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Happy girls in an organic vegetable field
Happy farming girls at Fosen Folk School

The Inside Scoop

A BIT ABOUT LIFE AT FOSEN FOLK SCHOOL

By Annika Svorkdal
Student 2017/2018

Dear future Fosen student,

Welcome to our little world. You have found Fosen Folk School and I do not doubt you have started dreaming about the adventures you will have here.

A couple years ago, I was in the exact same position. I grew up in Canada associating the word ‘school’ with rigid structure and academic achievement. But, this school is different. Fosen will challenge your previous understanding of a learning environment. Perhaps you are used to evenings studying for tests or working through assignments.

At folk school, you will be free from the pressure of deadlines. At Fosen, your evenings may be filled instead with trying a new handcraft or socializing around a bonfire.

log house building fosen folk school

I am confident you will fall into a rhythm here. And, the beauty of it is that you get to decide the tempo. The school provides opportunities, workshops, and instructors that can guide you to test new skills. But, at the end of the day, it is you who decides how to make the most of your time here.

This learning environment consists of a physical space to explore skills and a collection of peers who are itching to share the experience with you.

annie catriona picking blueberries

Now we have come to the heart of it all: the people. Fosen is filled with the most wacky and wonderful people. This place attracts students from all walks of life.

Living with such a dynamic group can be intimate and intense. But, I loved it.

I loved the spontaneous outings to the lake and the dance parties in the hallways. I loved the fact that I had traveled seven thousand kilometers and still managed to feel at home around my peers. These humans who were once strangers quickly took up permanent residence in my heart.

But it is no mystery to me why these bonds are so strong. We shared so many sailing trips, sunsets, and hours in the workshop that we became, well, connected. Long story, short: Fosen is a social experience.

There is never a dull moment in a social setting with people from every corner of the earth. Language, identity and worldview add an interesting layer to life at Fosen.

As an international student, everything felt very new. In a whirlwind of brown cheese, Sunday closures and sauna culture it was easy to feel disoriented. Not to mention all the words and conversations that were flying over my head.

lafting fosen folk school

I hopped into this new world with both feet and I would suggest you do the same.

Your peers and teachers can support your transition to life in a new place and speak English with you in the beginning. They can guide you when the new language leaves you confused. They will provide a safe space for you to try new words and fumble your way through sentences.

Allow this notion to keep you curious along the way. Keep trying new sentences, new words, and new skills. Your efforts will pay off, I promise!

You will have the chance to engage in this culture in a unique, authentic way.

annika svorkdal life at fosen

It is also important that you are patient with yourself. Especially at the beginning. There were some hard days where I felt homesick and missed the familiar comforts of Canada. But, I reminded myself that ups and downs are part of the human experience.

And, I set an intention to remain open. Staying open allowed me to say ‘yes’ to all kinds of crazy experiences. “Yes” to holding tools I had never seen before, “yes” to singing louder that I have before and “yes” to a homemade haircut that I didn’t entirely regret.

In summary, you have so much to look forward to! I understand if you are nervous and full of questions. But, I would urge you to say “yes” to a year at Fosen Folk School.

Words cannot explain the Fosen experience, so give it a go and see for yourself.

Good luck & Enjoy
Hilsen Annie
(Student 17/18)

PS: Want to know more about what Fosen life is like? Read some of my diary entries from the first few days at Fosen Folk School here:

Snippets From a Student Journal - Early Days at Fosen Folk School