Ava Little

Major: Human Development and Family Studies
Class: Freshman
Timeframe: Spring 2024
Type of Experience: Study abroad

Overall Experience

My experience with the Iowa State Singers in Norway was the trip of a lifetime. I probably won't go overseas for a long time, if ever, so having the chance to go on this trip was a great opportunity.

Learning experience

The most valuable learning experience was probably visiting the home and grave of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg after learning and singing many of his pieces. It was solemn but also great to learn about his life and work, which still has strong ties throughout Norwegian communities today.

Memorable experience

My most memorable experience of the trip was probably our last night in Norway. We stayed in Trondheim and were up very late talking and reminiscing on the trip. It was a great bonding experience in such a beautiful place. Another memorable experience is a beautiful cathedral we sang at in Bergen, which was a large stone cathedral with stained glass windows.

What did you not expect?

Maybe naive, but I didn't expect Norwegians to have such brisk and different attitudes than we did! Especially in the bigger cities like Oslo and Bergen, they seemed very rushed and couldn't be bothered with many things that we as Americans would do regularly, such as shopping or taking walks with friends or family. Many people we saw in public shopping or out and about had their heads down, were alone, and didn't talk to anyone. It was an interesting peek into the perspective other cultures have about behaving in public and how they interact with each other.

What advice would you give?

One piece of advice I have is to take every opportunity you can get, because originally I wasn't so sure about this trip, and it turned out to be one of the best things I've ever done! It was super fun and culturally insightful.

How has this experience impacted your life?

It impacted my life by broadening my perspectives on the world outside the US. Things were much different, and it was great to see how life was lived on the other side of the world. As for my personal goals, a goal of mine for 2024 was to travel more, so that was accomplished. Education-wise, it was my first study abroad trip and it was great to learn about the study abroad experience if I ever wanted to go on another trip. It was also great to learn a few phrases in Norwegian to communicate with locals, even though most of them already knew English. For my long-term career, I enjoyed the prospect of someday being able to work overseas.

How did you learn about this experience?

I first learned about this international opportunity in August 2023, when the school year began. We had a few months to learn about the trip and decide if we wanted to commit or not.

International Connections