A Chat with Summer School Professor Dr. Tami Carmichael

ACN is thrilled to announce that long-time visiting Professor, Dr. Tami Carmichael, is back to teach for Summer School 2022. Having been in touch with ACN since the late 1990's, Dr. Carmichael is a true ACN supporter who considers Norway her second home. Get to know her and learn about her course, Oslo: Vikings to Hipsters, in this interview.

Dr. Carmichael and summer school students in Oslo 2019.

Hi Dr. Carmichael! You coordinate the collaboration between the University of North Dakota and ACN. How did you first come in touch with Norway and ACN?

Hello -yes! – it’s been a pleasure to work with the UND and ACN collaboration for all these years! I’ve met so many wonderful students and faculty throughout this time. I learned about ACN as a new faculty member in the late 1990’s when the UND Director of the International Center (Barry Stinson – who still works with ACN) let me know about the opportunity to teach there. From the first moment I learned about ACN, I knew I wanted to teach there. Then I  started working directly with the ACN partnership in 2001. The Director of ACN — Krista Lauritzen — came to my department at UND and asked for help in recruiting students. Since then, I’ve worked closely with Krista and others to support this incredible learning opportunity for students. By the way – I finally got to teach at ACN for the first time in 2008, and I’ve been back almost every year since!

You have also taught as a visiting professor at ACN several times. Why are you returning for summer school 2022?

I’m so excited to return to ACN for summer school! It’s been over two years now since I’ve been able to be in Norway and at ACN and I miss it so much! I think of ACN as my “second home” and I was honored to be asked back to teach a course called Oslo:Vikings to Hipsters, that I specifically developed for the American College of Norway.

A field trip to the Viking Museum in 2019.

What is your favorite thing about Oslo and do you have any go-to’s in the city?

I absolutely love Oslo! — It’s one of my favorite cities and I’ve really enjoyed seeing all of the incredible developments there over the decades since I started traveling regularly to Norway. Oslo is a modern, exciting city, but it is also inviting and “koselig.”  The development of Aker Brygge is stunning, and I love spending time there – grabbing street food, having a coffee or an ice-cream by the water, or looking out over the harbor from the top of the Opera building. I can’t wait to get to the new Munch museum and the new National Museum. Along with a group of ACN students, I got to tour the National Museum as it was being built – that was such a fun experience!

What can students expect from your course? We hear that weekly field trips to Oslo are on the agenda.

I’m not going to lie, this is probably my favorite course to teach — We talk about the development of cities and why they “grow” the way they do, and then we dive into the history of Norway, using Oslo as our “text” for studying things like the Viking Age, World War II, the development of Norway as a nation-state, and how Norway has become a world-leader in environmental issues.  All of these things can be seen and studied by visiting places in Oslo. So yes! We will go each week to Oslo and visit museums, galleries, and other places where we can learn first-hand about the history of the country and the city.  And I’ve taught this class enough times now to honestly tell you that even if you are Norwegian, you will discover MANY interesting things you did not know. For instance, one thing we do is take a walking tour of the street art throughout the city. And through this practice, we learn about immigration over the decades, the development of eco-friendly living environments, and the fusion of international foods and culture that are vibrantly available in Oslo. It’s so much fun! – and a great way to earn some required college credit!  You won’t have a heavy reading load; there are lots of class discussions, some very short papers, and some presentations. You will definitely have time for traveling on the weekends!

Another field trip for the course Oslo: Vikings to Hipsters, in 2019.

Final question. In your opinion and experience, why is studying abroad in Norway for the summer something that American students can benefit from?

Studying at ACN – especially in the summer — allows American students (and others!) direct access to some of the most vibrant venues in Norway — the summer classes really focus on hands-on learning and use Norway as a text for understanding important issues and developing essential skills. Students who come — or who stay! — in the summer become a closely bonded group who have so much fun learning and traveling together that they become life-long friends. I know students who travel regularly to see their ACN friends, be in their weddings, travel together, and help each other with finding jobs. In addition to the great connections they can make, students get to know the country of Norway intimately — we’ve had students take friends and family on tours of Oslo after taking summer classes because they become so comfortable traveling there and navigating the city. Teaching and learning at the American College is always an excellent experience, but the summer term is very special – I wish every college student could participate!

Are you interested in Summer School? Learn more here and apply today!

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