Student Stories: Ellen Sporstøl

Ellen Sporstøl is the Assistant Editor of the Political and Business news section at NRK News.
Ellen Sporstøl is the Assistant Editor of the Political and Business news section at NRK News.

Ellen Sporstøl is the Assistant Editor of the Political and Business news section at NRK News. Before that, she was a TV news reporter at NRK and TV 2. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and international studies from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she graduated in 2001.  She has also studied Spanish at the Universities of Madrid and Barcelona.

“As a journalist it can also be very useful to understand how our own society is viewed from the outside.”

Why did you decide to study in the United States?
I wanted to study abroad and, as an aspiring journalist, I wanted to go to a great journalism school, preferably in an English speaking country. The quality of the universities in the U.S. is among the best in the world, and the journalism program at Northwestern was ranked as number one. After traveling on the East Coast and through the Midwest one summer, I was sold on the U.S..

What are your best memories from your time in the U.S?
Some of my best travel memories are from my years in the States. We did lots of fun road trips in my old Honda Civic; from coast to coast, through the south and up north. I met a lot of great people both on these trips, and during my time at Northwestern. I still keep in touch with many of them today. I also loved campus life and really enjoyed life as a student.

Northwestern University campus.
Northwestern University campus.

What were the biggest challenges during your time there?
I was the only foreign student in my program, which made it extra challenging. It took me some time to understand U.S. culture and to understand how Americans think about society and journalism.

Aside from getting an education, in what way would you say that studying in the U.S. has been a benefit to you professionally?
Being able to, and used to, using English for work is a great advantage. Having a different educational background than most of my colleagues also allows me to see things from a different perspective. As a journalist it can also be very useful to understand how our own society is viewed from the outside.

“The quality of the U.S. schools would be my best argument for choosing to study in the States before other countries.”

In what way did your time in the U.S. affect you personally?
The years abroad in my twenties formed me as a person, and my love of traveling and understanding new cultures grew stronger. My years at Northwestern also made me understand that I was on the right path career-wise and that journalism was the right choice for me.

Would you recommend other Norwegians to study in U.S.?
I would highly recommend studying abroad, and especially in the U.S.! Although studying at a top university means lots of hard work and long hours in the student library, it’s a great way to get a good education and gain unique insight into another culture at the same time. The quality of the U.S. schools would be my best argument for choosing to study in the States before other countries. An extra perk are all the cool places “nearby” that you can visit during breaks.

Read more USA Student Stories here.

Find more information about studying in the U.S. here.