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Bergen, Norway: A Week in Review

By Jamie McCray

Photo of Bergen, Norway

Credit: Julia Price Bryggen

March 11-19, 2017, students in Kogod’s Corporate Entrepreneurship (MGMT 396) class traveled to Bergen, Norway, for the courses’ inaugural study abroad trip. The trip, while centered on entrepreneurship education, was also about something bigger: international, cross-cultural exchange. Students met professors and peers from the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), visited local businesses and worked with NHH students—all through the lens of Norwegian culture.

“The AU-NHH program is experiential learning at its finest,” says Siri Terjesen, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Kogod and Interim Director of the AU Center for Innovation. “AU students get to work alongside international students from another world-class business school.”

The trip wasn’t all business, though. Students toured Bergen, explored the countryside surrounding the city and even went on a skiing excursion. “Although our time in Norway was brief, we were still able to stop and experience life as if we lived there,” says Kiah Morrison, BAPS ’18. “I loved every minute of it.”
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Tara Flanagan, BSBA ’17. One of the first days we were there, one of our professors gave us a personal tour of Bergen. He showed us maps from hundreds of years ago, a castle that was over 1,000 years old and historic churches that people still use today. We finished at the city’s history museum, where we reviewed much of what we saw in person.

Kiah Morrision, BAPS ’18. I loved the free time we had to explore the city on our own. One afternoon, another student and I spent several hours in a café and got to experience Bergen as a local. We had coffee, read books and people watched—probably what I would have done in Washington, DC, on a day off. It gave me a real sense of the city’s day-to-day culture.

Tyler Williams, BSF ’18. Our trip to the BLOM fish farm was one of the most unique educational experiences I’ve ever had. We traveled by boat to reach the farm; when we arrived, our presenter, who has been in the industry for nearly 30 years, was waiting to greet us. We learned about the fish farming process from start to finish, and how they aim to raise a healthy, 4.5 kilogram fish. We toured the facility where 70,000 salmon and trout are currently being harvested, and even got to feed them!

James Dourdas, BSBA ’17. Hiking Fløyen Mountain, one of Bergen’s major outdoor attractions, was incredible. At its top there’s a lodge where you can stand and see all of Bergen. The views extend for miles past the city. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

Elizabeth Pearson, BAPS ’19. Back in Bergen, we attended a meeting with several of Norway’s leading experts in aquaculture. We learned why fishing is valuable to the economy, and about products that are changing the industry for good.

The biggest lesson I learned is that businesses can act as policy makers. The consumer’s (in this case, the fisher’s) demand for a product can act as a substitute for policy in that consumers will use it without being told. In this way, businesses become social actors and influence policy indirectly.

Margaux Shoff, BSBA ’20. One of our trips was to Voss Resort, a local skiing area outside of Bergen. This was my favorite excursion because we reconnected with nature and bonded as a group. We were surrounded by mountains, snow and picturesque houses—it was gorgeous.

Max Hernandez, BSBA ’17. We also had the chance to explore outside of Bergen via train. The tour was called “Norway in a Nutshell,” but the country’s landscape proved much more. It sounds corny, but it was like taking the Polar Express into Narnia. Between the cold, rain and open countryside, the terrain was truly magical. I felt like an explorer embracing each sense to its limit.
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Learn more about Kogod’s Spring Break Norway exchange program, as well as the upcoming Summer 2017 course.