Active Citizenship in the history and the present. The role of personality and spirituality in written and oral texts.

Mobility project report

8. 8. 2019 – 8.12.2019

Master student

Faculty of Arts

Masaryk University

I was included in the mobility project „Active citizenship in the history and the present. The role of personality and spirituality in written and oral texts”. Thanks to this mobility project I had the opportunity to study the Autumn semester 2019 at the University of Agder in Kristiansand (Southern Norway) where I broadened my knowledge of the language, literature and culture of the country. In addition, my study mobility gave me the opportunity to meet new people not only from Norway, but also from all over the world who brought me new perspectives and a deeper understanding of other cultures. Moreover, this mobility project was beneficial for the process of writing of my diploma thesis. In this report, I would like to summarize my study stay at the University of Agder.

I took two courses: a Norwegian language course and a course called Norway: society and culture. The latter was aimed to provide a survey of Norwegian history and culture with an emphasis on literature, language, art and religion. It was also focused on school system and other areas of the Norwegian society such as economy and politics. The history of the country and Norwegian literature were the two main topics of the course. In literary sessions the main focus was on two well-known Norwegian authors – Henrik Ibsen and Knut Hamsun. Moreover, in the seminars we analysed the works of contemporary Norwegian writers Kjell Askildsen and Karl Ove Knausgård who were both born in the region of Agder.

The course did not offer only theoretical knowledge, but it also included three field trips. During the first excursion to Grimstad we had the opportunity to get to know more about Ibsen’s and Hamsun’s life by visiting the Ibsen Museum and several places linked to Knut Hamsun. Thanks to the guided tour at the Maritime museum we were familiarized with the maritime history of Grimstad. In the past Southern Norway was an important region when it came to shipbuilding and shipping industry. Nowadays coastal culture and maritime history persists as an important part of the identity of this region. During this excursion we also went on a boat trip and visited the place which became the source of inspiration for Ibsen’s poem Terje Vigen.

On the second field trip we visited an open-air museum and explored the history of Kristiansand and its surroundings. The last excursion was focused on art as we got the chance to see an exhibition of contemporary Norwegian artists at the Art Museum of Agder.

During the lessons the interaction between the students and the teachers was of importance. We were invited to share our own perspectives in dealing with the different topics and make comparisons with our home countries. Halfway through the semester we got an assignment to make a presentation intended to present Norwegian society and culture in a comparative perspective with our home country. Thanks to the presentations of my classmate

I  got a broader insight into Norwegian society and at the same time I got to know more about the home countries of other international students.

            Besides the courses I took at the university I regularly attended Norwegian language course arranged by KIA which is a voluntary and non-profit Norwegian organisation focused mainly on immigrants. Its main aim is to support more multicultural communities and promote equality among all people in Norway regardless of the cultural background. This course was beneficial for me in many aspects. I got the chance to meet people not only from European countries but also from Middle East countries, Africa or Japan. As the lessons focused to a large extent on communicative activities and we were a very multinational group we used to discuss various aspects of Norwegian society and compare them to the situation in our home countries. KIA arranged also many other activities such as Norwegian language training cafes where we could play board games and enjoy a cup of coffee while practising Norwegian.

Last but not least, this mobility project gave me the opportunity to find the research subject of my diploma thesis, especially thanks to consultations with Svein Slettan, a professor in the Department of Nordic and Media Studies at the University of Agder. He provided me with valuable advice which were very helpful in the process of writing of my diploma thesis throughout my whole study stay. My diploma thesis discusses the figure of the Norwegian journalist and author Sigurd Evensmo who was sent to Czechoslovakia in September 1938 to report home about the fight between the Czechs and the Nazis in Sudetenland. Although Sigurd Evensmo played an important role in the history of Czech-Norwegians relations, he is not very well-known to the Czech audience. I hope that my diploma thesis may serve as a means to enrich and broaden the knowledge of people in the Czech Republic about this personality.

I am very pleased that I got the chance to become a part of this mobility project. It was a unique and enriching experience in many aspects. To spend one semester at the University of Agder enriched me both culturally and academically and broadened my worldview.  

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