Seeing, learning, and growing at the American College of Norway
Where can you spend the morning in a high security prison and the afternoon in a 17th century fortress? Norway of course! UND students at the American College of Norway are spending part of their summer studying human rights and environmental issues in an international setting, where they are able to discuss information and ideas with fellow-Norwegian students.
In addition to the time these students spend in class reading and debating issues on human rights and the environment, they are also able to meet with Norwegian Parliament members, the Norwegian Ambassador to the US, and US Embassy experts to hear about current actions the U.S. and Norway are taking in both these areas.
To make it even more immediate, the students can compare various approaches to solving dilemmas surrounding their course topics by visiting a high security prison in Norway where none of the guards carry guns and where the rehabilitation of the criminal is emphasized over retribution for the crime. Then the students can broaden this discussion by visiting the Nobel Peace Prize museum in Oslo to see how Peace leaders around the world have accomplished real change in the world.
And what's not to love about doing all this amazing work in Norway where, after school hours, students go deep sea fishing, attend local concerts, tour museums in Oslo and even pop off for a quick visit to Rome or Paris?
Of the four UND students at ACN this semester, two are A&S students: Kyle Beauchamp is a History & English major and Morgan Numedahl is a Communication major. In addition, one of the A&S interns, Mel Herauf is also studying there.
"The opportunities that we have participated in here at ACN are more than we could have experienced anywhere else" said Mel Herauf, former A&S intern. Communications Major Morgan Numedahl agrees and said that the best experience by far was visiting the high security prison and learning about the Norwegian justice system which is quite different from the US system.
Beyond the academic and cultural experiences, the students also have enjoyed the ease of public transportation and the ability to walk to everything they need. Morgan reports that the safe environment makes her feel comfortable and able to experience all parts of the community.
And the brown goat cheese is a big hit as are the awesome hiking trails, being surrounded by water, visiting Viking festivals and Viking burial sites. For History major Kyle Beauchamp, it is, in fact, the ancient history that most intrigues him about Norway, and all the students agree that the friends they've made at ACN -- Norwegian and American -- have made the experience better than they could ever have imagined. They are sad that the summer semester will soon come to a close.
But the end has come with a bang: the students rounded out their time in Norway with a virtual meeting with the Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S. who discussed environmental and human rights policies in the Arctic as the Arctic sea ice melts and the Arctic Council struggles with the challenges and opportunities this presents. He encouraged students like them with newly developed global interests to work for change that will benefit everyone.
International travel and study are essential for every student but the opportunities at A.C.N are exceptional because they give students that chance to really interact with today's global issues in ways that are immediate and real. So why not see the world -- and work to change it all at once?
Tami Carmichael, Ph.D. Director, Humanities & Integrated Studies Coordinator, American College of Norway Programs