VIU Students to Benefit From Norwegian Collaboration in Outdoor Studies

VIU students to benefit from Norwegian collaboration in outdoor studies.

Canadian faculty kayaking in Oslo fjord forging a partnership to create educational opportunities for Canadian and Norwegian students.

January 24, 2020 - 9:45am

New partnership will allow VIU students to take outdoor experiential learning beyond the boundaries of British Columbia.

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A new partnership will allow Canadian and Norwegian university students to benefit from interdisciplinary nature-based recreation and outdoor wellness education programs offered in both countries.

This new initiative builds on Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) membership within the University of the Arctic consortium and ongoing collaborative research with colleagues in Scandinavia associated with VIU’s World Leisure Centre of Excellence.

“I’m excited to see that work progress to involving colleagues across disciplines at VIU and the creation of opportunities for Canadian and Norwegian students from partner institutions to enhance their educational experiences,” says Rob Ferguson, VIU Faculty of Management Acting Associate Dean.

Students from VIU have an opportunity to take friluftsliv studies at the University of South-Eastern Norway in Bø, and the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, and their students can come to VIU to further their studies in courses related to Child and Youth Care (CYC), Recreation and Tourism Management and Kinesiology.

Friluftsliv, pronounced free-loofts-liv, coined by renowned Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen in 1859, loosely translates to free air life.

“It is the philosophy that you're the best version of yourself when you're out in nature doing something,” says Steve Javorski, VIU Child & Youth Care Professor.  “This is an immersion experience for VIU students to go and learn about living and being in the outdoors in a culture that values it as an integral part of life.”

VIU students to benefit from Norwegian collaboration in outdoor studies.

“I’ve already started taking cold showers and skating lessons and hope I will get the opportunity to study in Norway,” says Jonah Woodhouse, VIU Child and Youth Care (CYC) student.

The partnership between three Canadian universities and two in Norway sprang from The Transatlantic Collaboration in Outdoor Studies, (TACOS) a project funded by Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU). The Norwegian universities were seeking international opportunities for their students to study in English and to benefit from the established reputation of Canada as a place of natural beauty and academic programming in outdoor studies. 

Javorski, along with Ferguson, recently travelled to the Scandinavian institutions to solidify the relationship and present the relevant courses VIU can offer Norwegian students for a semester. They were joined by CYC student Kerry McNaughton who was there to tell them about student life on Vancouver Island and learn what students can expect if they go to Norway.

Javorski says they were interested in expanding learning opportunities for their students studying the intersection between mental health and friluftsliv as well as recreation education programs that encompass sustainable program planning.

A number of CYC courses are being offered to the Norwegian students including Therapeutic Applications of Wilderness. The VIU tourism and recreation programs being offered will highlight management skills in the operational management of an outdoor adventure organization.

Canadian students will have the unique opportunity to learn about and practice a variety of different aspects of Norwegian outdoor life in an assortment of environments. Advanced courses in recreation and nature-based health and well-being are co-taught with Norwegian students and incorporate field trips, backcountry camping, traditional crafting and gathering, kayak expeditions and possibly even moose hunting.VIU students to benefit from Norwegian collaboration in outdoor studies.

CYC student Kerry McNaughton came back from the Norway trip with a new perspective on what it means to be active outdoors.

“Canada is doing really well when it comes to appreciating nature and being ‘outdoors,’” says McNaughton. “But I think it is really useful for students to see other worldviews and perspectives, like how the government in Norway protects wilderness areas and supports connections to nature.”

Woodhouse hopes to be among the first cohort for the new exchange program in August 2020.  “Canada is doing really well when it comes to appreciating nature and being ‘outdoors,’” says McNaughton. “But I think it is really useful for students to see other worldviews and perspectives, like how the government in Norway protects wilderness areas and supports connections to nature.”

“Outdoor activities such as canoeing, camping and kayaking have always been a huge passion of mine,” says Woodhouse. “The CYC Adventure Therapy program is a perfect match of my personal and professional interests. I also work in the summer as a kayak guide and I see the benefits of being active outdoors. I am curious how other cultures, such as in Norway, address similar issues and find alternative ways to deliver therapy.”

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Annette Lucas, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.741.2020 | C: 250.618.7296 | E: Annette.Lucas@viu.ca


Tags: Teaching and Learning


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