For a short essay assignment (650 word limit), I'm writing about how my experiences with learning Norwegian shaped me as an individual with the underlying idea centered around how sharing a common language can break barriers between two people. In order to adequately describe how my Norwegian language learning odyssey affected my life, I've had to repeat the word "Norwegian" and "Norway" way too many times because I had trouble finding a suitable synonym for these words. In my short essay of 618 words, I counted 13 instances of the word Norwegian and 6 instances of the word Norway in contexts such as these:
Norwegian (referring to a person): I was talking to a Norwegian girl (there are Swedes and Danes, but nothing unique for Norwegians)
Norwegian (language, both adjective and noun): the Norwegian textbook / Why are you learning Norwegian?
I've considered writing something such as "The intricacies of the language of the Vikings never failed to confuse me...", but that sounds kind of cheesy (I'm not sure though). I briefly touched on my interest for Norwegian history and culture (and how that was my main motivation when I chose which language to learn), so that could fit in, but it's also not the main focus of my essay.
Also, sometimes I write "the language" instead of "Norwegian"; for example: "My interest in Norwegian culture drew me to learn the language", but I already use the word "language" to talk about how it breaks barriers and unites people, so that word has been overused too. There aren't many synonyms for "language" that I can find; I did write "obscure tongue" at one point, but the writing doesn't feel natural to me when I use that word.
Those are the two solutions I've come up with, but they both aren't very great. Can someone suggest any other way I could avoid repeating these words in my writing?