Exchange report from The New School
Hanna and Eirik spent a semester at The New School in the autumn of 2016. Here they share their thoughts about New York and The New School
private photo. Hanna & Eirik: Here we are at the University Center, the most prominent building of The New School campus.
Why did you choose an exchange semester at The New School.
To be honest, we chose to apply for the Visiting Student Program at The New School because studying in New York City has been a long-time dream for both of us. We did not have much prior knowledge about The New School and did some investigation into the possibilities there before applying. We did not, however, gain too much knowledge before being accepted but we quickly realized that us participating in this program was something close to serendipity – The New School is a remarkable institution.
What was the best part?
The name of the university is truly indicative of the way they operate and teach. The school was started by intellectuals who wanted to break free from the restraints of the traditional institutions. They long talked about wanting to start a new school – and so it became The New School. From our first encounter with the staff and students, we noticed how everyone in the community wants to contribute to your success and ability to thrive. Everyone is very engaged and interested in their colleagues and how the plethora of prior experiences is a vital factor for the success of the community as a whole. The classes are also different from those in Norwegian universities; instead of monologue-based lectures, you meet in smaller groups with a participatory and practical approach to the syllabus. You are encouraged to voice your opinion and challenge existing assumptions and beliefs. The use of role-plays and simulations is a common occurrence, and this provides a great possibility to connect with fellow students. All these factors combined have made us wanting to apply for a new semester.
We must also mention the unique experience of following the 2016 Presidential election up close. For a progressive city like NY, the days following the outcome contained anger, fear, consolidation and tokens of togetherness. Experiencing the US in this time of political upheaval is a compelling reason to cross the Atlantic for every student of social life and society. And of course, the school’s location at Union Square in Manhattan is a YUGE bonus.
What was the worst part?
In retrospect, we do not see many downsides with our stay at The New School. The only drawback with living in New York is the price level – everything is expensive, sometimes outrageously so. Our best tip is, therefore, to save up as much as possible before going over. You don’t want to live in NY without the ability to exploit the city's vast opportunities!
Would you recommend others to take a semester abroad at New School?