By Beverly Danquah
On March 19th, 13th grade students from the Akademiet School in Norway visited Manhattan Center to get an idea of America’s educational system and a sense of our English classes. Their goal was to visit a place with a lot of immigrants so that they could get a sense of the multiple cultures coexisting in one place, while also learning history and social studies. Visiting a country outside of their own is a part of their course.
Erica, their teacher, chose New York because she lived here for 5 years. “I was born and raised in Florida, but moved to Norway because my father is Norwegian,” she said. She moved to Norway for a stress-free life and to be with her father’s family.
“It’s nice to be back in New York,” said Erica.
Their day started off in Mr. Tramm’s 3rd period English class. When the American students in the class heard that students get paid to go to school in Norway, they were blown away.
“How much do you guys get paid to go to school?” one student exclaimed.
They are paid a maximum of $1000.00 a month to attend classes, and must give the money back if they don’t pass a course.
By sitting in classes like those of AP English teachers Ms. Chiavola and Ms. Martinez, they were able to get a better idea of MCSM’s expectations of our students and the workload we are given.
Sitting beside students like Omar Diaz, Bendik Hallstensen, 18 was able to read along with a book in their curriculum: The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz.
“The book sounds interesting because it’s relevant to today’s society, and immigration is happening everywhere”, Bendik said.
“The lessons are hard in Norway, but this lesson was confusing. Complicated.” Said 18-year-old Nyima Bruun.
“The lesson was so hard, I didn’t understand anything. It was interesting though,” said Magnus Lonseth, 18.
“The classes were very diverse. There are a lot of Pakistanis and Somalis in Norway so it was nice to see other races,” said Haddy.
Of the ten students who visited New York, four student’s were fortunate enough to have their parents pay for their trip, while six had to pay through fundraising and working.
“My parents paid for my flight and my hotel, and I saved up money for expenses here. A lot of students saved up money for themselves, or worked. I’m not working right now,” said Christina Smogeli, 18.
After sitting in Ms. Chiavola’s 5th period English class, the visitors were blown away by the level of work expected of students in the class.
“It was so much harder than the classes in Norway. What we do in our Norweigian class, you do in English class,” observed Haddy Demba, 19.
As part of their tour of the school, students spoke to Mr. Kenis about the annual Robotics competition, which was last weekend. The students were shocked when they found out that MCSM won the third place trophy out of over 65 schools.
“If you were to tell the students in our school to build a robot, it’d be a riot. If we were told to work 35 hours a week on something school related, it’d be chaos,” commented Harald Kruhaug, 18.
“It’s a privilege to live in one of the wealthiest countries, but our taxes are insane. We have a 20% tax on merchandise,” said Erica.
“The gym was really nice. The principal told us that you have two gyms, we don’t even have one! We have to travel 20-30 minutes to get to the nearest gym,” offered 19-year-old Ole Varne.
Out of the group of 10 students, only two knew what they wanted to do. “In Norway, there isn’t much pressure as to what you want to be,” said Haddy.
Harald Kurang is among the students who exchanged his information with other students in order to keep in touch. He enjoyed his visit very much and hopes to visit the school one day again.