Norway Study Abroad Program - Unknown Beauty
The Norway Faculty-Led Study Abroad Program, which has been ongoing for 14 years and is the longest running faculty-led program in the Rawls College of Business, offers students the ability to learn in a diverse environment. Last year, Deahna Ortiz took advantage of this opportunity and considers her life changed for the better.
Ortiz, a Business Management and Marketing major from Houston who will graduate this May, and 13 other students embarked on the study abroad journey to Norway last summer. While in the program, students are exposed to a variety of activities, including a trip to Stockholm, Sweden, visits and discussions with Norwegian corporations Telenor Group and Tronrud Engineering, and the "Norway in a Nutshell" tour to Bergen where students travel through Norway on a bus, trains and a boat to see the mountains, cities and fjords. Students also have the freedom to travel anywhere in Europe on the weekends.
Ortiz noted that her favorite part of the trip was the mountain hike involved in the "Norway in a Nutshell" tour. On this hike, Ortiz was able to take her "Liten By" photo (below), which won first place in the study abroad photo competition.
"I was probably the last person who would take a mountain hike before I went to Norway," Ortiz joked, "but, after those 6 hours I spent on the hike, it was totally worth it. It was beautiful, and it's something you're not going to be able to experience anywhere else."
When asked why students should opt to travel to Norway for their study abroad, Ortiz remarked that the culture and rare opportunity to travel to a country like Norway is an advantage that people should take.
"When you think study abroad, everyone wants to go to Spain or Italy - and those places are great, don't get me wrong - but no one thinks about Norway, and they should," she said. "It's just beautiful and like nothing you've ever seen before. Go to a country where you don't know if you'll ever be able to go again."
Dr. Dennis Arnett, a professor of marketing and faculty-lead for the program, echoed her sentiments and added that Rawls students who travel to Norway particularly benefit academically from this experience.
"This program is geared specifically to marketing and management, from the courses offered and the corporations we visit," Dr. Arnett said. "Because you're in a new culture, especially because the classes are mixed with students from a number of foreign countries, you look at problems and solutions with a different perspective, which isn't something that all Rawls students get to do."
During the program, students have the option of taking International Management (MGT 4375), International Marketing (MKT 4358) or an independent study. The classes are taught by Dr. Arnett and Kjetil Gjerdalen, a Norwegian professor.
"The teaching styles were different, but it was beneficial," Ortiz said. "The classes were interactive with lots of listening and talking. We got away from the traditional note taking that we do at college. It was more applied."
Despite the activities and interactive learning, some students, as both Dr. Arnett and Ortiz noted, are hesitant about studying abroad in Norway. Whether its misconceptions about poor weather, language barriers, costs or a simple lack of knowledge, they stressed that these should not be limitations for students.
"Norway is beautiful in the summer time, with temperatures in the 70s and 80s. Additionally, I think Norway is the easiest country to travel to abroad because it is very safe and, because English is their second language, you can practically talk to everyone there," Dr. Arnett said. "In terms of cost, there are ways to alleviate those concerns. They have kitchens in the dorm rooms, grocery stores and low transportation costs. You just need to be smart with your expenses."
Ortiz also detailed how the help of the Center for Global Engagement was instrumental in ensuring she was well-equipped for her trip.
"The Center for Global Engagement really guided me through the whole process," she said. "They are really great about communicating with everyone and are constantly making sure you're prepared."
The Norway study abroad program runs from May 22 to June 30 and is currently accepting applications. The deadline to apply is March 31. To find out more information about the program, please feel free to contact Dr. Dennis Arnett at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Center for Global Engagement at 806-742-2041 or email@example.com.