The first market was held in Røros in 1854, but for many years before then unlicensed tradesman had been selling their goods out of sight of the authorities. This historic mining village high up in the mountains is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage list and is well worth seeing for our international students.
It was a cold February day, but all over the market there were mittens and woolen soles for sale, as well as more or less traditional goods. Some of the students went for a sleigh ride with the Sami reindeer, others browsed the market for samples of food samples and listened to the many concerts that took place all over town.
Around lunchtime our students are gathered around a big smorgasbord, a big buffet, of traditional Norwegian food. They are reflecting about their experiences in Norway so far and talk quite enthusiastically about the day.
- It`s very beautiful here and I like the market. People are very friendly and the food is nice too, seems to be the verdict.
- Norway is expensive, but it is well worth coming here, they say.
- The biggest difference from Ireland is the focus you have on outdoor life, says Bernadette McLaughlin. The French students Gaëlle Tayeel, Suzy Mallett and Delphine Lanta agrees. - Even the babies sleep outside here. The children don`t have clothes to wear outside. Also, the adults trust the children much more in Norway. The children have more freedom.
They have noticed the, for them, high number of men working in Norwegian Early Childcare institutions.
- We have a much more gender divided labour market in France and Ireland. The mother is the primal caregiver and working with children is considered a woman`s job. A man working with children wouldn`t be changing nappies in Ireland, says Ms. McLaughlin. - There is much more equality here between men and women, between poor and rich and between the young and the old.
They appreciate the fact that as students they are still considered an asset when they have been in their Norwegian practice. - We get a lot of responsibility and we are being listened to. As students we still have a lot to learn, but I do hope I get to remember all the things I have learned in Norway, and that I get to implement the ideas and theories that I have learned here, says Ms McLaughlin.