I thought of myself as an unconventional candidate for a Fulbright grant. After all, I was in my late twenties and only a part-time graduate student. But I thought of myself as curious person with a deep appreciation for travel – a hardworking student, with a genuine interest in better understanding my own Scandinavian heritage. As I’ve come to learn, there is no “conventional” Fulbright candidate.
My Fulbright application was designed around a “Capstone research project,” the final requirement of my graduate program. My study focused on the market effects of Norway’s energy rating scheme for buildings (read: energy efficiency report card for your home), and I was fortunate to have secured an affiliation with the University of Oslo’s Center for Development and the Environment. The Center has a strong reputation for its research – equally important; it has a long history of assembling international perspectives on pressing environmental issues.
I recall my first dinner at a colleague’s home, about three weeks into my stay. I arrived at a small apartment situated about 10 kilometers north of Oslo. It was a cool September evening, and dusk was just settling in over the city.