The students Brett Pederson, Dylan Ek and Thomas Zinselmeier were chosen students from Minnesota University to participate in a newly established pilot project connected to teaching history. Similarly, students at USN will be teaching at an upper secondary school in Minnesota. The project is a part of a larger cooperation within the subject of history between the University of South-Eastern Norway and the University of Minnesota, financed through The Partnership program for North America. Both institutions work to make this cooperation continue longer that the planned project period of two years, and Nøtterøy would love to continue being a part of this.
History teachers Andreas Foyn Nørstebø and Lene Mydland had the pleasure of bringing the three energetic, talented and humorous teacher students with them in both their second and third year history classes. Tom, Brett and Dylan threw themselves into every challenge given. In guidance situations, they have shown humbleness and an eagerness to learn, and when teaching, the students showed competence and managed to create a really positive learning environment. The topics taught varied from the Age of Enlightenment and the American Revolution to early civilizations, where Brett also held an exciting lecture about the ancient civilization of the Mayans. The lessons have been instructive and engaging, ensuring lots of student activity.
The three Americans also taught first, second and third year English classes. Both the English teachers, Lene Mydland, Kristin Berger and Elena Fedotova, and the pupils, enjoyed discussion based Kahoots about the dividing issues of US society and politics. What better way to learn about the US than having three engaged American students with us.
During their stay here, the students also spent a day at Thor Heyerdahl upper secondary together with their own supervisor Elizabeth Finnsnes from MNSU. Like at Nøtterøy, they participated in a history class.
Hiking in the mountains
Already during the second week of their stay, Brett, Tom and Dylan was invited by the teachers Dag Jønsberg and Kristoffer Sørvang Koren in «Friluftsliv» (subject of nature, environment and outdoor life) and participated in the excursion to Lifjell in Telemark.
The three students took the planning of the trip very seriously and also practiced putting up the tent so that this would go as smoothly as possible in the forecasted rain. All three of them were dressed up in wool and Gore-Tex in order to best prepare them for the Norwegian outdoors. They were genuinely interested in the different activities, and took part in fishing and cooking. They proudly showed the fish that they caught. The weather varied from being wet and windy to glorious sunshine. This made the experience even more memorable. The students showed engagement in everything they did, and the greatfulness they showed both before, during and after the trip was overwhelming. It seems like the only downside was that they did not stay long enough in Norway in order to participate on the canoe trip.
Nøtterøy vgs running team
Brett, Tom and Dylan were also challenged in other ways. As the Nøtterøy team for the relay run in Vestfold Marathon lacked participants, the three young men eagerly agreed to join and can definitely take credit for securing Nøtterøy place number 7 out of 87 teams participating.
Great experience for our school
The interaction with the lovely people from Minnesota University has been a great experience for us. Our hopes are that we can keep building a prosperous and lasting relationship for future collaboration between our organizations.
Everything has to come to an end - farewell letter from our Minnesota students:
To the Students and Staff of Notteroy High School,
We want to simply start this greeting by saying THANK YOU. We could not have asked for a better group of people to spend these past weeks with. The people of this community are truly some of the nicest and most caring individuals that we have ever been around. You have welcomed us with open arms into your school and being that we were nothing more than strangers when we arrived, this is a commitment that we will forever be grateful for.
Our role was to come into the school and teach the students, but we all agree that everything we have learned from each of you is far more than what we could offer. We are going back to the United States with an immense amount of knowledge about the school system, the culture, and simply how to be better people. The Norwegian school system is absolutely impressive. The relaxed style of education and the relationships amongst the teachers and students is something we hope to bring back to America. In our home, education is very strict and unfortunately due to this, can create an environment that cannot match the welcoming feeling of the Norwegian school system. We are confident that all of the students that we taught at Notteroy are going to be successful in their upcoming adult lives.
To conclude, we wanted to share two of our favorite experiences during our stay. The first is the hiking trip to Lifjell. Although it was physically demanding, it was one of the most fun span of days that we have ever had. Norway is a beautiful country and to have the opportunity to live amongst its stunning nature was a privilege. Our other favorite experience was having the opportunity to answer any questions that our students had about the United States in general. It is clear that the students at Notteroy follow what goes on in our home closely, so it was rewarding being able to answer questions about our schools, our pop culture, and of course, our confusing political system.
We will miss you all more than you will ever know. You made Norway our second home. We will certainly be back. It is not goodbye, but it is see you later.
-Brett, Dylan, and Tom