MSU, Mankato Hosts Norwegian Students

 

When we think of study abroad trips we, meaning American college students, tend to be on the outgoing group of people. This past week, however, myself and 10 of my fellow history majors hosted six Norwegian students and their two professors.

It was strange--and that is saying the least about the whole experience.

The idea is that for six days they experience America and its culture while in May the Mankato students spend their time in Norway, this being more of a cultural exchange than a study abroad. The whole experience is a joint project between Minnesota State University, Mankato and the University of South-Eastern Norway. For a bit more background, this is taught in  joint skype class with research projects going on at the same time.

 

 

On the fun side of things, we helped the Norwegian students experience their FIRST Target trip, and better yet, Taco Bell trip. We then spent more time in the car (than actually being IN Iowa) with a three-hour trip to Decorah, Iowa to visit a museum. On Friday, we took them to a hockey game which was spent explaining the game more than anything.

More importantly, however, I learned that being on the receiving side of students was an odd experience. I spent more time learning about the differences between the places to find that we are really not all that different. Hosting students may seem strange, but thinking that this is what we do when we study abroad reassured me that it’s not that strange at all.

Most of all, it made me realize how excited I am to go to Norway, see the friends I made, and study alongside them. Doing this class may even open a door to teach within Norway, which is the best part of it all.