The course is NOR 296: Oslo Internship Reflection Seminar. It combines an academic internship in a humanitarian, religious or non-profit organization and a reflection seminar based in Oslo, Norway. The prerequisite is completion of the FOL in Norwegian (3 semesters) which is meant to provide novice level linguistic and cultural knowledge. This course specifically investigates one aspect of Norwegian culture that contrasts starkly from Norwegian-American culture, namely the workplace and its role in the welfare state. Norway is often referred to as a humanitarian superpower, and the host organizations represent pillars of the Norwegian welfare state. These organizations are exceptional examples of how the government supports and serves individuals inside and outside of Norway’s borders. The topics covered in the required prerequisite courses, taken together, adequately prepare students for a first-hand exploration of the Norwegian non-profit sector and daily life in Norway. Over the course of the month of January, students are developing LinkedIn profiles, reading three books tied to career and life after St. Olaf, discussing of course readings and cultural differences to get them thinking about how to connect their studies to their life after St. Olaf.
Andrew Jeon ‘21 Majors: Computer Science, Economics Concentration: Nordic Studies Internship: Kandu (Norsk Data Ungdom)
Kandu is an organization with 7000 members across Norway, and has hundreds of volunteers that help arrange a gaming festival called The Gathering which is held every Easter in Vikingshipshuset in Hamar. They also arrange other events for “digital culture” throughout the year, and are one of Norway’s largest youth organizations.
One of my main tasks this month is related to a government proposal about how children should have access to extracurricular activities for free across the country. Since Kandu is a youth organization that organizes events for youth interested in digital culture, we will be advocating for this proposal, and also explain how youth culture is changing in Norway and globally with respect to technology.
It is very interesting to learn about how a non profit organization functions in Norway, as well as the political system in relation to them. This is a very valuable experience for me being able to see what working in Norway is like, since I have interest in potentially living here in the future.