Nordic students immersed in Faroese language and culture

Nordic students immersed in Faroese language and culture
University students from across the Nordic region are taking a special Faroese language course at the University of the Faroe Islands
The Nordic students say it is fascinating to learn about the Faroese language, culture and literature
24.06.2022 - 15:29

Twenty-one students from universities in Greenland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland are attending a summer language course at the Faroese University.

This is a special three-week course, initiated and funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and coordinated by the Faroese university’s faculty of Faroese language & literature.

The course has been held every summer for many years, explains Iben Nyholm Debess, a research assistant at the faculty.

“The objective of the course is to strengthen linguistic ties and general cooperation in the Nordic region, and also to allow students to experience a Nordic university environment outside of their own country of study,” she explains.

“Many of the course participants say that learning about the Faroese language gives them a more nuanced understanding of their own language and its place in the Nordic language tradition.”

This is an intensive full-time course, available at basic and advanced levels, which in addition to language tuition gives the students an insight into Faroese literature, culture and nature.

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“We have seen over the years that the course participants really absorb what they learn here and use it in their further work. Many also return to the Faroes later and create work partnerships with Faroese people,” she says.

“They get a much more intimate experience of our country and culture than regular tourists, and it is clear that this is something they appreciate.”

Debess adds that those who complete the advanced option are usually able to carry a basic conversation in Faroese by the end of the three-week course.

 >> SEE ALSO Financial support for immigrants learning Faroese

KvF’s reporter asked a few of the students about their experience of the summer course.

“I joined this course because I am fascinated by the relation between the west-Norwegian dialect, Icelandic and Faroese,” says Cecilie Bjørndotter Ravnstein from Norway.

Nicholas Borderly, who has a U.S./Italian background but lives in Iceland, recently completed a course in Icelandic as a second language.

“Nordic languages fascinate me, particularly the relation between the Icelandic and the Faroese languages, so this course is perfect for me,” he says.

 >> SEE ALSO More funding needed for teaching Faroese as a second language

Helena Dubois Coitier from France, who lives in Norway, did a basic course in Faroese at the University of Paris.

“This summer course teaches Faroese not only in the classroom but also on walks, which adds a valuable cultural element to the teaching. It’s always best to learn a language in the place where it is actually spoken,” she says.

This year is the third consecutive year that Magnus Green from Sweden applied to this course, and this year his application was finally accepted.

“Unlike most of the Nordic languages which you can access easily, you need to make an active effort to access and learn the Faroese language, and that’s why I was so keen to join this course,” he says.

“It has been great to see the country and to learn about Faroese traditions – I have even participated in Faroese chain dance no less than twice, which was great fun.”


Read the Faroese version of this article here.

More Faroese News in English.

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