Kristine Klaasen (The Netherlands)
We wanted out daughter to increase her love for Norway even though she lives abroad. Norgesskolen gave her that and much more. She found likeminded students and developed friends for life.
Grethe Drøpping (Thailand)
Herman (born in 1995) and Peter (born in 1997) arrived at Norgesskolen for the first time, summer 2006. We were all equally excited and nervous about 3 weeks at a summer school would go. Since then, Herman and Peter have returned for Norgesskolen 2007 and 2009. In 2009, their little sister, Solveig, also joined them.
Why did my kids sign up for Norgesskolen? The summer of 2006 both my husband and I were working in Thailand but we wanted our children to spend as much time as possible in Norway. It was by accident that I came across a brochure for Norgesskolen at the Norwegian embassy in Thailand. I took the brochure home and, after much consideration, decided that this was something my family would try. It sounded like a lot of fun – a school where there would be other international children!
I cannot praise Norgesskolen enough for the work that they do – they give my children 3 weeks of fun and learning. The teachers are wonderful, engaged and interested in the children and they make sure that everyone is taken care of. Herman and Peter enjoyed participating in the theater production at the end of the 3 weeks and the camping trip. They also thought it was funny to celebrate Christmas in July!
We returned to Norway in 2008 after living in Thailand for 6 years. That summer Herman and Peter were not at Norgesskolen. But summer 2009 was no question – they wanted to go back to Norgesskolen, their friends and their teachers! They continue to keep in touch with those they met through e-mail and internet.
Astrid Lang-Ree Fann (USA)
We learned about Norgesskolen from the Nordmanns-Forbundet and my parents, Marie and Nils Lang-Ree – who have been involved in Nordmanns-Forbundet both in California and in Norway for many years. Even though my son, Robert, has been in Norway many times on vacation, we thought that it would be great to do something other than visit family and give him a chance to learn some Norwegian language, culture and history. Summer 2006 we visited Norgesskolen. Lisbeth Bø Håverstad showed us around Tomb and answered our questions. When Robert heard that many of the students spoke English, not just Norwegian, he agreed that this was something he would like to try.
Summer 2008 Robert arrived at Norgesskolen. He was nervous but soon found other boys and began playing a couple games of pool. The two first weeks we kept in contact via e-mail. I wrote a few words everyday and, if I was lucky, I received a very short reply! When we arrived at Norgesskolen to pick him up for his ‘free weekend’ we saw that he was having a wonderful time! He had met lots of kids from around the world. He talked about Norgesskolen constantly that weekend. His only complaint was the food. It wasn’t what he was used to but he always managed to find something he liked – such as ice cream after lunch! He even learned to use a washing machine and wanted to do his own laundry! After his weekend with us, he was ready to go back for the last week of Norgesskolen. The students were putting a play together and he was involved in making the set – something he found to be lots of fun.
The last day was tough. Robert had already decided that he would be back for Norgesskolen 2009. He learned some Norwegian and he understands more than he can speak. When I asked him what he liked best he answered – EVERYTHING! Robert is looking forward to another summer at Tomb!
Christina Hultin Ben Ali(Tunisia)
The fall before the first ever Norgesskolen I received a brochure from the Norwegian Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia. I understood immediately what it was. For many years I had been jealous of my Danish colleagues who had a similiar offer for their children.
When you fall in love you will moved to the end of the world without thinking about the consequences. But when you have children, Norway suddenly feels far away. For me it was important that my children could speak Norwegian just as well as they could speak Arabic or French.
We had lots of Norwegian books and when these got worn out we made up our own stories. We also used videos and other helpful materials. We celebrated Christmas but there was so much more that my native country represents, such as traditions and surroundings that are difficult to explain. I have lived abroad for many years making it even harder. My husband and I, like so many others working abroad, find it difficult to offer our children long periods in Norway at a time. Norgesskolen was the perfect solution. They even pick up the kids at the airport.
Unfortunately for us, Norgesskolen began a little too late. My two oldest had already gone to Norwegian Folk High School. This transition was difficult for them. They had good spoken Norwegian skills but lacked written skills.
But Jamil got the opportunity. He was 14 and could hardly wait to start when he received the e-mail from Lisbeth Bø Håverstad that he had been accepted.
Cell phones weren’t as accessible that first summer and although we had agreed on a time to call, it wasn’t easy to get hold of him the first days. Finally, we received an e-mail and it was so full of enthusiam that we knew we had entrusted our youngest to caring (and fun) people. Jamil wasn’t satisfied with only one year at Norgesskolen so we immediately signed him up for the next summer. When he reached 18 he had to accept that he was too old for another summer at Norgesskolen. This was extremely hard. He chose to continue with Norwegian Folk High School and he felt well prepared to do so.
At Norgesskolen Jamil met many children who were “different” because of their international background, and together they discovered that this is a great privilege. They have two cultures that will always be a part of them. Jamil also improved his written Norwegian and has knowledge of the history, culture and traditions of Norway.
Norgesskolen is demanding, but the schoolwork is combined with fun activities – singing, dancing, theater, excursions and nature. For my family it has been well invested money and now I am waiting for grandchilren so that we can continue the tradition!