I get worried looks because I live in Fantoft

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Les kronikken på norsk her.

Fantoft was built during the years 1969-1972 and has not been touched since . It is cheap to live here, and both electricity and Internet are included in the rent. Grocery store, fitness center and light rail is right outside your door. But despite these good benefits, Fantoft is seen as a place one does not want to stay.

It is the largest student city SIB owns. Like many other complexes, Fantoft also has a Facebook group for those who live there. In this group you can find posts like “The water is messed up again! Is it safe to drink?” and “No mineral water without sparkles at Meny, milk is cheaper”. These are two fairly recent post on this group, because this week we have had brown water in the tap.

Listen to the whole comment here (norwegian):

This didn’t come as a surprise to those of us who have lived here a little longer than a year. This is actually a quite normal problem here at Fantoft. And once again I had to spend money on water in a grocery shop, even if clean water is something most Norwegian students are accustomed to getting free.

Complaints all the time

“Hi! Is your flat warm enough? I feel my flat is not warm enough”.

No, my flat is not warm enough. Lately I’ve been sleeping with both pants and hoodie, just to keep warm at night.

People have attached duck tape around the windows so that the cold won’t pull in through the windowsills. Harmful you say? A necessity, we say.

“Is anyone else experiencing internet problems?” reads another post in the Facebook group. Yes, definitely. Always. SIB just changed ISP for us at Fantoft, and promised great Internet and everything. Another lie.

I’m thrilled every time I can actually watch Netflix without a halt. It feels like a small victory for me each time. And what annoys me most is that on the other side of the light rail, where the family apartments are, they have an awesome internet line. Why?

Unnecessary fire alarms is also a known problem at Fantoft. Having to get up at 4 in the morning to evacuate the building in only one’s pajamas, for then to know that it was just a false alarm, is not that cool. It doesn’t bother you that much the first time, but after 10 unnecessary fire alarms, you eventually don’t move out of the dorm at all. Not even the couch. You just lay on the couch and yell “shut up” to the alarm stops.

These are just a few of many problems at the student residences at Fantoft. Garbage in the hallways, hearing when your neighbor goes to the toilet, not to mention how easy it is for unauthorized people to get into the blocks.

The newspaper Bergensavisen wrote an article about Fantoft in 2013, and focused on the big problem with garbage in the hallways. NRK Hordaland also wrote an article in 2013 where Fantoft was compared to a ghetto

Perhaps it isn’t that surprising that I get worried looks when I tell people where I live?

Time for renovation?

The truth is that I’m tired of just accepting all these problems. I’m tired of having to buy water at Meny every time it comes brown tap water. I am so insanely tired of hearing the fire alarm going off over and over again, usually because someone thinks it’s a good idea to cook food in the middle of the night. I get so pissed that I have to turn the Internet line off and on at least every day just to see if it gets the Internet up and running again.

When is SIB going to realize that the old buildings from the 70s is in a desperate need of a renovation?

But still, it’s not me you should feel sorry for. What about the exchange students that are staying here in Bergen?

“Welcome to Fantoft! Here you’ll find a minority of Norwegians and majority of other exchange students. Hope you’re English is good! Do not be concerned when it comes brown tap water or if the fire alarm goes off. That’s just another day here!”.

Despite all these problems, it is actually the exchange students who make Fantoft habitable.  They are the ones that gives tips for solutions when writing about issues on the Facebook group. They are the ones that make conversations in the elevator, just to be nice. They are those who always give you a smile and keeps the door open for you.

It is actually the students at Fantoft that make the place habitable, not SIB.

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