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What is Folk High School?

A year at a folk high school in Norway gives you a unique opportunity to be part of the Norwegian culture, learn Norwegian language, and participate in an exciting learning community along with other young people from Norway and the rest of the world. 
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 question. 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, sports, music, creative arts, media and communications, just to mention a few. 
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. And in most of the schools, you have to be 18 years old before you start. 

77 schools and many courses
You will have many choices about where to study; there are 77 folk high schools spread throughout Norway. Each school offers a unique curriculum, a program of subjects in keeping with the profile of the school and the qualifications of the staff. Students come from all parts of Norway as well. Diversity in the student body is highly valued. To find a list of all Norwegian folk high schools choose "velg skole" in the left column at this page.

If you don´t speak Norwegian
Most classes are taught in Norwegian. However, many schools will offer Norwegian courses, and nearly every one of the staff and students speak English, which can be of help in the beginning.After this year, you can expect to understand and speak Norwegian reasonably well. The level of proficiency will of course depend on your own efforts, but living in a Norwegian-speaking environment gives you great advantage for learning. At some schools you can choose Norwegian language and culture as a major subject or as an elective. In the latter case you have the opportunity to choose between the other major subjects offered. 

Folk high schools that offers Norwegian language and culture as major subject

No tuition fee
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.

What a year at folk high school does cost

How to apply on a Norwegian folk high school

To apply on a Norwegian folk high school you have to send an application form directly to each of the folk high schools you are interested in.

Read more about how to apply to a Norwegian folk high school.

What folk high schools offer in place of a formal qualification
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.
A school year to remember

After having finished a year at folk high school you are most likely to be glad you grasped this opportunity to experience a year unlike anything else. A year with learning through motivation, challenging yourself in different ways, cooperating with different persons, getting new friends, learning a new language and particularly learning more about yourself.

Take a look at A day at Folk High School