Imagine a school of life
TEXT: HØJSKOLERNES HUS | PHOTOS © FOLKEHØJSKOLERNES FORENING DANMARK
Imagine a school without tests, without a curriculum and without grades. A school where you learn simply because you have the desire to learn-a school that gives you the opportunity to learn more about yourself and the world around you. A school not just about teaching and theory, but where the reality of living with one hundred other students and teachers is a vital part of the experience.
We live together, learn together, eat, party, sing, laugh and cry together and we share our stories so that we become a part of each other’s lives. In other words, imagine a school of life.
A folk high school in Denmark is where theory and books lend qualities to the conversations we have with each other, instead of just learning things by heart to pass an exam. It is a school where teachers do not hold the truth to the questions asked, but pursue it together with the students – a school where education is not solely about preparing for a job, but an essential part of being human.
There are 69 folk high schools across Denmark, most of them situated in rural areas or smaller towns, and they are typically named after the local district. Some are quite old, others founded recently. Some are large and can accommodate more than 100 students, while others have room for only 30. Some are well consolidated, others less well off. Some are architectural gems, while most are characterised by stylistic confusion. However, the most important thing about them is not their appearance, but rather their atmosphere. As a teacher once said: “The task of the schools is to create a climate where culture is a reality.”
The Danish folk high schools offer non-formal adult education. Most students are between 18 and 24 years old and the length of a typical stay is four months. You sleep, eat, study and spend your spare time at the school. There are no academic requirements for admittance and there are no exams – but you will get a diploma as proof of your attendance. That, and memories to last a lifetime.
You can also join a folk high school for a short-term stay with a themed event schedule. These are often offered during holidays and include courses intended for families or seniors or dedicated to practising a special craft. There is something for everybody.
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