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Journals from Bø, Norway Spring '12

2012-02-16 School

Now that I have finally had all of my classes at least twice, I can write about my schooling experience so far.

Ecotourism: Methods and Practices-
Definitely my most intimidating class, which makes sense since it is worth the most credits. I have two different professors for this class: one teaches on Monday, the other on Tuesday. Despite their being in the morning, I have so far enjoyed the Tuesday classes more. This is probably because it focuses more on the business side of things, which is my area of study at home. Our main project for this class is putting together a field study report. We are supposed to spend around five days at an ecotourism site and then write a 15 page report. Personally I think that it is unfair to require students to spend their own money to travel and stay somewhere for the class (especially since they expect you to do this as your spring break). I am hoping to negotiate with the professors on this issue. Overall, I believe I will learn a lot from this class and am excited to study this topic.

Tourism and the Environment-
As you can probably guess, this class is very similar to Ecotourism. In fact, it even shares a professor and some lectures. Studying and majoring in tourism is really popular in Europe; I have met many people here who are doing so. It is an interesting topic and much more complicated than I had realized. The main project for this class is a paper and presentation on any related topic of our choosing. I have only had two sessions of this class so far (one of which was combined with Ecotourism), and so can't say much about it.

Introducing Norwegian-
My favorite class so far! I'm so glad I moved my schedule around so I could take this. The sad thing is that it is only worth 5 credits and so only allotted a small number of teaching hours in the semester meaning we only meet for 1.5 hours a week and have a lot of weeks without class. I really like my classmates and my teacher, and just the more interactive envirnoment. Even learning Norwegian for only a month has helped me feel so much more comfortable out in the town. The midterm is next week! I feel pretty good about it though since I am good about doing my homework every week. At the end of the class we will have an oral and written exam.

Telemark II: Social and Cultural Expressions-
This class is about the culture of Norway, especially in Telemark, which is the region that I am in. I am very excited about all of the things that we are going to learn about. So far we have had two classes with guest lecturers. One was on coastal culture. The subject matter was really interesting, but the speaker was sooooo boring. The other class was on Norwegian folk dancing and music. It was so much fun! They performed for us and taught us about the history. We also got to learn a bit of dancing (from someone who used to be one of the best dancers in the country)! Last night a few of us went to a pizza place where a group gathers to folk dance every Wednesday night. I will definitely be going back! It was so much fun.

In general, schooling here is very different. The most frustrating difference is probably not being told what to read and when. You are just told what book to get and that's it. It is so hard to just sit down and read a text book when it doesn't seem completely necessary. But I know I should read the books and articles in preparation for the huge tests and the end of the year. The other main difference is the reduced class time. For the first week or more I only had my Norwegian class. Now, with all of my classes going, I have one class Monday, Thursday, and Friday, two classes on Tuesday, and no classes on Wednesday. This schedule means that I have a lot of free time, which I guess could be used for reading for class...

Two different classrooms:

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