Interview with Lars Eirik Arnecke Hovland

Lars Eirik Arnecke Hovland is an associate at a law firm, having graduated from  the University of Bergen (UiB). He went on an exchange to Copenhagen and, as part of his work for his master’s degree in law, had a traineeship                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Hovland, former student at Drammen International











When you were to apply to go to upper secondary school, why did you choose DI?

“I lived a couple of years abroad, learned a lot of English, so I wanted to maintain my English skills.  I knew that DI had a lot of focus on social studies and languages, both of which I think are really fun. I also didn’t have that much interest in science., I was at an Open Day at Drammen VGS, where I got a really good impression of the school. After that I was sure that this was  the school I wanted to go to. “

Where did you live abroad? 

“In Malaysia. My dad got a job there, and  brought us with him. We lived there for two years while I was in secondary school. We then moved back to Norway, and I started here at DI. It was a lot of fun.”

How would you describe your years at DI, in terms of how the environment in you class was, and what subjects you liked or didn’t like? 

“I can describe it in two ways; it was really fun, but it was also really demanding. You have almost every subject in English, apart from Norwegian of course, and that takes a lot of work. It was especially challenging when it came to science, where you not only had to know science, but also had to know science in English. I thought that was demanding, but everyone was in it together. Luckily, we were able to help each other through it. As we were one small class, we became really close, especially during our first year. That was fun, and we became a really nice group.”

Did you go on a lot of field trips?

“We went on some smaller trips, and then we went on one big trip to London in our 3rd year. That was probably the highlight of my three years at DI.”

What subjects did you like the most? And what subjects did you not like? 

“I have to admit that I actually liked doing Norwegian a lot, but that was because we had a great teacher who made us like the classes. But that doesn’t really have anything to do with Drammen International. Both Geography and Sociology were fun too, which probably had a lot to do with the teachers being fun and supportive.

Since you have several subjects in English at DI, in what way has your competence in English helped you when you have studied?

“It has helped me a lot. I studied law, which is mostly in Norwegian, but when it comes to EU and EEA legislation (the European Economic Area, of which Norway is a member), a lot of the material is in English. I have really noticed the differences between people who are comfortable in English and people who aren’t. Those that aren’t that comfortable with English and has that extra barrier, spend a lot more time and effort studying . They first need to spend time getting used to the English alone, and then they can start paying attention during the lectures. It’s great not having that barrier. I have also worked in a lot of organisations where it has been critical being able to make myself understood. A good command of English is also useful whenever I’m abroad. I think one of the greatest things Drammen International gave me, was confidence in my English skills. 

What are the most important things you learned at DI? Is there something you can still benefit from today? 

I can benefit from my English skills, but I also learned a lot about how to structure my days,  because it was mostly up to us what we decided to prioritise. For instance, we learned about WW1  and had to take responsibility for our own learning and the projects we were assigned. It was useful to learn what works best for me while studying. 

Did you do law (“rettslære”) as an elective course  at Drammen videregående, since you are studying law now? 

«No, I didn’t actually. I did Psychology 1 and 2, English , Sociology, Politics and Human Rights, and Mathematics S1.”

What made you decide to study law?

“I think it was something I had wanted to do for a really long time, and since I find social studies and languages interesting and fun, I think the combination between them suits me really well. As a law student you need to have an interest in how our society is organiszed and the rules that apply to us, and  you also need to like to express yourself in writing. If you like law, but you don’t enjoy writing, you’ll probably be struggling. I think it’s  the combination between attention to detail and the ability to handle complex questions which makes me enjoy law so much. I also think it is a very important profession.”

How do you think the fact that you went to DI, has affected the choices you have made and the choices you are making? 

“It probably affects me in many different ways. When I was on my exchange to Copenhagen, all my classes were in English. I also often seek towards anything international. For instance, I think fields such as EU legislation and human rights are interesting and fun, and DI made me a lot more prepared for that. For example, if anyone talks about the UN, I know what it is and how it works.”

Do you still have contact with some of the people you went to DI with? 

“Yes, I do! I had lunch with two people that were in in my class recently and I still have a small friend group that talks together. That is really nice! Most of the people I went to DI with I meet here and there, but there are four or five people that I talk to regularly.”

If you were to give me or anyone else that attends DI right now some advice, what would it be?

“Don’t be afraid to take opportunities. When I was a student at DI, there were a lot of opportunities, and the teachers were really good  at offering different kinds of projects. I recommend doing what I did and joining a lot of groups and organiszations, because you have so many opportunities. You get to know a lot of new people and you get to work with something different than school. I really liked that. It is also fun to try something new. For me, I thought it seemed a bit bland having to go to school every day, Monday to Friday for 3 years. I thought it was easier and more interesting to do some other things as well. So, do try something new, and do study in Bergen!»

 Helene B. Karstensen og Siri Hunstadbråten