Last fall, Beth Butala won season 5 of “Alt for Norge,” the competition-based reality show where Norwegian-Americans travel to Norway and learn about their Norwegian heritage. Each contestant competes in challenges for the chance to win $50,000 and the opportunity to meet their relatives in Norway. In the April 2015 issue of Viking, we talked with the middle school teacher from Minnesota about her experience on the show and her newfound love of Norway. Check out the interview on page 54 and read more below.

Q: What was your mindset going into Season 5 of “Alt for Norge?”

A: I felt like the luckiest person on the planet. My mindset was just to enjoy every moment and soak up every experience as much as possible. I honestly thought I would be one of the first people to leave, so I was just thankful for every extra day I was there.

Q: How do you stay connected with Norway here while living in the United States?

A: I never anticipated the number of people I would have a connection with because of the show—the cast, crew, family both in Norway and in America, and finally a huge network of people who have a shared love of the country. I also went back to Norway in October and spent two weeks visiting my family and friends that I had met through “Alt for Norge.” We are making plans for them to come visit me in America soon, too. Since returning to the United States, I now follow Norwegian newspapers (Google Translate has become my good friend), watch a lot of TV Norge and am learning to cook traditional Norwegian foods.

Q: Why is your Norwegian heritage important to you?

A: It’s a constant part of me. No matter what you do in your present life, you can’t change the culture or the people you came from. After spending time reading the stories of our ancestors, great explorers and politicians of Norway, it makes you reflect on how the story of your own life will be read one day.