A Chat with visiting professor Dr. Elaine Jenks from West Chester University

Each semester, American College of Norway welcomes a faculty member from one of the partner universities in the US to come and teach in Moss. This semester, the visiting professor is no stranger to ACN. She taught here in 2019 and is delighted to be back in Norway after not having the opportunity to visit her beloved Scandinavia since before the pandemic. Meet Dr. Elaine Jenks, professor at West Chester University, and learn about why she enjoys being a professor, where her fascination with Northern Europe comes from, and her go to's in Norway (including where to get the best fish soup!).

Dr. Jenks ready to head out on a boat trip to see the fjords in Bergen, western Norway.

Hi Professor Jenks! This is not your first time at ACN, you were previously a visiting professor here in 2019. Why did you want to return for the fall semester of 2021?

I loved teaching at ACN in 2019. I also love to travel. An added bonus is that one of my sons lives in Stockholm and because of the pandemic, I wasn’t able to see him for the past two years. I’m delighted that I was invited to teach at ACN for the Fall, 2021 semester.

What is it like to be a visiting professor at ACN?

It’s really terrific to be a visiting professor at ACN because everyone – the administration, the staff, the other faculty, and the students – have all made me feel very welcome.

You teach Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication and Film at ACN this semester. What do you like the most about being a professor?

I love learning with my students. Every class is different even if I’ve taught it many times before because I haven’t taught it to these particular students. I especially like the intercultural aspect of teaching at ACN with some students from Norway, some from the US, and some from other parts of the world. Learning different perspectives helps all of us broaden our views.

We hear that you enjoy Norway and Scandinavia quite a lot, where does this interest come from and why do you like it so much?

When I was a senior in high school in the US, I met an exchange student from Sweden and we became good friends. My first trip to Sweden was many years ago right before I started college. Over the years my friend and I lost touch,  but found each other again in 2014 when my family and I visited Finland and Sweden. And because of the chance to be a visiting professor at ACN, I’ve now spent time in Norway, too. I really love Scandinavia. The countries are beautiful, it’s easy to get around without a car, and lots of people also speak English which is very helpful.

Lastly, what are your go to’s and must do’s in Norway that you would recommend to anyone visiting? Why?

First, I recommend just walking around Moss. It’s a really pretty town on the water with an old section and lots of walking trails. Second, now that I’ve had the chance to see some of the western fjords as well as the beautiful town of Bergen, I also recommend a weekend train trip from Moss to Bergen. The scenery on the train ride across Norway is beautiful and the view from the boat trip on the fjords is spectacular. Third, I definitely recommend regularly traveling from Moss to Oslo. The train ride to Oslo takes just 45 minutes and there is so much to see in Oslo. Some of my favorite choices in Oslo are walking on the roof of the Opera House, wandering around the section of the city called Grünerløkka, going to the Norway Resistance Museum in the Akershus Fortress, and visiting the Nobel Peace Center. I also recommend eating the fish soup in the Mathallen Food Court and tasting a Norwegian caramel candy I’m in love with called Smørbukk.

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