Scan Magazine, Issue 82, November 2015

Page 40

Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Education in Denmark

Speak English like never before The ability to speak English opens up doors for travelling and working abroad. Therefore, Skovlund Efterskole prides itself on being Denmark’s leading boarding school when it comes to learning Cambridge English. By Stephanie Brink Hark | Photos: Skovlund Efterskole

In 2003, Skovlund Efterskole became the first boarding school to specialise in Cambridge English. Since then the school has only grown bigger and more popular among its students, as has its courses in English. Today the school offers four different levels of Cambridge English studies. “We always test our students to see how well they speak English. But no matter at what level they start, they can easily improve during the year and move upwards. In fact, most students do,” explains Hanne Gonzalez, principal at Skovlund Efterskole. In addition, the school offers its students an international tenth grade

where all lessons are in English, taught by native English speakers. Right now the classes are preparing for a two-week trip to South Africa, for the fourth year in a row. “The students always learn so much about the culture and how people live there. They get to experience firsthand some of the things they are reading about during the year, and it really moves them,” says Gonzalez. A trip like this fosters very close bonds between the students, and this is only enhanced throughout the year. Skovlund makes sure to give students the chance to mix with different people at different times: they eat with some, share

a room with others and play football, music or bake cakes with others still. The principal smiles: “Students are often surprised that they know each other so well after only the first three months.”

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A folk high school for everyone – disabled or not Known as Denmark’s most inclusive folk high school, Egmont Højskolen houses both disabled and non-disabled students who come to learn, socialise, practise sports, party and enjoy the special experience of staying at a Danish ‘højskole’ – side by side. By Sanne Wass | Photos: Egmont Højskolen

“My father’s dream when he founded Egmont Højskolen was for people with disabilities and people without disabilities to work together, learn together and understand each other,” 40 | Issue 82 | November 2015

says Ole Lauth, who is today principal at the school. It was back in 1947 that Lauth’s parents met at a Danish folk high school during a stay that inspired Lauth’s father, who was himself disabled, to start Egmont Højskolen in 1956 with a special obligation towards people with disabilities. This obligation still remains. Of the 200 current students, 80 have a disability. Whether they choose music classes, sailing, sports or media studies, all students are equal. And the rooms, sports centre and swimming facilities are all specially designed to suit the needs of people with

disabilities. “What we say is this: ‘We don’t care about your diagnosis. What’s important is that you are now a student along with everyone else.’ It means that they go from being a disabled person to being a real person,” Lauth insists. Outside teaching hours, the non-disabled students assist the students who need help. Most of them have chosen Egmont Højskolen to challenge themselves and find out what they want to do in the future. “It may be difficult at first, but they learn to understand what it means to be disabled, and it contributes to their personal development,” Lauth says. “I believe we have realised my father’s dream.” For more information, please visit:

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