From USA with love
American Lynell Chvala is working on her doctorate in English language policy in lower secondary education and at the same time teaching two courses in English
Working both on-campus and on-line
American Lynell Chvala came to Norway expecting to stay two years. It’s now been 17 for the assistant professor at the Faculty of Education and International Studies. Chvala left her home state of Iowa for Oslo in 1997 to be near her Norwegian husband and to gain experience abroad as an English language teacher. She quickly learned Norwegian and has been teaching in HiOA’s Department of Primary and Secondary Teacher Education since 2006. She enjoys the flexibility that her position offers with both on-campus and on-line teaching possibilities. “In the US, there is also much more individual pressure to publish. While in Norway, the culture is more about how we can work together to make it happen,” she says.
Combining working on her doctorate with a daughter at home
Chvalla is currently working on her doctorate in English language policy in lower secondary education while she teaches two courses, both in English. She has been able to do this with a young daughter at home, thanks in part to the well-structured Norwegian day care system and short commute in the relatively compact city of Oslo. “One thing I really like about Norwegian society is that children are taken quite seriously here,” says Chvalla. “I see with my sister (in the US) that grandparents often take care of children because day care is so expensive and you never know what you’re going to get. It’s not part of the state system. Here it is, and there is quality assurance.”
The Blue-Green City of Oslo
Another perk for her is Oslo’s proximity to nature. The capital is often referred to as the Blue-Green City because it lies nestled between the majestic Oslo fjord and Nordmarka forest. “What I love about this city is that it has been designed for so many needs,” says Chvala, an avid runner. “Within short distance, you’ll always find a forest or a river.”