Norway High School Expedition

Norway is a country of stunning fjords and soaring peaks whose residents have a storied history of connecting with their natural world. This kinship with the Earth is infused into many aspects of daily life here and is at the root of age-old traditions that live on today. Venture to the northern reaches of Europe to discover how Norwegians are preserving their rich cultural legacy for future generations.

June 22 - July 7, 2019
July 8 - July 23, 2019
Airfare is not included. We have arranged group flights from New York to Oslo, Oslo to Lofoton, Lofoton to Bergen, and Bergen to New York.

Trip Highlights

  • Stay at a mountain hut in Jotunheimen National Park, and embrace Norwegian friluftsliv, or “open-air life,” on hikes across breathtaking peaks.
  • Photograph Norway’s world-famous fjords while kayaking beneath towering cliffs and waterfalls.
  • Venture above the Arctic Circle to explore the tiny fishing hamlets of the Lofoten islands, where the midnight sun never sets in the summer.
  • Step aboard restored Viking longships in Oslo, and listen to Viking lore that has been passed down through the centuries.

Itinerary | 16 days

Days 1

View Images

Arrive in Oslo and set out to explore the city by bike, stopping at the Nobel Peace Center and the incredible Vigelandsparken sculpture park. Glimpse the country's seafaring legacy at the Akershus Fortress and on a trip to the Bygdøy peninsula, where we'll step aboard Viking longships; and learn about daily life for indigenous Sámi reindeer herders while perusing the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. On a hike through Nordmarka forest, get introduced to the Nordic philosophy of friluftsliv, based on the drive for a deep connection with nature; then visit an urban farm to see how locals are balancing green living with Oslo's increasing population density. As you uncover Norway's rich culture and epic beauty, delve into your On Assignment project.

Days 4

Journey to our remote mountain lodge on Lake Gjende in the heart of Jotunheimen National Park. Set out on daily hikes with your On Assignment team to explore the Norwegian mountains, home to glaciers and turquoise lakes framed by steep peaks. Practice landscape photography and embrace friluftsliv in this spectacular wilderness. During our stay here, we'll be met by Sámi students, who will give us a firsthand introduction to their traditions and teach us the art of reindeer lassoing.

Pull Quote
Norway is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The landscapes are magical vehicles where you can transcend time and space.
Erika Larsen, National Geographic Expert

Days 8

After a night back in Oslo, soar above the Arctic Circle to the magical Lofoten islands, where mountains rise straight from the sea and colorful villages dot rocky shorelines. Settle into a remote fishing hamlet and immerse yourself in the local culture. Discuss the benefits of traditional fishing methods with residents, and learn about the controversies surrounding fish factories. Don a snorkel and dry suit and plunge into the Norwegian Sea for a look at fascinating marine life; hike or bike along the shorelines in search of sea eagles and puffins; and use your camera to capture the swirl of whirlpools off the coast of Å, a village of stilted red houses. Listen to Viking lore under a midnight sun that never sets in the summer.

Days 14

Fly to Bergen, gateway to Norway's famed fjord lands and one of the largest trading ports in northern Europe during the Middle Ages. Stay in the city's old wharf district, the Bryggen; and visit the fish market—a gathering spot for merchants since the 13th century. Hike the Seven Sisters mountain chain to photograph panoramas of the North Sea; and explore the region's spectacular fjords by kayak, paddling beneath towering cliffs laced with waterfalls. Share your final On Assignment presentation and celebrate your adventure with a traditional Norwegian meal before flying home.

Our high school expeditions are for students in grades 9-12, and offer opportunities to get out into the field and discover fascinating destinations across the globe through the lens of an On Assignment project. Each expedition offers a choice of two or three areas of focus, such as photography, geology, or wildlife conservation. Students travel alongside a team of highly-qualified trip leaders—college graduates with extensive experience in the field, who love working with students. A National Geographic expert joins for a portion of the trip (four to eight days) to share their insights, and inspire students with their passion for the work they do and the places they will discover. The group size ranges between 14 and 28 participants, and the student-to-trip-leader ratio is usually between six and eight to one and never more than nine to one.
This expedition includes several active excursions such as hiking and kayaking. Students should be physically fit and enthusiastic about outdoor exploration in a variety of climates.
We will stay in small, family-owned hotels and fishing cabins throughout the expedition.

Erika Larsen, Photojournalist

Meet Our Experts

For more than a decade, Erika Larsen has used photography to learn intimately about and document cultures that maintain strong connections with nature. She has followed Sami reindeer herders in the Scandinavian arctic and explored the significance of the horse in Native American culture for National Geographic magazine. Her work has been shown in Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Swedish Museum of Ethnography, the Ájtte Sámi Museum and as part of National Geographic's Women of Vision photography exhibit. Erika received a Fulbright Fellowship to study the North Sami language and recently published her first book of photographs, Sámi, Walking with Reindeer. Erika recently spent a year photographing the people of Yellowstone National Park for the May 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine. Erika will join the July 8 departure of the Norway expedition.

Nick Cobbing, Photojournalist and Filmmaker

Photojournalist and filmmaker Nick Cobbing aims to highlight themes of science and natural history through personal stories. A native of the United Kingdom, Nick frequently works in Norway, the Arctic and Antarctica, and has accompanied scientists on research expeditions, based on icebreaking ships or even camped on Arctic ice. His story on the future of Arctic sea ice appeared in the January 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine. Nick's work has been exhibited and screened worldwide in galleries and at festivals, as well as to policymakers at the U.S. Congress and Stockholm Parliament. He has won many awards for his photography and short films, including World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year, and American Photography. He teaches regularly in Antarctica, Norway, and the Arctic, using the camera to connect students with the landscape and themselves. Nick will join the June 22 departure of the Norway expedition.

On Assignment Projects

Photographic opportunities are around every corner as we explore Norway’s dramatic landscapes and charming villages. Capture a unique angle on the country’s iconic beauty, and convey the vibrant culture of rural communities while documenting colorful towns and fishing hamlets. Snap portraits that tell the stories of the local characters you meet along your journey.
Delve into Norway’s seafaring traditions, from the Viking Age to the Hanseatic trading era and modern-day fishing cultures. Discuss Norway’s status as one of the most sustainable countries in the world. Learn how the friluftsliv philosophy binds together historical and modern Norway as the central way of life for both the ancient Vikings and today’s pastoralists and urbanites.