NorwayNordic Cultures & Arctic Exploration

Venture to Norway this summer to experience its stunning fjords and soaring peaks, and immerse yourself in the country’s culture and traditions. Norwegians have a storied history of connecting with the natural world and their kinship with the Earth is infused into many aspects of daily life. Choose either the Photography or Anthropology, Culture, & Tradition On Assignment theme and delve into your focus area. Forge your own relationship with the region as you hike, kayak, and adventure through spectacular landscapes and experience age-old traditions that live on today. From fishing hamlets to bustling old-world cities, discover how the people of Norway, including the Indigenous Sámi people, are preserving their rich cultural legacy for future generations.

Details

June 26–July 12, 2023July 12–July 28, 2023
17 days
9–12
$ 8,590 + airfare
Departs from New York
14–16 students, 2 leaders

Highlights

  • Embrace friluftsliv, or “open-air life,” while hiking in Jotunheimen National Park
  • Photograph Norway’s world-famous fjords while kayaking beneath towering cliffs
  • Venture above the Arctic Circle to the tiny fishing hamlets of the Lofoten islands
  • Step aboard restored Viking longships and listen to centuries-old Viking lore

Meet the Expert

Ingi Mehus, Storytelling Facilitator

Ingi Mehus is a storytelling facilitator, social entrepreneur, and National Geographic Explorer born in South Korea and raised in Norway, dedicated to cultivating an inclusive and equitable world that celebrates diversity. She travels across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa to facilitate personal storytelling journeys that foster empathy, proximity, and collaborations between diverse people and places. Ingi started her career working with international migration across four continents with local NGOs, UNHCR, and IOM; however, her dissatisfaction with the polarizing migration narratives encouraged her to found Pocket Stories, an organization to create a more inclusive narrative for migration. She is also a European Youth Press’s Prix awardee, TEDx speaker, ChangemakerXchange facilitator for change, Ashoka Hellopreneur, and Bosch alumnus.

Itinerary

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

  • Departure
  • Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one or more of your leaders in New York, and fly together to Oslo, Norway.

  • Jotunheimen National Park
  • 4 days

Arrive in the Norwegian capital of Oslo and journey to a remote mountain lodge on Gjende Lake in the heart of Jotunheimen National Park—named “home of the Giants,” referencing both Norse mythology and the towering peaks. Take part in an in-depth group orientation to get to know your peers, leaders, and National Geographic Explorer, then set out on daily hikes with your On Assignment team to explore the Norwegian mountains, home to glaciers and turquoise lakes framed by steep peaks. Practice landscape photography and embrace friluftsliv, “open air life,” in this spectacular wilderness.

  • Oslo
  • 3 days

Return to Oslo and set out to explore the city by bike, stopping at the Nobel Peace Center and the incredible Vigeland sculpture park. Experience Nordic sauna culture at a floating sauna in Oslo harbor, then plunge into the refreshing waters of the Oslofjord. Glimpse the country’s seafaring legacy at the Akershus Fortress and the Bygdøy peninsula, getting an inside look at Viking longships. Then head to the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History to learn about daily life for Indigenous Sámi reindeer herders. Hike through Nordmarka forest, then visit an urban farm to see how locals are balancing green living with Oslo’s increasing population density. As you uncover Norway’s rich culture and epic beauty, continue working on your On Assignment project.

  • Lofoten Islands
  • 5 days

Soar above the Arctic Circle to the magical Lofoten islands, where mountains rise straight from the sea and colorful villages dot rocky shorelines. Settle into a remote fishing hamlet and immerse yourself in the local culture. Discuss the benefits of traditional fishing methods with residents, and learn about the controversies surrounding fish factories. Hop into a kayak to explore the Norwegian Sea’s fascinating marine life; hike or bike along the shorelines in search of sea eagles and puffins; and use your camera to capture the swirling seas off the coast of Å, a village of stilted red houses. Listen to Viking lore under a midnight sun that never sets in the summer.

  • Bergen
  • 4 days

Fly to Bergen, the gateway to Norway’s famed fjord lands and one of the largest trading ports in northern Europe during the Middle Ages. Stay near the city’s old wharf district, Bryggen, and visit the fish market—a gathering spot for merchants since the 13th century. Explore the winding streets on a citywide scavenger hunt, and hike in the Seven Sisters mountain chain to photograph panoramas of the North Sea. Share your final On Assignment project with your group and reflect on your adventures with new friends over a celebratory Norwegian meal.

  • Return
  • Travel Day

Fly from Bergen, Norway, to New York with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination.

A Day in the Life: Oslo

Due to the traveling nature of this summer travel program, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day during our time in Oslo.

  •  Enjoy breakfast at your hotel
  •  Walk past the royal palace to the harborfront
  •  Complete a scavenger hunt of local sights and sounds
  •  Lay out a picnic lunch on the roof of the Opera House, overlooking the harbor
  •  Ride the city’s electric tram to the Oslomarka forest for a guided walk
  • Spend time journaling, downloading images from the day, and working on projects
  • Sit down for dinner at a traditional restaurant
  • Swim and soak at a floating sauna in the Oslofjord
  • Group meeting to discuss the day and upcoming schedule

What to Expect

  • On Assignment Themes

Choose either the Photography or Anthropology, Culture, & Tradition On Assignment theme, and break into teams to delve further into your area of focus.

Photography: Photographic opportunities abound in Norway as we explore the country’s dramatic landscapes and charming coastal villages. Capture a unique angle on the country’s iconic beauty, and convey the vibrant culture of rural communities while documenting colorful towns and fishing hamlets. Head out during the golden hour for wildlife sighting and camerawork. Review your images with your peers, leader, and the National Geographic Explorer as you create a portfolio that tells the story of your travels.

Anthropology, Culture, & Tradition: Dive into Norway’s status as one of the happiest and most sustainable countries in the world. Learn about the Sámi people, the oldest culture in Northern Norway, and the traditions such as reindeer herding and ice fishing which are a strong part of Sámi culture and ancestry. Explore the rich seafaring traditions that have anchored the economy since the Viking Age. Learn how the friluftsliv philosophy binds together historical and modern Norway, creating a unique culture and way of life for both the ancient Norse peoples and today’s pastoralists and city-dwellers.

  • Language

Students who do not speak Norwegian will have the opportunity to learn some basic Norwegian language skills during the program.

  • Physical Activity

This is an outdoor-focused, active summer travel program. We are outside much of each day. It is important that you have a desire to be active, and that you are excited about trying all activities, including hiking and kayaking.

  • Lodging

We stay in hotels, mountain huts, and converted fisherman's cabins called rorbu. Students can expect to be in doubles of triples at all stops besides the mountain hut, which is dorm-style.

  • Meals

We eat breakfast and many lunches at our accommodations, with matpakke (packed lunches) being a common and delicious lunch option. Dinners are a mix of eating out at restaurants and going picnic-style.

Please call our office with any questions about the physical nature of this program or to discuss specific accessibility and accommodation questions.

Explore the Destination

Next Steps

If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

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