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Online Program Through Endicott’s Van Loan School Opens New Doors in Norway

Julie WindegaardWhether you are sitting in one of the Van Loan School at Endicott College’s multiple on-site locations, or thousands of miles away with a computer in Norway, you can achieve your goals with an Endicott degree. And Julie Windegaard is a perfect example.

Windegaard has been all over the world, including France, England, Australia, Africa, Canada, and the United States, before moving to her current home in Norway. But while her home country was always changing, her passion for working with children stayed constant from the age of 16.

Her journey has had many exciting stops along the way, all leading to her completion of a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a concentration in education from Endicott College’s Van Loan School in the beginning of December. She began her studies at Houston Community College in 2007, and thanks to Endicott’s flexible transfer policy for adult students, she completed her degree during her year of maternity leave from her job in the early education department at the International School of Stavanger.

“Endicott has amazing teachers,” Windegaard said, two days after completing her degree. “I had classes where I didn’t want them to finish. It was a bit sad actually to be done with it. Even though you never meet the teachers because it’s online, they manage somehow to make you feel like you are part of the classroom. It was really, really good.”

The robust online offerings provided Windegaard with important opportunities for experiential learning and direct interactions with teachers thousands of miles away. She also developed new ideas to implement in the classroom once she returns from maternity leave in January.

“I was so happy to get my brain going again,” Windegaard said. “The program was interesting, and the classes were engaging. I got so many good ideas for the future. It just planted some seeds about what you can do with the children. It all started with the teachers in the classroom at Endicott.”

Years before finishing her bachelor’s degree, Windegaard initially studied English and Spanish while living in her native France, which could have led to a career as a translator. Once she discovered that path wasn’t for her, though, she used her ability to speak multiple languages to land a job in the oil services industry. That job later had a special project in Angola, where she met her future husband, Eirik Windegaard. He then was transferred to the U.S., where Julie Windegaard decided to return to school.

With the likelihood of more transfers in the future, Windegaard wanted a degree in a field where she could work anywhere in the world. The answer for her was teaching, which she studied in Houston until the couple moved to Canada in 2009. She was just six months shy of finishing the program, but the closest university to her in Canada was hours away in Edmonton, leading her to take a break from her studies.

The couple remained in Canada for three more years before moving to Norway, where Windegaard began working at the International School of Stavanger. While working there, she heard from fellow co-workers that she could finish her degree online at Endicott, and the rest is history.

“We provide students all over the world with the opportunity to achieve their dreams by taking engaging and robust online classes, as was the case with Julie,” Van Loan School at Endicott College Academic Dean Laura Douglass said. “Julie was always excited to explore new challenges throughout the program, including opportunities with experiential learning.”

The Van Loan School at Endicott College’s Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies degree program helps students develop a broad foundation in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and the arts to prepare for a career in education, business, or government. All of the Van Loan School's undergraduate programs offer a 100 percent online option.