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The International Summer School at the University of Oslo celebrates 70 years of learning

Every summer, students travel from all over the world to attend the International Summer School at the University of Oslo. The school offers a fully credited six-week program where students can study a variety of subjects; from renewable energy to peace research. 

Just after finishing its 70th session, Fronter spoke with the school’s director, Einar Arvid Vannebo.

A token of gratitude 

The ISS started as a token of gratitude to America for helping improve Norwegian education before, during and after the Second World War. In its first year, 221 American students participated, and the school soon grew internationally.  

In recent years, approximately 600 students from 100 countries have participated. During its 70 years in operation, more than 30,000 students have attended. 

Bachelor and Master students 

The summer school offers a total of 20 fully-credited courses, some for Bachelor and some for Master students. On average, students receive 15 ECTS credits every summer.  

The Bachelor courses focus on Norwegian language, art and culture, while the Master courses focus on more professional topics like peace research, renewable energy and sustainable development.  

A unique learning environment 

Vannebo is especially proud of the unique learning environment created at the summer school.  

"What´s unique about the learning environment at the summer school is that in some classes we have as many nations represented as we have students. And that gives a unique opportunity for a comparative approach to the topics we study." 

From the beginning, the ISS also wanted to utilize education as a tool to create a deeper inter – and multicultural understanding among students.  

The summer school also focuses on social activities, such as hiking in Jotunheimen national park and discussion groups arranged by students. The schools philosophy is that learning occurs not only in lecture halls and seminar rooms, but also through a vibrant student community. 

Face to face with Munch 

Another unique aspect of the summer school is the way students learn first-hand about Norwegian culture, art and history.  

"You don’t sit and study Munch´s art in a seminar room, you do it in front of Munch´s pictures. We try to weave field experiences into the courses-," Vannebo explains. 

Edward Much – Self-portrait (1882). 

International friendships 

There are several reasons why friendships blossom at the summer school. Among them is the opportunity to meet people interested in the same kinds of activities; rooming and dining together and going on adventures in the splendid Norwegian nature. 

Happy using Fronter 

The ISS is a part of the University of Oslo and uses Fronter. The students are happy to use Fronter while attending ISS, and find it to be a valuable tool to accompany their courses. 

"Fronter is really comprehensive and helps put everything together because we have all the material there, and that’s good," one of the students said.  

Another joked about being happy Fronter has an English option, because when she logged in the first time she didnt understand any of the Norwegian letters she saw.  "There were just strange signs all over the page," she laughed.  

Students recommend the Summer School 

All the students Fronter spoke with highly recommend participating in the summer program. One put it this way, "The way they organize the ISS is very balanced. You get to learn so many things in such a short period of time. At the same time they give us the chance to explore Norwegian culture and nature, which is really amazing. So I would totally recommend participating."  

To learn more about the International Summer School, visit the ISS homepage.  

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