If you have never participated at Norgesskolen before, you are probably wondering what it is like. The students at Norgesskolen and their parents know Norgesskolen the best.
Here, you can read about past experiences from both students and parents.
Age: 9 years old
From: Australian-Norwegian living in Abu Dhabi
Participated: Summer 2016
The best memories from Norgesskolen was meeting really nice people and I liked the activities. I liked how Norgesskolen was a fun school and not like mine (boring). I liked going camping and swimming in lakes. I also really liked the show that we did. I learned a little more how to talk, write, and read Norwegian. I liked the mornings when we sang. The part I liked the best is when I got interviewed by NRK. I was really exited! I hope to come back to Norgesskolen, to see all my friends again and have a great time!
Age: 15 years old
From: The Netherlands
Participated: Summer 2016
Three weeks was too short. I had such a fantastic experience that I wish I could have stayed longer. I came to develop my Norwegian, experience Norwegian culture, prepare and eat Norwegian food, try Norwegian outdoor life and of course see the Norwegian world famous serie SKAM! I left with all these experiences and with many fantastic friends for life. I hope everybody comes back again.
Participated: 2006, 2007, 2009
My mom told me about Norgesskolen in the spring of 2006. Both mom and dad were working that summer and Norgesskolen seemed like an interesting alternative. At first I was a bit sceptic to being away from home for so long with people I had never met, but curious as I was my brother Peter and I went to Norgesskolen.
I was positively surprised, it didn’t take many minutes until we got to know some very nice people. Norgesskolen gave many opportunities to meet people at our age and older. The days at Norgesskolen were filled with activities. Cooking, camping and excursions are some of the things we did at Norgesskolen. The Norwegian classes are also very good and I have used Norwegian a lot, especially when we lived in Thailand. At Norgesskolen vi also learned songs, had theatre performances and celebrated both Christmas and the 17th of May. We learned to be true Norwegians.
I also came back to Norgesskolen in 2007 and 2009 (my sister also came in 2009). Every year we got to know new people and catch up with old friends, whom I still keep in touch with via email and facebook. I really hope I can go again next year.
Age: 17 year old
It started early in June when my mom saw an ad for Norgesskolen in the magazine from the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in London. At first I was a bit sceptic because I didnt’t know what it was about. After a lot of nagging from my mom I decided to go, because the school started in July and I had nothing planned, and after all, it couldn’t be that bad.
I didn’t have the highest expectations and I had just pictured an ordinary Norwegian school full of 10 year olds and me being the only 17 year old. I flew from London Heathrow to Oslo Gardermoen, and it was the first time i flew by myself. When I arrived at Gardermoen I saw a large group of people. It appeared to be the group from Norgesskolen. I could see that there were people in all ages and from all parts of the world. When we were in the bus I started talking to two others from England. They told me everything I needed to know about Norgesskolen. It was a great experience for me to meet people who had lived abroad their entire lives, but still had a close connection to Norway. I had always had the feeling that I was the only one who felt like that. But apparently not, because here I found people who had attended the school six years in a row. In the beginning the school focused on “ice-breaking” activities so that we got to know each other. At the end of these activities we all knew each other pretty well. Everyone at Norgesskolen were very helpful towards the new ones, and they made sure everyone felt welcome and included.
During the day we were all in classes. There were different classes as to what level of Norwegian you were on and your age. The Norwegian teaching was very good because they focused on what the class needed the most. In our case it was writing Norwegian, and reading out loud. So every day we practiced different ways to improve. The theme was “Polar History” where we read articles about Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen’s polar expeditions. This made the assignments more interesting. Learning Norwegian in this way we both improved our language and learned more about Norwegian polar history.
After the teaching there were activities for all of us. Some of the activities included crab fishing, football, swimming, camping, kayaking and much more. It wasn’t a second that I was bored because there was always something to do. The leaders were helpful and always made sure everyone had fun. There was one incident I thought I should write about, and that was when I was unlucky one night and the string behind me teeth fell out. This had to be taken care of quick or else my teeth would move. So I talked to the main leader, Lisbeth, and the next day I was at the dentist and it was glued back on.
Norgesskolen for me has been one of the greatest experiences and something I will never forget. I have met friends for life. Even though the people at Norgesskolen are spread all around the world, we keep in touch via internet and I can’t wait to see them again next summer.
Age: 18 years old
Participated: 4 years
Hi! My name is Maïka Skjønsberg, I am half French and half Norwegian and I have attended Norgesskolen four times. I wish I could have been there longer, but apparently I became too old…
I was there when Norgesskolen started. We were about 30 students and together we were like a nice little family. My dad sent me there so that I could learn to write Norwegian and to learn more about Norwegian culture. I have always been speaking Norwegian, but I had never learned to write it. I was probably more occupied with my friends and all the activities than the teaching itself, but if it hadn’t been for Norgesskolen, I wouldn’t have been where I am today… Yes, I learned to write Norwegian! (And even English with my roommate the first year). I passed Bergenstesten (Norwegian proficiency test), and am now in my third year studying International Studies at the University of Oslo.
Norgesskolen gave me much more than just the language; Norgesskolen gave me the taste of being Norwegian. I am happy that I got to celebrate May 17th, and learn the national anthem. I am happy that we went camping in the woods, swam in the cold Norwegian water, grilled hot dogs, ate ice cream, learned the song “jeg er en liten banan”, made waffles, watched “Flåklypa Grand Prix”, memorized “Ibsen, Bjørnson, Kielland, Lie”, felted wool, jogged in the forest, fed the animals, got to see Oslo, were at Aker Brygge, visited the Viking museum and the Vigeland park, went to Eidsvoll, glad that I got to have a “secret friend”, glad that I got to experience the sauna, glad that I got to celebrate Christmas and that I got to see “Nissene på låven”!
I get emotional when I think of all the people I became friends with at Norgesskolen. Claire, Charlotte, Jamil, Ibo, Arturo, Erik, Emil… We were a nice group. I have lost touch with some of them, but I often think about them and what we experienced together over these years are some of the best memories I have. Norgesskolen also gave me my first love, which is a very nice and long story that turned me into who I am today.
For four years of my life, Norgesskolen meant everything to me. As soon as it was over, I thought about next year. I had so many experiences that my “regular” life at home suddenly became… just boring.
What strikes me today is that a lot of the people I met at Norgesskolen have moved to Norway… and that is no coincidence! I remember us talking about it, that later in life we should all meet for a reunion in Oslo. We met up two years ago! Now we live in different parts of Norway. Three of us are even roommates – with Norwegians!
Sabina and Tom (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 if they live abroad.
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 (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.
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.
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!
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!