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The Membus in Norway

By Memrise Blog


The Membus keeps going as strong as ever on its adventurous mission across Europe, filming locals en route in order to bring the brand new “Meet the natives” mode to your favourite language-learning app Memrise. Meanwhile, the team back at HQ have been working hard to integrate all these videos into the app, meaning you can already enjoy this mode for French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian! For a quick recap of what the project is all about, check out our site here.

Read on to find out how we finished collecting the videos for the penultimate chapter of our video dictionary, Norwegian!


The Membus team had reached perhaps its most momentous day to date. A random decision by our CEO Ed to have our front bus sign say “Oslo via Rome” has turned into quite the motif for the Membus. Never has anyone, I’m sure, been so determined as we were to make it successfully to the Norwegian capital. The ride, however, wasn’t quite as smooth as you could hope for.

We came across a low-lying bridge (I mean, it was bound to happen eventually) on the motorway. I swiftly disembarked from the bus and began to block the oncoming cars, all the while guiding our driver Renato in reverse in order to take another exit. There really is nothing that we won’t do to make sure that bus completes its mission…

So it was with great pride and satisfaction that we rocked up at our residency in Oslo: an extensive marina bang in the centre of the city, with striking views of the horizon dotted with sailing masts, and beautiful beaches right on our doorstep.


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To top off this charming Norwegian scene, we had a charming Norwegian! Meet our latest assistant Magnus: the finest raconteur of cultural tales that ever has lived. His fountain of knowledge and enthusiasm for Norway was a pleasure to behold, and certainly meant we got to film and experience some truly traditional treats. Also along for the ride were a series of visitors from the Memrise office: Maria, our fierce Russian translator, Lien, our user support and office manager (which turns into a war scene as soon as she leaves for more than a day) and Eszter, our talented designer. I think it was beginning to dawn on them all back home that the tour was almost over…


Oslo was a fantastic city to film in, with the modern Opera House becoming a firm favourite as a backdrop, for its myriad different angles and architectural slants. We also had a great day shooting at Oslo University, thanks to Caroline, a student there whom we bumped into late one night in a newsagent, and who loved the sound of the project so much, she willingly (and very efficiently) rounded up all her classmates the next day to be filmed on campus!


We moved on next to Kristiansand, where, as luck would have it, Magnus grew up and where his family still lives. As well as performing valiantly for our video dictionary, his parents treated us to a slap-up barbecue, Norwegian style (a veritable meat-feast and a delicious home-grown apple pie being the memorable highlights). Probably a good thing we went for a really really long hike the next day in the nearby nature reserve…

Despite the thunderstorms and torrential rain which battered our beloved bus over the 3-day stretch in Kristiansand, it survived as heroically as ever, as did the crewmembers onboard, meaning that we have now successfully finished the Norwegian video dictionary. Fantastisk!


And then there was just one ferry ride between us and our final country of the tour – Denmark! As we watched the port drift peacefully away from the tail end of the vast ColorLine Cruiser, it began to dawn on us how close we were to completing our epic mission across Europe. The Memcrew felt excited and more ready than ever to wrap up the final chapter of the video dictionary, with the Membus forever by their side.


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