Only four weeks and it feels as if I have been in Norway for a year! Despite the rocky transition from Lillehammer to Oslo, I have been able to settle in and make Blindern dormitory feel like home for the remaining few weeks. As much as Oslo has welcomed me and only made me fall more in love, I am honestly homesick. With everything going on back home, I have found myself needing to find my footing again, and often times questioning if I am in the right location this summer.
Yes, I am in the right place for the summer. Only discovering more about Norway as a ‘Peace Nation,’ I have recognized that the reason I am here is to absorb different ways in which peace is established and fostered. With the rise of police violence, and the conscious murder of black individuals and other people of color in America at the hands of police, now more than ever is a significant time to be studying peace. Protesters back home have been painted as vicious thugs whose only goal is to violently remove the police from power. This of course is incorrect. With what I learn, a group of Augsburg students and I plan to create a dialogue between police officials, the Augsburg administration, and community leaders to dismantle the conflict between the groups and wish to move forward as a stronger, safer community.
Jumping right into my International Politics course, I was surprised at how unidirectional this course has presented itself. Mainly focusing on theories, world powers, wars, and the future of international politics, we have examined the way in which states interact on a political, economic, and social level, and as much as I consider myself an optimist, I am disappointed at the little respect states give each other and the power imbalances within the international system.
On the contrary, the Peace Seminar course I am required to take as a Peace Scholar, has enriched my experience here in Oslo greatly. As I chose my research project last week, I was bombarded with resources and information from Jeff, the course instructor, who is very knowledgeable about the dynamics of sexuality in Norway. Straying from my usual track of gender, I decided to research Norwegian sexuality. My project, The Color of Queer aims to analyze the way queer people/immigrants of color have been excluded and underrepresented at the policy change level, as well as examining the difficulties they face as both queer and a person of color within a predominantly white society. This is a project I plan on continuing in different contexts throughout the rest of my education at Augsburg and hope to gain a massive amount of information from Norway.
I have about three and a half weeks left to explore and learn as much as I can about the peace process and Norwegian culture but until then I am off to Berlin, Germany for five days for the long weekend!