My first week in Oslo has been an incredible, exciting, and exhausting. There is never a moment to rest, it is all go, go, go. Whether it be a visit to Vigeland Park, visiting the Peace Prize Museum, going to a independence day party in June and eating what Norwegians consider a corndog, having a welcoming ceremony at city hall being interrupted by an evacuation because of a fire alarm, taking a three hour hike, supporting America in the World Cup, having a q&a with the former Foreign Minister for Norway, or staying up way too late to finish the required reading for class, there has been no time to relax or be bored. I would have it no other way.
The other members of the Peace Scholars group are what is really making this trip special. It has been so great to be with students who are very serious about what is going on in the world and want to discuss their thoughts on the world. We all come from diverse backgrounds of study, from Chemistry to English, to Education and Political Science, and it is interesting to hear how this has shaped the views of all of us. This group of students are so committed to trying and making a difference in this world, and they all have so much drive to make it happen. We are all a bunch of nerds and we love it. As we like to say about ourselves, a bit tongue in cheek, you don’t get to be a Peace Scholar by being popular kid in high school. We also have a great time doing goofy things, like making the latest snap chat craze, “Snapcats” (well, a craze among peace scholars at least), having a flannel pj party, and becoming known as penguins for our propensity to cuddle anywhere, anytime.
There are over 80 countries represented by the summer school, and this is another great part of the whole summer school experience. As an international affairs major, I have greatly appreciated being able to get the opinions on some of the issues of the world today from people who live there, and have personally experienced. There is one in particular, anther peace scholar actually, who is from Palestine, and talking to her has helped change my views and perceptions on the conflict, and the nuances of it. It is easy to come to moral high ground opinions and observations from 1,000 miles away.
This has been such a great experience so far, and I know it will continue to be.