Bethany Larson and Jeannette Sevigny were Study Abroad students at the American College in Norway during the fall of 2016. Following are their thoughts on the experience, as well as links to their blogs.
Shaking and terrified, I read the acceptance letter from the American College of Norway in January of this year. Little did I know, that was just the beginning. It has been a roller coaster experience, yet I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I have gained global knowledge and understanding that will help me in the years to come not only at Mayville State University but in my future profession as teaching. By stepping out of my comfort zone and fully engulfing myself in a different culture, I have become a more well-rounded person, and that in itself is an amazing feeling. One of my major goals when I came to the American College of Norway was to learn by becoming more open minded, and it helped me gain the full experience. In the past four months, I have had good days; I have had bad days; I have had days where all I could do was laugh; I have also had days where all I could seem to do was cry; yet at the end of all those days, I am more than happy with the person I am shaping into.
Being a part of a global society is so important, and I truly understood what that meant after studying abroad in Norway. When I came to Norway, I had never been out of the country, therefore I hadn’t experience the United States from the outside looking in. This has been one of the best representations of the United States thus far. It was very exhilarating to hear what people thought about the U.S., and being from the United States, it sometimes made me laugh. It was very important for me to gain global knowledge as a citizen and future teacher. The American College of Norway helped me immensely through this process. When I was speaking at an international conference in Oslo, I was asked questions about the American College of Norway but also about home and how certain views have changed over the time here. I was also able to experience the election from outside the United States. This was very helpful for me, because I was forced to reflect on my own personal biases. If I would have been in the United States during this time, it would not have been the same experience as I received in Norway. I have become more aware and understanding of governmental issues. I also have become more engaged in governmental affairs, because I recently have realized it really does matter to me. Through this study abroad experience, I have become more globally knowledgeable, and this will aid me into become a better citizen of the United States.
The study abroad experience I received at the American College benefitted me as a current Mayville State student and future teacher. This experience has made me want everybody at Mayville State to go to Norway to receive this amazing experience, because it impacted my life and the way I do things so much. It also made me appreciate Mayville State University, because the institution is the only reason I am here today. I am very excited to a future teacher and incorporate global perspectives into my future student’s learning. Not only have I had the chance to take pictures to show my future students, but I have begun to understand Norway’s educational system. This was an eye-opener for me, because I hadn’t thought about how other countries teach their students. Although Norway is very similar to the United States, their educational system is very different. I found it helpful to take into consideration different ways of teaching, because it will help shape me into a global educator instead of just an educator. My study abroad experience had more global perspective than I expected, but it will help me become an improved Mayville State student and a better teacher in the future.
The American College of Norway has been one of the best decisions I have made in my life thus far. While being in Norway, I have been able to not only find myself but experience life in a whole different culture. I has helped me become a better citizen, student, and future educator, and I could not be any happier with my experience. The shaking hands that were once clinging onto my acceptance letter are now clinging onto all my new friends, memories, and my packed luggage ready to go home.
Studying abroad has helped me in many ways. One way it helped me was as a public citizen. As a citizen, it is your duty to take part in the democratic system in the United States and vote. Before I studied abroad I didn’t realize how important our government choices and leaders affected other countries. For example, if we elected a leader who wanted to go to war that would affect many other countries as well. Before studying abroad I only thought about how our government officials would affect the US not how their actions could also affect the rest of the world. Now I realize that when voting I need to think about the whole world and what is best for everyone not just us in the US.
As a member of the community studying abroad also helped me realize that being involved is an important thing to do. While studying abroad at ACN the school had many different activities that the students could take part in. One of these activities was the haunted house. It was put on by the students and anyone was welcome to go through the house. It was a great thing to be a part of. Groups of people went through all night. The groups were friends or families that went and it was fun watching them all have a great time together. That’s the importance of doing things in a community. Getting to see people having fun while being involved.
This study experience has also opened me up to new ideas for my professional career path. Before being at ACN I planned on being a high school teacher probably in North Dakota. Now after traveling and talking with the teachers and their experiences I have new goals to aim for. I still want to teach high school Math but I don’t want to stop there. I want to continue with my education to become a professor and hopefully teach in different countries. Another career opportunity I would take advantage of is volunteer work in different countries as a teacher.
I have benefited a lot from this studying abroad semester. I have experienced many first-time events. I went to an airport for the first time, I left the United States for the first time, and I also got the chance to be independent from my family. These new experiences have changed me for the better. I have become more independent and I even become a more confident woman. These are going to help me be a better student while preparing to become a teacher. By being more confident in myself I won’t second guess the work I do and I will be able to help others more confidently when I get into my career.
Studying abroad has changed me. It has made me want to do more with my education and was the best decision. Anyone who is in school should take advantage of opportunities to study abroad or travel because once they do it will make them a whole new person. For me it allowed me to grow as a person and opened my eyes to a world I never knew before.
Photo caption: Jeannette is pictured at the top of the Mountain Preikestolen in Norway.