Føroya Eftirskúla: An immersive experience for adventurous teenagers
By Karin Blak | Photos: Føroya Eftirskúla
Being immersed in local culture and learning to survive on the rocky cliffs of the Faroe Islands are two features of the curriculum at the islands’ only college for teenagers.
Opened in 2020 during the height of COVID-19, Føroya Eftirskúla has successfully established itself as a college for local teenagers, as well as students from Greenland and Denmark. Now, Føroya Eftirskúla is considering opening up to all of the Scandinavian countries.
This Scandinavian ‘eftirskúla’ (college) offers a ten-month experience that encourages the development of independence and responsibility in teenagers. As Pól Arni Holm, headmaster at Føroya Eftirskúla says: “By the time students leave, they have matured and take with them life skills that no classroom can teach them.”
During their stay at Føroya Eftirskúla, students and staff visit all 18 of the Faroe Islands, learning about nature and respecting the – often harsh – weather conditions, while being exposed to the local culture.
The team guides the students in finding the best places to set up camp during the summer months, ensuring safety while building campfires and other essential survival skills, all with an emphasis on building resourceful teenagers, ready to take on adult responsibilities.
Modules with a difference
From cliff climbing and business skills to gaming and cooking, the standard modules are filled with the skills that prepare teenagers for a life of work and study. Standard subjects, such as maths, physics and languages, are optional modules here.
A maritime module is specific to Føroya Eftirskúla, offering skills in fishing, navigation and understanding of the weather at sea, and culminates in a seafaring safety certificate course.
While Faroese is the local language, Danish is commonly spoken at the school. Evening classes in Faroese are available and, as Holm says: “By the end of their stay, it is clear to see that students understand the language.”
Daily duties are part of growing up
The college is an immersive experience in many ways, not least in its daily routines. Everyone takes part in the cleaning, cooking and washing, while the cultural experience includes eating local dishes of mutton, goat and fish.
Holm recognises the important role that nature plays in staying psychologically healthy. “Going out into nature every day has a noticeably positive effect on the mental health of our students,” he says. “This is a course that makes you want to be 16 again!”
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