Study Abroad  Norway

Two Worlds United Programs in Norway for High School students

The long, thin arm of Norway wraps around the top of Finland and Sweden, opening its palm toward Denmark. Within its embrace are 20,917 kilometers (13,000 miles) of coast, the country's lifeline. The waters of the seas and the fjords beat against rocky shores or glide through green valleys, connecting many communities that would otherwise be fairly isolated by the rugged terrain and impassable mountains. This country is long and very narrow—about 2,092 kilometers (1,300 miles) from top to bottom. A traveler can cross it in eight hours by train from Oslo to Bergen, even though the route goes through some of the most rugged country ever to challenge a railway. In fact, the railway does not extend all the way north (you're better off driving and taking car ferries, or flying), nor can it service the coastal towns efficiently. These towns are best accessed by coastal steamer, the most reliable and beautiful way to tour the area. And it is the coastal industries—fishing, shipping, and offshore oil drilling—that have brought Norway its prosperity and its prominence in international commerce.

Most students come to Norway with a checklist of things to see and do. The fjords top the list, for nowhere else is there anything quite like these deep, water-filled slices between precipitous mountains. Next on most students' lists is the midnight sun. Norway has more hours of daylight each year than any other country in the world, and thousands of tourists trek to the North Cape to see the red glow of the sun at midnight. Nonetheless, summer visitors to towns above the Arctic Circle experience 24 hours of daylight, and the disorientation caused by having to go to bed "by day."

Travelers journeying north are often surprised to find that the cities above the Arctic Circle are rather lively, surrounded in summer with green hills and sparkling fjords. The snow and gloom are there as well—especially in Finnmark—and there is that period, which can last from November to February, when there is virtually no light beyond a pale, rosy glow for an hour or so. For a truly arctic landscape, travelers can visit Svalbard/Spitzbergen, the group of islands west of the mainland in the Arctic Ocean, where winter iciness lingers most of the year. Here, only a few inches of ground ever thaws, but even so, during the brief summer, many varieties of plants thrive in the frigid soil.

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Fax: 1 (805) 581-6079

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