A different kind of education.
Folk high schools (Folkehøgskole) are one-year boarding schools based on the idea of learning for life, not only for occupations and degrees. The term “folk high school” is a literal translation of the Norwegian word folkehøgskole. However, folk high schools are not “high schools” in the sense of upper secondary school institutions designed to prepare students for college or work through exams. Folk high schools are separate from the rest of Norway’s educational system. Most who attend are young adults between the ages of 18 and 25. Students live on campus in close contact with staff and their fellow students. One important aspect of the folk high school experience is to form a community, in and out of class. There are many choices about where to study; some 77 folk high schools are spread throughout the country.
Rønningen boarding school lies 30 minutes outside Oslo. Principal Svein Harsten tells us that students come from all over Norway and many other parts of the world, creating a genuinely multi-cultural environment. The school was founded in 1969, and is owned and operated by the Norwegian YMCA. For students who do not speak Norwegian, they offer a Norwegian language training-course.
Jennifer from the Philippines and Duong from Vietnam are both students at Rønningen Folkehøgskole. They heard about the school through relatives, and wanted to experience it for themselves. Kristian from US, who studied there last year, now holds a counseling position at the school. They all describe their fellow students as their extended family. “We live, eat and study together and become very close,” Doung says.
For Kristian, who now speaks Norwegian fluently, the experience is about more than education. “These schools are different because the focus is on the individual and your own development as a person. And it is a unique chance to learn not only the language, but the Norwegian way of living.”
Want to Apply?
There is no closing date for applying to folk high schools, but the schools starts granting admissions on February 1st each year. If you are a student from outside the European Union, the schools will accept an earlier application and usually give an answer within a few weeks. Then you also have to apply for a residence permit. This can take several months. Courses in Norwegian language and culture usually fill up quickly, so it pays to apply early. The folk high school semester begins in middle to late August, and ends in the mid-May. The folk high schools are private, but also receive government funding. The consensus is that a year at a folk high school is beneficial to both the individual and to society. Therefore, there is no tuition fee, not even for international students. Everyone pays for accommodation, study trips, and teaching materials.
Learn more by checking out this website: www.folkehogskolene.no