During her visit to Norway from May to June this year, Danielle Hoyer saw her last name in two places, once on the side of a truck door in Stavanger and another time in a men and women’s department store in Oslo.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Norway,” Hoyer said, “… It’s where some of my family is from and I just wanted to see where my ancestors came from.”
Hoyer has traveled to Europe before– two years ago– as part of the Greenbush-Middle River European trip. While on this trip, she took in France, England, Germany, and Switzerland. This study abroad summer college trip that began in Norway provided not only a look back into family history, but also gave her another opportunity to explore even more of Europe, as she also took in Ireland, Wales, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands on an adventure that extended from May 17 to June 29.
She spent the first four weeks of her trip in Norway, living in an apartment dorm with one roommate about a four-minute walk from the school she was attending, the American College of Norway in Moss, a city of just over 32,000, according to multiple online sources, about an hour south of Oslo.
“It felt just like really small town,” Hoyer said. “It felt like Greenbush, like I could go out at 11 o’clock at night and be perfectly safe, which I really like that because it felt like home.”
A Strathcona native and 2017 GMR High School graduate, Hoyer will be heading back to Mayville State University (N.D.) for her second year of college, but she took this study abroad trip through both Mayville State and the University of North Dakota. At the American College of Norway, she took two three-credit classes, including “Colloquium in the Sciences: Environmental Challenges of the 21st Century”, and “Oslo: The City as Text”. She had class from 9 am to 4 pm Monday through Thursday, including a break from noon to 1 pm.
“Our professor (for our Oslo class), she was great… She was really upbeat and she explained herself well,” Hoyer said. “She got along with everyone; no one hated her. She made class fun, or interesting, or interactive. We weren’t bored.”
These classes included students entirely from America, with the exception of one Norwegian student. Hoyer enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people on this trip, including those from Pennsylvania and New York, and students from UND.
Outside class, Hoyer also took in other sites and scenes. During her first three-day weekend, she went to Stavanger, taking a “rough” 2.4 mile hike atop to a cliff called Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock). After staying in Moss the second weekend, she took a two-day trip during her third weekend to Gothenburg, Sweden, wandering and exploring around there, including taking in botanical gardens described by Hoyer as a “mini hike.”
While in Norway, she also took in some other notable sites. She enjoyed visiting the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, providing a look back into these people’s history, including a look at three Viking ships and three Viking skeletons.
“ I think… all of them (the ships) are 90 percent original wood, even after all these years. They were buried underground so they had to be dug up,” Hoyer said. “… The ships are ceremonial burial spots where important people were buried.”
She also had the chance to try some unique foods in Norway, including open faced sandwiches. These sandwiches included just one slice of bread and atop that slice one put on it what he or she wanted.
“They were a little hard to eat,” Hoyer said. “… (It was) kind of like eating a slice of pizza, but trying to keep all your toppings on top.”
As for the bread, she said people would buy a whole loaf of bread uncut and get it cut by a machine right at the store.
“It tastes way better than sliced bread in a bag, Hoyer said. “… That bread was so good.”
She also noticed the different toppings that are put on these open faced sandwiches, including brown cheese, which Hoyer described as “odd.” She tried it but didn’t enjoy it. She said people also put caviar and shrimp on the sandwiches, coming out of what she described as a “toothpaste tube.”
To see the full story, read the August 1 issue of The Tribune in print or online.