Norgesskolen’s new leader, Rasa Ziburkute, has been fascinated by Norwegian language since she was 17 years old. Now, she hopes her fascination will inspire Norgesskolen’s students this summer.

Norwegians Worldwide has hired Rasa Ziburkute as the new leader of Norgesskolen, following Bodil Dahl. Rasa is a philologist from University of St. Petersburg and Oslo and has specialized in the Nordic languages. She was born and raised in Vilnius, Lithuania, but has lived over half of her life in Norway.

In very good hands

Rasa takes the role as leader after Bodil Dahl, who worked for Norwegians Worldwide for three years and led Norgesskolen for two.

– It has been an amazing experience to lead Norgesskolen. I will miss all the wonderful children, the nice parents and the proficient employees at Norgesskolen and Norwegians Worldwide. At the same time, I leave knowing that the school is in very good hands with Rasa as the new leader, Bodil said.

We had a chat with Rasa about her relationship with Norwegian language and her expectations for Norgesskolen this year.

It’s the first year you’ll lead Norgesskolen, what are you most excited about?

– I’m very much looking forward to meeting the students and their families and to help a curious group of youngsters get to know the Norwegian culture this summer. I’m also excited about cooperating with Sagavoll, and the teachers and activity leaders that will make Norgesskolen a wonderful experience for the students. Also, I must say I’m a bit worried about “jumping after Wirkola” (Norwegian saying), my predecessor Bodil Dahl, who did an amazing job in the years she led Norgesskolen. But with a little patience and support from everyone who has participated at Norgesskolen before, I think I’ll manage.

What do you like about the Norwegian language?

– I’ve been fascinated with Norwegian language since I was 17 years old. I love the y-u-ø-sounds, because everyone looks so cute when they pronounce them. I also think it’s funny that the noun “rot” can have different meanings when it’s “et rot” and “ei rot”. Maybe the Norse ancestors “rotet det litt til”? I’m also fascinated by expressions you don’t hear that much anymore, like “høy på pæra”, “tett i pappen”, “jommen sa jeg smør” og «goddagmannøkseskaft».

Do you think it will be extra challenging to lead Norgesskolen for you as your mother tongue is Lithuanian?

– I don’t think it will be a challenge in terms of language, and not culturally either. I’m from Northern Europe and have lived in Norway for 27 years now. I believe, on the other hand, that having grown up with a different education system and learning Norwegian as my third foreign language (after English and Russian in school), only serve as a great resource I can build on to guide the teachers at Norgesskolen. In the role as a leader, I see having a different perspective as a strength.

This year’s topic for Norgesskolen is Norwegian pop culture, what will you focus on?

– I would really like us to show the development in Norwegian pop culture without speaking ill of fiddle play and lusekofte, but rather highlight how traditions make way for new cultural expressions. I’m excited about presenting Norway as a diverse and modern society, and a cool country, really.

Rasa started as leader of Norgesskolen on May 14, and can be reached at: rasa.ziburkute@norgesskolen.no or phone: +47 41 57 21 08.