Why Norwegian


Students at St. Olaf have the opportunity to study a unique subject — Norwegian. St. Olaf is one of only a few U.S colleges and universities where students can fulfill their foreign language requirement by learning Norwegian— and beyond the requirement can study the language, literature, culture, and history of Norway in depth. In addition to graduating with a major in Norwegian, St. Olaf students have many opportunities to study and travel in Norway.

The study of Norwegian opens the door to another culture and another way of viewing the world and develops skills in intercultural communication, research, analytical thinking, and writing that are essential in a wide range of careers. Former students report time and again that knowledge of Norwegian is a rare and appealing skill that gives them an edge over other recent graduates on the job market. 

Norway is a pioneering country in terms of social welfare, gender equality, indigenous rights, and climate awareness among other things, and its literature reflects diverse and often progressive thinking on these issues.

Norwegian literature has a strong representation internationally as evidenced by the fact that Norwegian is among the top 15 most translated languages in the world (despite Norway having a population that is smaller than that of Minnesota). From Ibsen to Hamsun, Undset, Knausgård, and Nesbø, Norwegian writers have had an impact worldwide and have changed the ways in which we understand drama, crime fiction, or biography, for example.