During my time in Norway, I experienced so many opportunities to explore the beautiful country. I was able to ski, hike, kayak, and do so many other activities. I lived in the small town of Rosendal where there are about 800 people. Everyone was so welcoming and inclusive. I worked at the Rosendal Undomsskule, which is equivalent to our middle school. It was about a block away from the cabin we lived in. It was a short walk to the school every day. The cabin was on the fjord with a dock to sit and relax while enjoying the lovely scenery. I learned so much about the school system and the differences between Norway and the US during my time there.
The most valuable learning experience would be teaching in a math class that only spoke Norwegian. I struggled a lot during the beginning of the class because I had never experienced anything like it before. It put me in the perspective of a student learning English in America. I was able to pick up on ideas by using pictures or other similar words and make connections. This will benefit my teaching career because I can use those ideas to help future students.
My most memorable experience would be going skiing with the whole school during my second week. I was able to have conversations with the students and really get to know them. It was a great introduction to the lifestyle of Norwegians, and they taught me what to bring during a ski trip. They bring hot dogs, oranges, hot chocolate, and Kvikk Lunjs, this is like a KitKat.
What did you not expect?
Something that surprised me was how easily people were able to communicate with me. Since English is their second language, I expected to run into some issues with people who did not know English. In the small town, I only had one person unable to speak English fluently. It makes me realize that you never know what to expect.
What advice would you give?
Do it!! Since student teaching is at the end of your senior year, it pushes people away. I know I felt this way. It is such a short amount of time, and it is worth it. I loved every second of it. Also, take advantage of every opportunity. There would be days when I did not want to do anything, but I would push myself to do it. Those always seemed to be the best days.
How has this experience impacted your life?
This experience impacted my life in many ways. I had never been outside of the United States before this, and it was eye-opening. I wanted to teach abroad so I could incorporate different ideas into my classroom in the United States. This showed me that I would want to teach abroad for a full year. When I am having conversations with students from different countries, I am growing as a teacher and person. I believe the best way to learn is to do, and traveling can teach you so much about the world around us.
How did you learn about this experience?
I learned about this experience during my first semester of freshman year. They gave a presentation about the different locations, and I knew I wanted to go. I did not know where, but it sounded like an amazing opportunity.International Connections