Tusculum College Medieval Europe class explores Norway on a study-abroad trip

Posted on 22 November 2013 by erobinette@tusculum.edu

Eight Tusculum students, their professor and a community member experienced Norwegian culture from October 10-21 as a part of Tusculum’s global studies program. The trip was a part of an upper division history course on Medieval Europe and focused on Norwegian and Viking history from the 11th to the 14th century.

From left: Students Ryan Barker, Erika Allison and Tynan Shadle stand atop a medieval military fort overlooking the city of Bergen.

The group included Erika Allison, a sophomore museum studies major from Alpharetta, Ga.; Ryan Barker, a senior history and creative writing major from Laurens, S.C.; Jeremy Hobson, a business administration major in the graduate and professional studies program from Knoxville; William Jennings, a senior history education major from Greeneville; Trevor Long, a senior political science major from Atkins, Va.; Melissa Mauceri, a senior journalism major from Pigeon Forge;  Tynan Shadle, a senior museum studies major from Lubbock, Tx.; Joel Van Amberg, associate professor of history and chair of the department of history and museum While in Norway, the students visited several cities including Oslo, Tønsberg, Bergen and Trondheim. With each city settled in a different part of Norway, the group was able to experience a wide variety of cultures, environments and regions.

“My Norway experience was an eye opening adventure,” said Mauceri. “The scenery in Norway is absolutely breathtaking. There are beautiful cathedrals and ancient buildings that are fascinating.”

A student group from Tusculum College visited the Oslo Viking Ship Museum’s display of Viking ships that had been excavated from 9th Century burial mounds

She added, “The people are very friendly and easy to communicate with since they speak both English and Norwegian. I would love to go back to Norway one day and see even more of the country.”

In Oslo, the group visited several historic museums sponsored by the University of Oslo. In Tønsberg the group saw Viking burial mounds and a Viking feasting hall at the Midgard Historisk Senter. In addition, they were able to row a reconstructed Viking long ship into a fjord. Bergen, Norway’s oldest city the group learned was a major trading port in the Medieval era. When traveling in Trondheim the group was treated to a tour of the city by Dr. Geir Bergvin, Tusculum associate professor for marketing and director of the center for global studies, who is a native to the city.

Other experiences the group had on the trip included a cross-country scenic train ride from Oslo to Bergin, a traditional Norwegian dinner at Bergvin’s brother’s house and free time to explore the cities on their own. The six-hour train ride passed across several glacial formations and fjords while moving through the mountainous Norwegian countryside.

“I was very pleased that students had the opportunity to travel to Europe and experience directly the history they were studying,” said Van Amberg. “One of the strengths of our block plan is that we can enrich the classroom environment with travel to sites of historical significance without interfering with other courses students have to take.”

After returning to Tusculum the group made a public presentation on the trip which included photos from the trip. During the presentation the group elaborated on the culture, scenery, and some of the history of Norway including a civil war fought in the country during the middle ages.

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