My Summer Studying Abroad in Norway at the American College of Norway

Every summer we welcome students to the American College of Norway to take part in a four-week summer school program led by visiting faculty members. This summer was no exception and we had 20 students participate in the program where they took courses dealing with health, human rights and immigrant integration led by the UND Honors Program. UND student, Rachel Lantz reflects back on her time at ACN this summer and offers great advice for those thinking of coming to ACN for summer school in the near future. Thanks for the great article and advice, Rachel - we had a blast having you and your cohort at ACN this summer!

When I told people I was studying abroad in Norway for the summer, the following questions would ensue, “Where to?” “Norway!” I’d exclaim with a big smile. “Why Norway?” My usual response became, “Well, why not Norway?” It isn’t until now, 4 weeks later, that I can fully explain why summer school in Norway at the American College of Norway was the best fit for my study abroad experience.

If you are considering summer school in Norway, 1) Do it. 2) Go to the American College of Norway.

The American College of Norway is located in Moss, Norway, only 40 minutes south of Oslo. Living in Moss provided a glimpse of what everyday life in Norway looks like for most people. It was a bustling, smaller city, with a lot to explore. Our favorite adventure was walking to the Oslo fjord for a swim, even if it was a little cold and a few jellyfish were spotted. Another must is exploring Nesparken, a cute park on a lake in the center of the city. Keep exploring until you find (my favorite) trail that leads you to a makeshift swing overlooking the lake (and think of me).

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The second reason to attend summer school in Norway at the American College of Norway is the staff. The staff at ACN built a ‘home away from home’ atmosphere from the first day to the last. From picking us up at the train station, to being available for recommendations on travel plans, showing us around the grocery store, and planning authentic Norwegian picnics and parties, the staff did an outstanding job of integrating us into Norwegian life. They were always available with any questions we had, and always let us pet their dogs.

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One unique aspect about studying abroad at ACN was the ease of traveling. Having a 3-day weekend, every weekend, we were able to jump onto a bus or train to Oslo, and from there – just about anywhere. We spent weekends exploring the beautiful fjords of Norway, and other various destinations in Europe. I spent a weekend in Denmark, and other students were able to spend weekends in Italy, Germany, and Sweden. One of my favorite memories was spending 24 hours on the island of Ålesund without any hotel reservations. In the summer the land of the midnight sun allowed us to explore throughout the night. After 24 hours and no sleep, a lot of memorable moments were had – and it was definitely worth it.

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If I could redo one thing, I would plan more in advance for the weekend trips. Have an idea of where you want to go, and budget for these weekends! We were able to throw together a trip last minute (with the help of staff) but if we would’ve done our research we might have been able to save a few dollars!

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Finally, some talk about the actual studying. As much as I thought I wanted to just be ‘abroad’, the whole idea of me going to Norway was to ‘study abroad’, and the studying part turned out to be quite enjoyable. The classes I took were not only interesting, but the classroom and teaching style were very engaging and hands on. ACN staff planned two field trips for us – including a tour of the Norwegian Parliament and a Refugee Welcome Center in Norway. These two field trips provided me with a more in depth lesson about Norway, while connecting ideas we discussed in class to real life.

All in all, Norway was a beautiful country with adventures abounding every weekend. I had the experience of a lifetime, and fell in love with a country and traveling all at once. The amount of things I have learned, even in a few short weeks, are numerous; from mastering public transportation, to figuring out foreign grocery stores, and planning as many adventures as possible for the smallest amount of money. One receives a completely different perspective when studying abroad, and if it were not for the American College of Norway I don’t think my experience abroad would have been the same.

If you’re hoping to study in Norway at the American College of Norway like Rachel, click here to learn more about our unique and exciting program! Watch our study abroad video too by clicking here!

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