The 2013 summer course got off to a great start at the end of July, with the arrival of the 16 students from Latin America, the Middle East, Asia/Pacific, and Africa. Two English language teachers, RCN alumna Madeleine Benishek and RCN teacher Peter Wilson were ably supported by a team of volunteers who led extracurricular activities including sports, fishing, cooking, and hiking. We also had eight Norwegian Fredskorpset volunteers who were given hands-on training and teaching practice under Pete’s experienced eye, training for their assignments in Tanzania and Thailand. They did a great job in setting the tone for the whole course – a mixture of serious learning and fun.

Students, volunteers and teacher Peter Wilson in the classroom

In the classroom – students, FK volunteers and teacher Peter Wilson

Madeleine, coming to the end of the 3-week course wrote:

As a newcomer to the summer course I did not know what to expect when I arrived at RCN to teach students from thirteen different countries, from Thailand to Colombia to Angola. After a week of planning the students arrived and names on a page became faces and personalities. Despite arriving in a completely new setting and encountering a tremendous linguistic challenges the students jumped wholeheartedly into activities, games and classes.

On typical days the students had intensive English classes from 8.15 to 12.15, followed by lunch and afternoon activities including hiking, canoeing, drawing, football and even a campus-wide scavenger hunt (culminating in an improvised sun dance!). The evenings were filled with group activities such as a campfire, karaoke, movies and even a night of Norwegian folk dancing. On the weekends the students enjoyed visiting local sites such as a medieval millstone quarry and a glacier museum.

Fun and getting-to-know-you games

Fun and games on the Summer Course

Through spending three weeks together, the students have truly come into their own. In the beginning many students were quiet and timid, yet on one of our final evenings together the same students were singing karaoke in front of friends who had only weeks ago been complete strangers. Others were eagerly sharing traditions from their own countries such as a West Saharan tea ceremony or a Chinese folk dance. The summer course students will bring tremendous energy and creativity to intro week and beyond and RCN will be a richer place because of each one of them.

A special thanks go to our team of volunteers: Robin Tyne, UK (UWC Adriatic 10-12), Clara Mareschal, Belgium (UWC Adriatic 10-12), Jesper Bak-Christensen, Denmark (UWCRCN 08-10) and Kirsten Fix (USA) with current RCN students Edwin Gonzalez, Suwanna Mabangklu and Mahfoud Bouad.