Abbie, Bø i Telemark, Norway
Abbie, Minot’s 2012 Miss Norsk Høstfest, has recently arrived back in the United States with a much better idea of what being Norwegian truly means. During the six months that she lived in Norway and attended MSU’s partner school, Telemark University College, Abbie feels that she accomplished many great things: she earned college credits, learned about her heritage, developed a love for the country’s creamy milk-chocolate, rich cheeses and beautiful landscapes, and much, much more. “At times it was difficult, but the beauty of my semester abroad is that it taught me more than any class could ever teach me. I learned things that I could not have learned any other way.”
Minot State University’s relationship with Telemark University College (TUC) is special, as Telemark campuses are located in the same region as Minot’s Norwegian sister city, Skien. TUC offers a number of programs open to MSU students, all taught in English. Students can choose courses in Scandinavian Studies, Sport and Outdoor Life, Alpine Ecology /Environmental Management, Physical Education and Norwegian Folk Music. Abbie chose to take courses in Scandinavian Studies during her time at TUC.
Whether the challenges facing Abbie in Norway were simple, like learning to cross country ski and organize travel plans or complicated, like being thousands of miles from home or attending classes is a foreign country, Abbie conquered all and returned to her hometown of Minot with a gleaming smile and 10 new stamps in her passport. “The first two weeks being home are a little difficult,” she explained. “It’s like you are in limbo you can’t believe that you are home and you still can’t believe you’re not in Norway anymore.” But Abbie is optimistic about her future. She plans to finish her senior year at Minot State University earning her bachelor’s degree in music performance. She already has plans to return to Norway for a visit and also is considering attending grad school there, but is open to other options. “I’d like to go to graduate school in Norway. For me it was always Norway, I didn’t even think about studying anywhere else, but now that I’ve studied there I am open to the idea of graduate school anywhere in Europe.”
“The greatest piece of advice I think I could give to any student is to make your time abroad your own experience. I think too many people try and compare their experiences with those of others. It important you don’t compare it because it makes it more special for you. No matter what, every individual has a different experience.” Abbie was wise in taking her own advice and returns to MSU for her senior year with the experience of a life time; one not comparable to any other.
Learn more about MSU's Exchange Program to Telemark, Norway!