Year — Fall 2019
After a year of living with a Norwegian family and attending a local school, you might never want to go home. Experience the Norwegian values of friendship, tolerance, independence, and equality. You'll find that because of the long winters, spending time outside is a high priority for Norwegians and you'll get lots of opportunities to explore their breathtaking glaciers, mountains, waterfalls, pristine forests, and coastlines. If you're into skiing, it's tough to do better than Norway, where it’s actually the official national pastime.
Norwegians tend to have a strong sense of history and civic engagement and on special occasions you can expect to see many Norwegians wearing traditional clothing, or bunad. Vegetarianism is not common in Norway but fish is a major part of the diet, so if you’re flexible and ready to try new things, this is a good place for you.
Your adventure will begin in New York City, where you’ll meet your fellow AFS students from the United States. You’ll attend an overnight orientation, where you’ll have a chance to learn some key information about your first few days in Norway and talk to a Cultural Resource who recently spent time there. From there you’ll be off to Oslo, where you’ll be met by AFS staff and volunteers.
On your way to meet your host family you might get to see a traditional folk festival or one of Norway’s famous stave churches, which are among the oldest wooden buildings on earth. If you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the spectacular aurora borealis, the northern lights. They’re a much more frequent site in Norway than in the U.S., because of how far North it is.
AFS students have lived all over Norway but most host families live in small rural communities of less than 20,000 inhabitants. Norwegian families tend to be small but relatives often live in the same town. Norwegian children help out around the house and you should expect to have the same kinds of responsibilities that you’re used to in the U.S. People are often good friends with their neighbors, even in the cities, so you’ll have the opportunity to really get to know the whole community.
You’ll have lots of chances to make new friends and socialize at school and during your free time. Young people in Norway tend to have lots of hobbies including sports, music, or arts and crafts. They also often take part in organized community activities like scouting and youth politics, or debate and discussion groups. Like teenagers everywhere, they also spend time going to the movies, having parties, and just hanging out in cafes. During the warm months Norwegians of all ages love to do things outside; hiking, fishing, boating, and barbecuing are all popular.
Norwegian food is nearly all rich and hearty. Meat, fish, potatoes, milk and cheese, are all very common ingredients. Open-faced sandwiches are extremely popular and are often eaten for breakfast, with hard-boiled eggs on top and maybe some fish. Dinner is the main meal of the day and a favorite dish is meatballs and potatoes with gravy. If you like fish, you’re really in luck because most Norwegians eat it every day!
You’ll likely be enrolled in the second year of Norwegian Upper Secondary School. These schools offer several areas of study and you’ll probably be placed in the general studies track. Norwegian schools don’t usually offer extracurricular activities but there are often options in the community for drama classes, choir, and sports. During your time in school you’ll really have a great opportunity to meet new people and expand your horizons.
"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
"Transformed" is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.