only needed about 450 volunteers.

The Health and Wealth Workshop. Photo:

Monday, February 18, 2013

The End

All photos:

Well, it's over. Eleven days of festival fun is over, and we can't quite believe it. Almost 1000 participants and volunteers have filled the streets of Trondheim and made the city come alive. There's been concerts, plenary sessions, theatre, stand-up, art exhibitions and so much more. There's been laughter and tears and countless new friendships. It's been an experience too amazing to put into words, so here are some pictures that sum up the ISFiT experience. See you in 2015!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Casa ISFiT

In a cosy white house in the Rosendal neighborhood of Trondheim, everything has revolved around ISFiT for the last couple of months. It's kind of unavoidable when all four housemates are ISFiT volunteers. Since the festival officially kicked off last week, Birgitte, Elise, Bertine and Karoline have pretty much been eating, sleeping and breathing ISFiT. And if that wasn't enough, they also decided to invite two ISFiT participants to stay with them for the duration of the festival.

When the blog comes to visit on a busy Thursday morning, Birgitte and Bertine are busy cooking up a big breakfast they can all enjoy together - not something that happens every day, since they all have very busy schedules. The two participants, Alberto and Martín, have to be at their workshops early, but there's still time for a bit of food and a cup of coffee.

Martín and Alberto are both from Lima, Peru, but didn't know each other personally before they ended up staying with the same hosts during ISFiT.
-I actually know Martín's brother, though. He's the one who told me about ISFiT, says Alberto. It turns out that Martín's brother was a participant in 2011, and he's the main reason the two boys are spending February in snowy Norway.
-He went around our university and told everyone about this student festival in Trondheim. I probably wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him.

The breakfast table contains a wide range of Norwegian specialties, from brown cheese and mackerel to crisp bread and salmon. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the foreign guests' preferred breakfast food is the salmon, although they've also tried the brown cheese and didn't think it was too bad. I ask them if they've tried any other Norwegian specialties.
-I've had some aquavit, says Alberto, referring to the potato-based spirit traditionally served during Christmas. -It was allright.

I ask the girls if it isn't too stressful being ISFiT volunteers, students and hosts at the same time.
-We all have a lot to do of course, but it's been fine so far. The guys have pretty packed schedules and are out of the house pretty much all day, and we've all got so much to do that we're not home that much either. And besides, ISFiT is so much fun that it doesn't feel like work, says Elise.
-And we've also got two bathrooms, so we don't have to fight over who gets the shower first, laughs Birgitte.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

So you think you can dance?

Do you know what a camel is? No, not the animal, but the dance move? Neither did these guys before they attended a belly dancing lesson yesterday.

Yesterday, ISFiT celebrated the joy of dance. In the evening, professional dancers performed for an enthusiastic crowd in the Great Hall, but before that, participants, volunteers and everyone who wanted to learn more could attend dance courses in the afternoon. Professional belly dancer Ingrid Bjørsnøs Kvam from the Trondheim Oriental School of Dance showed people how to shake their hips.

A couple of guys had also found their way to the class, presumably to learn some new moves. Not a bad idea, really, considering how difficult it can be to resist a guy that knows how to dance (just sayin'...)

Later, it was time to learn the coveted art of swing - a dance style that most people have tried, but few have truly mastered. We've all been there - at a wedding or a school dance, awkwardly fumbling around and trying our best not to step on our dance partner's toes. So instructors Pål Ellingsen and Cecilie Kilhavn took it upon themselves to teach the participants some proper technique.

It was a little like watching Dancing with the Stars, except that the only two professionals were dancing with each other. Also, there were no celebrities there. 

Because the girls outnumbered the boys, there was a frequent exchange of partners going on, to ensure that no girls had to dance alone for too long (can you even dance swing alone?) The result was slightly chaotic at times, or as instructor Pål said: "Less speed dating, more dancing, please."