Texas Tech University

Past Participants Reflect on Business in Norway Program

August 7, 2019 | By: Staci Semrad 

The Rawls Business in Norway program has reached a 20-year milestone. As part of our series on the program's longevity, we interviewed two past participants in the Rawls Business in Norway program. Madison Winn and Livingston McKenzie Jr. share their adventures in the Kingdom of Norway.

Livingston McKenzie Jr.

Livingston McKenzie Jr.

Business in Norway 2009

Graduated from Rawls College in 2012 with a Bachelor of Business Administration with concentrations in energy commerce and international business

Why did you choose this program over other study abroad opportunities?

"The program in Norway appeared to offer the ability to explore not just Norway, but the entire Nordic region very easily. The program provided a great educational experience and also offered the chance to interact with many other international students and learn about a segment of Europe that I had never seen before."

How did the experience foster your understanding of life and business in Norway? What insights and understanding did you glean?

"The experience highlighted for me, more than anything else, the attitude and approach other cultures have towards work and business. Business in the U.S. can seem very rigid, structured and sometimes combative. Norwegians seemed to have a much healthier balance in regards to their work and business, evidenced by the emphasis they put on activities outside of work. Not to say that they were not fastidious in their work; many of the presentations and examples that we studied were meticulously researched and detailed. But they took work for work and left it there to enjoy other things in life as well."

Share a couple of your favorite, most memorable moments from the trip.

"So many! Our group trip to Bergen, where we hiked all around the fjord, ate fish pie (delicious), and went to the Ice Bar; group trip to Stockholm, Sweden, and visiting several museums there; USA vs. (insert country) soccer games; study sessions at the bar in the university; group barbecues; the cruise from Oslo to Kiel, and the dance-offs we had on the ship!"

How did you benefit personally and/or intellectually from participating in this program?

"I gained lifelong friends from my trip to Norway, both those who returned to Texas with me and many that I still keep in contact with who live overseas. The trip also exposed me culturally to a part of the world I had never experienced nor knew much of. Finally, the trip informed me as to how different cultures approach problems and relationships in business, and how important it is to identify those issues, be receptive to the other's wants/desires, and work around them to reach a satisfactory solution for both parties."

If you would recommend this program to other students, why?

"I would recommend this program to any other students simply for the fact that the classes that I took there exposed me to issues in business that I had not thought of. Furthermore, the instructors the year that I went were all former professionals who were able to share their years of experience with us. The classwork was good, but not overbearing so that you had time to complete your work, explore Norway and get to know your fellow classmates. Plus, Norway is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to, and I have traveled a lot."

Madison Winn

Madison Winn

Business in Norway 2019

A junior majoring in finance and accounting

Why did you choose this program over other study abroad opportunities?

"One reason was that it offered both courses I was interested in: International Marketing and International Management. I wanted to earn the Rawls International Business Certificate, which is composed of three classes, two of which I could fulfill through this program. I also chose this program because I found that the nature of Norway allowed for more excursions than some of the other programs, such as a hiking trip, boating through the fjords, a canoeing trip, etc. Norway has some of the most beautiful natural landscapes, which you can't find in places such as Spain or Italy that are more historically interesting. So, I was drawn to the fact that Norway was both historically and environmentally beautiful. I was also drawn to the program because it was faculty led, but I would also be taught by a Norwegian professor in one of the courses, so I got to experience both learning opportunities."

How did the experience foster your understanding of life and business in Norway? What insights and understanding did you glean?

"Overall, I learned so much about the culture, economy, life and business of Norway. I learned a lot at USN but even more about life and business through my Norwegian peers and other international students. The Norwegians I met were extremely kind and helpful toward the Americans and would often ask us about life in the United States. Economically, Norway is very different from the United States, so there was a lot of perspective to gain on this trip. They pay much higher prices and much higher taxes. A sandwich that would be $6 here would be around $11-$12 over there. We would get excited anytime we would find a fast-food meal under $11. Talking to my Norwegian peers, I learned that they didn't mind paying higher taxes and higher prices if it meant everyone got an equal opportunity at life, such as everyone going to school for free and getting free healthcare. Academically, they were not used to the little projects and essays we did in class that counted toward our grade. For them, they have one test at the end of the semester that constitutes their whole grade, so we got to experience the heavy weighted testing in our Norwegian class. Businesswise, we had company visits to Tronrud and Telenor, where we got to speak to some of their professionals. I learned that globalization is a huge part of the expansion and success of a company, which is why each Norwegian company encouraged globalization if there were no ethical issues. Corporate social responsibility was emphasized by our Norwegian professor as a principle important to Norwegian companies."

Share a couple of your favorite, most memorable moments from the trip.

"I have so many memorable experiences from this trip, but I'll just name a few of my favorites. The first one was the hike in Bergen. Our first weekend in Norway, we took a class trip to Bergen, about 5 hours from Oslo. Dr. Harper invited all of us to go on a hike with him and Dean Williams. We hiked for 11 miles, mostly uphill. It definitely tested us physically, but that is when everyone on the trip bonded and got to know each other. We were only a few days into the trip and didn't have anything else to do except walk and talk with each other, so that is when I bonded with each person individually and really got to know everyone, including our Norwegian mentor and photographer. At the top, it was a beautiful view that I'll never forget of the whole entire city. It was crazy to think we hiked one of the five mountains. Another one of my favorite memories is when we took a class weekend cruise to Copenhagen, Denmark. When we got to Denmark, a few of us decided to go to an amusement park nearby, and we stumbled across a pretty big concert happening inside the park. The sun was setting, it was raining, and everyone was just having a real good time at this Danish concert. I think it was a really memorable experience because it was so unexpected. My last memory was probably one of the funniest. We were incredibly excited to go on this canoeing trip in H√łnefoss. The water was freezing, but my canoe partner, Blake, said we wouldn't fall in. Within the first 40 seconds of the trip, Blake, Emily, Carson and I crashed into a tree, fell into the water, and got our canoes stuck. We nearly got frostbite, and the Norwegian Olympic canoeing team had to come rescue us. It wasn't necessarily the best memory but definitely a funny one, and it was cool getting to say you were saved by the Olympic team."

How did you benefit personally and/or intellectually from participating in this program?

"I benefited in so many ways from this trip. I benefited intellectually by learning about their economy and hearing different economic perspectives. I got to learn from a class structure incredibly different as they are all about teamwork and collaborative learning instead of individualism. Personally, I benefited from going outside of my comfort zone and traveling to a new country every weekend. I talked to so many different people from all over the world and made so many lifelong friends who go to Texas Tech with me that I would not have met if it weren't for this program. I learned how challenging it can be to reach a group conclusion when there are so many different cultural opinions to take into consideration. I benefited socially and academically from this amazing experience."

If you would recommend this program to other students, why?

"June was one of the best months of my life because of study abroad, and I would recommend this program to other students. This program allows you to see the historical and scenic environment of Europe as opposed to the very populated tourist cities. It also allows you to get credit for two classes. We had three-day weekends in which we traveled to a different country every weekend (Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Estonia). The program comes with so many excursions, including a trip and stay to Bergen, a boat ride in the fjords, a kayaking trip, and a cruise/stay in Denmark. Dr. Harper is extremely helpful to his students because he has so many recommendations from his experiences in Scandinavia. You also learn among a mixed class of Norwegian, Texas Tech and international students, instead of learning among just Texas Tech students. The people you meet, excursions you do, and views that you see are incomparable."

 

 

Check out our Business in Norway Flickr album. Are you among the many Rawls students and faculty members who have crossed the Atlantic Ocean to participate in our Business in Norway study abroad program over the past 20 years? If so, email photos to us from your experience in Norway with your permission for us to use them so we may add them to our Norway Flickr album.

Read previous stories about the Rawls program in Norway published in March 2003 and August 2012.