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Global Focus: Idun Klakegg

By Connie Gong
Published: October 2010

According to Klakegg, nationality has always been a large influence in her life. “Separating myself from my nationality is almost impossible, so pinpointing a specific way being Norwegian contributes to my life is difficult, Klakegg said, when asked about the impact of her background.
Klakegg’s American mother and Norwegian father met in Norway after college. She was born in Oslo and moved to the United States at the age of 8.
“Norwegian culture is a very integral part of me, to the point where it’s hard to say how it influences me, Klakegg said. “I wouldn’t really say being Norwegian ‘Ëœmeans something’ to me, it’s more a basic part of me, like being 5’6 and having blonde hair and blue eyes.
After attending South her freshman year, Klakegg wanted to spend a year abroad. She decided to spend her sophomore year living with her father in Norway. She spent the year studying at a Norwegian high school.
“The school system was very different. There, you can choose a ‘Ëœmajor’ of sorts, which will influence what your electives are. Academically, the school was much, much easier than South.
Norwegian schools give the option of following a strictly academic course but also have specialized options such as carpentry, media and technology, art, and design. Klakegg was given the option of applying to a music, dance, or drama program. She chose and was admitted to the Music program, which she enjoyed immensely.
“It was also a very valuable experience musically. As part of the program, 45 minutes of private lessons in your main instrument, 20 minutes for each of two secondary instruments, two hours of theory, four hours of chorus, one hour of dance, and one hour of drama, and one hour of listening class were incorporated into our weekday in addition to academic subjects.
Klakegg praises the government, a social democracy, which offers very good social welfare programs allowing a high standard of living. She describes daily life as different and more laid back than her experience in Newton.
“I would say people are generally more relaxed there, which I think stems from the general feeling of security. There’s a general sense that you will be taken care of there, which I think both promotes both a general well-being and a certain lack of drive.
She notes that there are some differences in the level of awareness Norwegian youth have of their surroundings.
“As a very wide generalization, people are slightly more aware of what is happening in the world, and especially youth are more active and engaged in social activism.
Overall, she describes the experience as positive and eye opening.
“I would quite honestly say it’s given me a much wider perspective. Living in Norway is wonderful because of the relaxed attitude people have there.

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