Paul C. Burgoyne, a Southern Utah State College professor and chairman of the biology department, will give up everything he owns to take his family to Norway this week.
But if it sounds like an incredible risk - it isn't really, explains Burgoyne.Burgoyne will actually trade everything he owns - his house, his car, his job, everything except his family - to switch places for a year with Otto P. Aasdal, a Norwegian high school instructor.
During a vacation tour of Scandinavia two years ago, Burgoyne paid a brief visit to a high school in Christiansent, Norway. After that brief visit in Aasdal's class, the two men proposed the switch. Burgoyne said they had tried to arrange the trade through the Fulbright Foundation, an agency that specializes in these trades, but they only accepted equivalent trades such as high school to high school.
Burgoyne discovered the college to high school trade would not work out with other traditional organizations that specialize in these types of switches. The two men worked the situation out privately through their respective government consulates, employers and with some help from SUSC.
He said the trade from college to high school is not a step down. "The European system of high school corresponds better to our college system," said Burgoyne. "During the last two years in high school, the European student takes college prep courses or he or she prepares for a trade. Those last two years resemble the U.S. system of junior college schools more than U.S. high school."
During his year away from SUSC, Burgoyne will teach science courses - in Norwegian. "I spent 2 1/2 years in Denmark about 30 years ago. The languages are very similar, although there are a few differences," he said. "For the past year, I've studied a lot of Norwegian, and I have studied the textbooks I will be using in Norway.
"It should be an interesting year. My wife and son have spent almost as much time as I have in preparing for this trip and learning the language," said Burgoyne, whose son will attend high school in Christiansent.
Aasdal will bring his wife and three children. Burgoyne said one of the Aasdal children will enroll at SUSC, one will attend Cedar High School and one will attend Cedar Middle School.
During his leave, Burgoyne said, Michael Donovan, an associate professor of biology, will serve as the interim department chairman.