What is Denmark good at? The Folk High School, or what we call in Danish “Højskole.”
Once upon a time (about 150 years ago) there was this guy in Denmark called N.F.S. Gruntvig, who became the ideological father of folk high schools, a.k.a højskoler. So let me explain this term a little bit better because if you are not a native Dane, you might have no idea what this is all about and why. It is such a great experience to be part of the højskole-universe. (I already praised this here.)
Højskole: 1st weird thing!
The first weird thing about folk high school is, that they are not part of the official education in the Danish School system. (Wait, what?) However, they are supported by the Danish government and save for the fact you won’t get an academic certificate after graduation, you will however, leave with a bunch of useful and fun- filled experiences.
Still wondering what the point is then? Well, højskoler are extremely useful if you (like a dozen other people on this Earth) want to try out different fields before applying to a university or other higher education. It is a fantastic idea to do so, especially if one belongs to that group of people who have doubts about: “What you want to be when you grow up?”
There are about 70 folk high schools in Denmark and roughly half of them offer a general structure, with subjects varying between art, sport, media studies, social sciences, lifestyle, health and many others, with the aim to train your body, as well as your mind and prepare and guide you for future decisions within an educational direction. The other half of the højskoler are more focused on a specific area, like music and design, just in case you already have a vague sense of passion for fashion, which needs further direction and development.
Højskole: 2nd weird thing!
When we talk about folk high schools we can basically forget almost everything related to “classic” education norms and habits: including grades and exams! Just try to imagine a place where the “threat” of grading and examination does not exist. There are some rules of course; attendance is 100% mandatory, but no one really has a problem with it, because your motivation and interest is what brought you in the first place to the school and continues to keep you there. There is no rank or hierarchy at a Danish højskole.
Højskole: 3rd weird thing!
Besides studying together, students also live together! (Mmmright!) It is a kind of boarding school, where part of your stay also involves a very active community life. Communal meals and communal parties are just part of an organized micro- universe, that prepares the Danes to be an active member of their society and welfare system.
To be continued!