Norwegian Language Blog

Oslo International Summer School Posted by on Jul 26, 2011 in Culture, Language, Norway and the world

With a motto of “Six Weeks of Academic Achievement and International Good Will,” the students attending the ISS this year should be very proud of what they are doing.  After the horrific events of July 22 in Oslo and on Utøya, I have been feeling quite sad and troubled.  I therefore want to focus my next couple of posts on positive things coming out of Norway.  The International Summer School is one of them.

ISS is a part of the University of Oslo (UiO), which is the oldest university in Norway, founded in 1811.  There are about 30,000 students who enroll in UiO each year.  In 1947 the first English speaking program was established at ISS.  The Americans had been welcoming to Norwegian students who came to the U.S. shortly after WWII, so the Norwegians decided to invite English speaking students to the International Summer School, which was actually called “The Summer School for American Students” until 1958 when students from other countries began to attend and thus the name became “The International Summer School.”


Since 1947, 25,000 students from 150 countries have attended the 6 week long program for graduates and undergraduates.  During recent years, the number of attendees has been around 600 and they come from up to 90 nations.  For a small country relatively isolated in northwestern Europe, those numbers are impressive.

Some of the courses offered include Norwegian language, literature and culture, Scandinavian politics and international development.  Graduate students take only one course, as do students of Norwegian.  Students of all ages can apply and there are plenty of scholarships offered to offset the $3,700 it costs to attend the 6 week program.  The cost is cheaper to live off-campus, but most students choose to stay in the dormitories at the Blindern campus.

map of Blindern campus

Every year there is an International Cultural night where students have the opportunity to share their home culture with the rest of the students.  Students prepare food that is unique to their cultures, create dances, songs, skits, games, whatever they want.  I have never been a student at ISS, but when I was living in Oslo one summer after completing a semester at the University of Oslo, I attended the International Cultural Night.  It was a lot of fun.  I got to try really tasty food from all over the world and get a glimpse into all these different cultures.  There were a few people from my hometown and from my college that were students that summer, so it was fun to see them too:)

The International Cultural Night is always held at Chateau Neuf, a really big building owned by the University that hosts all kinds of parties and other events.  This year, the International Cultural Night is this coming Friday.  I wish I could transport myself!  I’m sure it will be extra special after what happened in Norway on Friday.

The below picture and quote is on the front page of the ISS website.  Check it out here to view more.

If one man can show so much hate, think of how much love we can show together.” – Labor Party camp survivor in an interview with CNN.

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. Stacie:

    I was a student at the ISS in 2009 and had planned to return this year, but at the last minute had to cancel my enrollment. My experience at the ISS was one of the best times in my life, I was 30 at the time. It was an intense 6 weeks with lots of studying (I took a Norwegian course and a Life & Society course) but I found plenty of time for enjoying Norway as well. I stayed off campus, yet enjoyed feeling like one of “the gang” when on campus with the others. I can’t emphasize enough what the ISS meant to me and I strongly suggest anyone that has interest in anything Norwegian to attend. The cost isn’t even that bad when you factor in that you are getting college credit for the classes you attend!

  2. jonn:

    thanks for this article! its very good information! i am thinking about doing this and or going for a full semester! not really sure what i want to do yet though..

  3. smm hossain:

    Admission Manger
    international office

    sub: application for international summer school program

    Dear Sir,
    with due respect and honor to state that l am a student from Bangladesh,l have completed my 16 classes studies (equivalent to 16th grade education in USA) in Humanities and Social science group with good result..
    Now I am very much interested to study in your famous university in summer program,

    Please me the application forms and necessary papers by register mail or a first class air mail as early as possible, because l wish to take admission up coming semester 2012 , l am eagerly waiting for your early reply, please reply me soon.

    Have a Good day ,

    Thanking you
    yours very sincerely
    S.M.Mosaraf Hossan