- Could you tell us the main reasons for choosing Norway as your study destination?
I wanted to pick an appropriate context for my exploratory study; Norway had received international accolades for its blending of theoretical and practical methods in entrepreneurship education. I also wanted to enhance my skills to prepare for an academic career. I take seriously the belief that it is necessary to exchange ideas and perspective with students and colleagues across national and cultural boundaries both inside and outside the academy to be an effective and inspiring university professor at increasingly international universities.
- Why did you choose the institution you are/were at?
I wanted to leverage my hospitality entrepreneurship background and my research on best-practices in Norway to inform innovation in entrepreneurship curriculum in the United States. The Norwegian School of Hotel Management at The University of Stavanger, the second-oldest hospitality program in the world, would enable me to engage directly with a team of innovative and collaborative faculty members, students, and alumni in order to address my research questions.
- What was your idea about Norway before you arrived?
I thought Norway was going to have a cold climate and that balance of life was important to Norwegians.
- Which are the main differences from your country when it comes to your life as a student?
You have to be more self-disciplined to build structure in your day as there is less of a focus on participation within the classroom. On-campus extra-curricular activities happen before 4PM.
- In your opinion, what is the most important academic outcome as an international student in Norway?
With the combination of team-based and independent research during the experience, I became a stronger researcher. I had the opportunity to meet students and faculty from all stages of life that shaped my viewpoint and research approach that I believe will help me be a more effective academic in the future.
- Are there any personal experiences as a foreign student in Norway you would highlight?
I had fantastic experiential learning opportunities outside the classroom. I explored a husky farm operation and dog sledded through the mountains of Sirdal with 20 Alaskan huskies, two Indians, a German, a Swiss, and two Norwegians. I took my first trip to the Arctic and interacted with faculty at the University of Tromsø to learn about arctic entrepreneurship education. I also got to enjoy the Reindeer Races with other Fulbrighters. I travelled with Norwegian friends and experienced a Norwegian Christmas season in Lista and a Norwegian Easter in Dale and Volda with one of the most charming families in Sognefjord—I even got to taste a true viking meal! I participated as an organizer of Startup Weekend Stavanger and joined the venue/audience team to plan TEDx Stavanger. I adopted an Alaskan Husky and named him Buddy Grunder to always remind me of my research in Norway on entrepreneurship.
- What would you tell students from your country about university life in Norway?
It is important to identify a vision for how you are going to engage with students and activities on campus.
- What do/did you miss the most when you are/were away from your country?
I missed the comfort of family, friends, and structure.
- In your opinion, what is the most important outcome of being an international student?
I learned that it is a conscious choice to leverage education to create opportunity.
- What are you doing now?
I am working on creating journal articles out of my doctoral dissertation research and preparing for graduation at George Mason University.
- What are your future plans?
I accepted an appointment at The School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University as a Visiting Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of The Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship (PIHE) starting in July 2013.