In November 2017, I was hosting Tami Carsillo to Oslo University College of Applied Sciences, now Oslo Metropolitan University. Through the OpenGATE program she had the opportunity to stay for four weeks in Oslo. Now, I have the opportunity to visit George Mason University (GMU) and want to share my experience as a visiting scholar in the United States. If we do not consider the limited public transport, the long travel distances, the very large unhealthy chocolate chip cookies, and that PhD student have to pay school fees, here are a few reflections on the benefits of this kind of international collaboration.
I had the opportunity to participate in the EDRS 815, Research Inquiries in International Education class at GMU. It was a small group of six students and a senior lecturer. I was invited to share my research and the students asked questions regarding my research and fieldwork. Furthermore, I was introduced to a new book within our common field of interest: Rethinking case study research, written by Lesley Bartlett and Frances Varvus, two scholars that have both been at our PhD days. It was of particular interest to see how the students applied models for research design on their own research questions. This was useful knowledge to bring back to OsloMet, both in my own work and as a lecturer in our methods course in the master program Multicultural and International Education.
Student research conference
I had the opportunity to attended a graduate level student research conference at American University during my stay. We should definitely have a student research conference in Oslo. The conference aimed at making students ready to present in “real” conferences. It was a consortium collaboration between four public and private Universities in the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. area, and proved to be a valuable arena to share research and discuss with colleagues. The presentations were professional and inspiring. Master students and PhD students could share their knowledge and comment on each other’s work and ask questions. A few senior scholars were also there, mostly commenting on their students work. In Oslo we are now two universities that should be able to join efforts to do something like this. It was low key, and only half a day. But included six panels with about 4 students presenting in each of them. This is something OpenGATE can learn from and develop in our institution in order to enhance global teacher education and international research collaboration.
After being abroad one learns to value the benefits of living and working in Norway. I am very glad I have my own office, and a salary that makes sure I do not have to have two jobs and at the same time attend multiple classes and write up my research. Most graduate classes, especially PhD level, at GMU, occur in the evening. This is because students work during the day. A negative consequence of this might be that students are tired after a long day of work. However, the class I visited through the OpenGATE project had few students which enabled a good discussion on the topics. The small group enabled practical task that I do not often experience in PhD courses in Norway. During most of my writing and collaborative work at GMU I stayed in the very nice and large Fenwick Library. I can definitely recommend to work in the Library if you are going as part of the project.
If you are from GMU or OsloMet here are some of the academic outcomes of my stay at GMU which have made the stay valuable to me and my work:
Visiting the US is always an adventure., and it is always very nice to get back home. You learn to value the benefits of working and living in Norway. But I was able to experience and try out some American specialties: