While the Covid-19 crisis currently prevents global travel, it did not prevent Nord University’s teacher education students from getting a truly international experience. Twelve teacher education students from Bodø (5-10 and 11-13) and twenty-eight teacher education students from Levanger (MAGLU 1-7 and 5-10, and also in-service teacher development (KFK) students) participated in a “virtual study trip” to the Norwegian Study Centre (NSC), York, UK, from January 18-22. The crisis may have meant that that students were unable to travel to York, but they did not miss out on the rich course offerings and vivid engagement with British culture that has been a part of teacher education in Norway for more than 25 years.
The course was carefully designed to take full advantage of the possibilities for digital learning, and included both live instruction, group work, and follow-up activities. The modules, taught by the NSC’s experienced teaching team, included a focus on contemporary education policy, language & culture, and critical literacy, as well as a few more specialized topics such as ”Harry Potter and the Goblet of Accents,” “Roald Dahl and Gobblefunking in the Classroom,” and, for the more politically inclined, a special and rather timely session on Britain’s relationship to “US Politics.”
According to the NSC’s Director of Studies Dr. Beck Sinar, “The week has simply flown by! Of course, we are looking forward to welcoming students back to York on exchange as soon as possible.”
The true York experience would not have been complete without a pub quiz, and while this year’s quiz night was strictly “bring your own beverage,” the NSC’s Director Kjetil Myskja served as digital quizmaster and delivered a fun and social evening to Nord’s teacher students and participating faculty. Pints were raised to questions about York’s history and local culture, British politics, and fun facts about the chocolate industry and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. A mixed team of Levanger and Bodø students took home the win.
NSC Director of Studies, Dr. Beck Sinar
Students have given the week rave reviews. In an anonymous feedback survey, one teacher student responded: “even though the course was online I felt like I got a taste of York. The quality of the teaching was very good and relevant”. Another added: “The teachers and professors were super lovely, welcoming, and funny.” And a third student summed up the experience: “York is written down on my travel list! I loved the course even though it was online.”
Nord’s Bachelor of English students completed a similar online program during the fall semester in October 2020, with over 40 students from 16 countries enrolled.
All students who complete the NSC’s “virtual study trip” receive a certificate that lists the modules and teaching hours attended, proving that even though travel might be difficult right now, a truly international experience can still be had.