Information for foreign language applicants
The Norwegian folk high school
A year at a Norwegian folk high school is a unique opportunity to become a part of
the Norwegian culture, experience Norwegian nature, learn Norwegian language and
participate in exciting social activities along with other young people from
Norway and the rest of the world. This is a year that will stay with you forever!
What is a folk high school?
The first reaction most people have when they hear about Norwegian folk high schools is “I wish I had an opportunity like that!”. However, a few people react with a touch of skepticism. “A school with no tests and no degrees? What’s the point?” is a common refrain. But to characterize folk high schools in such a way is to miss the point.
Folk high schools in brief
Folk high schools are one-year boarding schools offering a variety of exciting non-traditional and non-academic subjects, as well as academic subjects. The idea of folk high schools is learning for life, an opportunity to grow both individually, socially, and academically in small learning communities. All students live on campus in close contact with staff and their fellow students. One important part of the folk high school experience is to form a community, in and out of class.
The whole person
The folk high schools do not grant degrees or conduct exams. They are a supplement to the regular education system, with the aim of nurturing “the whole person”. You develop knowledge in a subject you will make use of every day for the rest of your life: yourself. By taking away the pressure of grades and exams, you learn to motivate yourself. You choose the topics that interest you, for instance outdoor life activities, theatre, music, creative arts, photo, media and communications and international solidarity. At Solborg Folk High school our aims also are to promote a better understanding of the environment, to challenge students to active citizenship, to foster interest in cultural values and to learn about Christianity.
Schools for all people
The term “folk high school” is a literal translation of the Norwegian word folkehøgskole. However, this translation may give you the wrong idea. 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. Students can be any age and can have any level of educational experience. Indeed, these are schools for all people, all “folk”. However, almost all students who attend folk high schools are young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.
The folk high schools are private schools, 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 room, board, study trips, and teaching materials.
If you don´t speak Norwegian
All classes are taught in Norwegian, and we do not offer Norwegian courses. However, nearly every one of the staff and students speak English. It can be hard to join the lessons if you do not understand anything, but at the same time living in a Norwegian-speaking environment gives you great advantage for learning.
The subjects fall into three categories: major subjects, electives and compulsory classes. You choose one major subject and a few electives.
Folk high school, what is it not!
It is important to emphasize that, by law, folk high schools conduct no formal examinations and issue no degrees. After finishing your school year, you will receive a diploma detailing what you have participated in. The folk high school have different courses from the regular education system in Norway.
International students at a folk high school who want to continue to study in Norway do not automatically qualify for enrollment as students in a Norwegian college or university; they must meet the same entry requirements as other international students.
You may find details for the English Application form on the link below.
Stavanger is Norway’s energy capital and elected European Capital of Culture 2008.
It is the centre of the third largest metropolitan area in the country. The city is a charming combination of new and old. Nearby you will find beaches, fjords and mountains.
The city has been characterised by the petroleum industry in the past 30 years and is Norway’s oil capital. A number of major companies in this industry are located in the region, as well as the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. Offshore Northern Seas (ONS), which is one of the world’s largest exhibitions and conferences for the petroleum industry, is held in Stavanger every other year. The petro-maritime industries and the food industry are areas in which substantial commitments are made. The city has both an annual food festival, a gastronomic institute and also provides training in the hotel and restaurant trades at the highest level. Research, higher education and culture are important pillars in Stavanger’s infrastructure. At the same time the city has a lot to offer children and young people. Festivals and events include both the petroleum industry, food from the field to the table, humour, jazz and classical music. Cultural events flourish in a city with a long tradition and history, and with a city centre consisting of small houses and cobblestone streets.
From the astonishing Lysefjord in the east, to the moody North Sea in the west; from Sirevåg village in the south, to Tungenes lighthouse in the north – varied adventures and unforgettable sights await our visitors. Fjords and mountains, a myriad of islands, beaches and polished rockfaces, lighthouses, heather-covered hillsides, raging rivers and cascading waterfalls, golden grain fields, sheep and cows grazing on green pastures, ancient grave mounds and pulsating city life.
Imagine yourself perched on Pulpit Rock, peering down its sheer 600 metres into the blue-green fjord. Or imagine the waves lifting your surfboard into a sense of total flow and freedom.
The sea and the earth – elements that have been the basis for life ever since the first hunter-gatherers arrived just after the Ice Age. Thanks to skilled hands and wise heads, they are still the basis of modern prosperity. Fishing and agriculture, shipping, trade and industry. And culture, mind you – a thriving culture.
Rewarding experiences await you. Imagine a concert under the full moon at Orre, or strolling along the quay in Stavanger during the Food Festival, listening to the din of the crowd, catching a whiff of salty air, and sampling honest food and great produce. Or climbing the stairs of Tungenes lighthouse to face the open sea beyond the edge of Jæren. Or visiting Svartehola, a nine metre deep grotto, where our ancestors found shelter, or the 1400 year old Iron Age farm at Ullandhaug. Or imagine the Viking Age brought back to life all around you.