Sabina and Tom Larsen (Albania)
Thank you very much to all of you nice people who took care of our boys for two weeks! They matured, learned Norwegian and had so much fun. You are skilled and we appreciate very much both the school and the teachers. A nice place for children and young people who want a fun and educational experience of what it is like to be a Norwegian, even of they live abroad.
Øyvind Wilhelmsen (USA)
Thank you very much for giving our grandson an incredibly nice experience. Now he realize why his older brother was so pleased after his stay at Norgesskolen in 2016!
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 like-minded 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 of how a 3 week summer school would go. Since then, Herman and Peter returned for Norgesskolen both in 2007 and 2009. In 2009, their little sister, Solveig, also joined them.
Why did my kids sign up for Norgesskolen? 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. After much consideration, we decided that this was something our family would try. It sounded like a lot of fun – a school where there would be other international children!
I can’t praise Norgesskolen enough for the work that they do – they gave 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, and that summer Herman and Peter did not attend Norgesskolen. But summer 2009 was no question – they wanted to go back to their friends and teachers! They still keep in touch with friends they met through e-mail and internet.
Astrid Lang-Ree Fann (USA)
We learned about Norgesskolen from 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 went for a visit to Norgesskolen. The Director showed us around 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 finally arrived at Norgesskolen. He was nervous, but soon found other boys and began playing a games. 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!
Christina Hultin Ben Ali (Tunisia)
The fall before the first ever Norgesskolen, I received a brochure from the Norwegian Embassy in Tunis. I understood immediately what it was. For many years I had been jealous of my Danish colleagues who had a similar offer for danish children.
When you fall in love, you move 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 were 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; traditions and surroundings that are difficult to explain. Living abroad for many years makes 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 picked up the kids at the airport.
Unfortunately for us, Norgesskolen started up a little too late. My two oldest had already gone to Norwegian Folk High School by then. This transition was difficult for them. They had good oral 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 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 enthusiasm that we knew we had entrusted our youngest to caring (and fun) people. Jamil wasn’t satisfied with just one year at Norgesskolen, so we immediately signed him up for next summer. When he reached 18 he had to accept that he was too old for 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” due to their international background, and together they discovered that this is actually 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 grandchildren so that we can continue the tradition!