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Half Way Done With Study Abroad: Photo Gallery Update

March 18, 2011

Hello, everyone! I apologize for not updating in a long time. Things have become considerably busier at Høgskolen i Telemark. While most of the students have spent the first two months doing very little homework, we now have many papers presentations, and exams just around the corner.

In addition to school work, the annual International Day was held at the college last week. Each country/state put together a display of photos, food, and souvenirs from their homeland.

I also had the opportunity to visit REC, a solar company that manufactures solar wafers, in Skien last Tuesday. Skien is the largest city in Telemark, so I included a few photos from my trip there.

Because I have been missing a lot of familiar foods, I have been trying my hand at cooking and baking. I have come up with some pretty delicious foods including bagels and homemade pizza…all made from scratch!

Today my class went to the Bø Immigration Center to talk with refugees who are being integrated into Norwegian society. Most did not speak English, so I had to use what little skills I have in Norwegian to communicate with the students there. It was a great experience, because I got to talk with Afghanis and Libyans who have been displaced from their home countries due to political unrest. They have a lot of amazing stories, and it was great to share our experiences of living in Norway.

After our trip to the immigration center, we went to the Sagaboll Folkehøgskole (Sagaboll Folk High School). Here is a quick definition of a folk high school (note that this is the direct translation. It is a school for “people,” but it is not a high school):

Folk high schools (DanishFolkehøjskole;Finnishkansanopisto and työväenopisto or kansalaisopisto;German:Volkshochschule and Heimvolkshochschule;NorwegianFolkehøgskole;SwedishFolkhögskola) are institutions for adult education that generally do not grant academic degrees, though certain courses might exist leading to that goal. They are most commonly found in Nordic countries and in Germany and Austria. The concept originally came from the Danish writer, poet, philosopher and pastor Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig (1783–1872). Grundtvig was inspired by the Marquis de Condorcet’sReport on the General Organization of Public Instruction which was written in 1792 during the French Revolution. The Revolution had a direct influence on popular education in France. (Wikipedia)

I really enjoyed visiting Sagaboll. I was skeptical when I first read about these schools…thinking that they were a waste of time, but after visiting the school and seeing how much fun the students were having, I changed my mind. I think that these schools are great for psychological health, and they seem to really promote togetherness, friendship, and other core values that are necessary life skills.

Student typically enter a folk high school between high school and college. It is a “gap year” that allows students to transition into adulthood without the pressure of exams and papers. Even better, tuition is free for Norwegian students. They only pay room and board.

I hope you enjoy the pictures, and I apologize for this brief, long overdue post. Although I had initially planned on writing some reflections about passing the “half way mark” of study abroad, time seems to have slipped away. Now I’m rushing to pack because I leave for Poland tomorrow!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Mom permalink
    March 18, 2011 6:53 pm

    Enjoyed all the pictures. Thanks for sharing. Looks like you had fun on International Day. What did people think when they saw the cheeseheads?!! Skien looked like a lovely place. It will be nice when you can see some sights when the snow melts! Hopefully that will be sooner than later. And the folk high school. A very neat concept. What was the average age of the students. That glassware was beautiful. Do students just attend a year or what? What is the enrollment?

    I wish you a wonderful visit to Gdansk. Your Great Grandparents Joe and Rose Cichoszewski would be thrilled!

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