Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Integration essential: Norwegian language school Alfaskolen

HPR Abroad | July 1st, 2016

By Logan Harle

Alfaskolen is a private language school in the city of Oslo that is entering its tenth year this coming September. The school teaches a range of students from 18 to over 40 years of age and offers language classes as well as social studies courses.

A professor at Alfaskolen, Lene Ness, said they have students that attend Alfaskolen for different reasons.

“About 90% just come here to learn enough Norwegian to get a job or a raise and then there is 10% who come to learn Norwegian to get citizenship here,” Ness said. “To get citizenship in Norway you have to pass 550 hours of Norwegian lessons and 50 hours of social studies.”

One of Ness’s students, Iveta Parole-Manzano from Latvia, took a year off of work to complete the extensive amount of hours to obtain citizenship in Norway.

“It has been a rollercoaster because at first it was very frustrating and very quick,” Parole-Manzano said. “You usually have three or four years to think about and learn a language, but here it will take me only about a year.”

Not only is the language and history of Norway taught at Alfaskolen, but according to Parole-Manzano, she has also learned the Norwegian mentality, which she finds important in order to be a citizen.

“I feel this school is better for people who come here completely new to the country and want to live here for a long time,” Parole-Manzano said. “We are learning words and how to talk, but at the same time we’re learning about what Norwegians do and what is typical for a Norwegian and that’s pretty cool.”

Many immigrants that are required to take the 600 hours are in Norway on a work visa, but many immigrants are living in Norway through the European Union.

“A lot of immigrants that are here through the European Union are not required or encouraged to apply for citizenship,” Ness said. “They can move wherever they want within the European Union and as long as they get a job and support themselves they can stay there.”

Ness said that the majority of people that come to Norway, but never quite make the effort to learn the language are typically Americans. Not only is it because most Norwegians speak English but Americans and also Australians are not required to take the 600 hours.

“We have certain agreements that have allowed Americans and Australians to only have to take tests to become a citizen,” Ness said. “You just have to take enough hours to pass the tests at a base level. If you can show you passed the test, then you can stay in Norway.”

Since 2014, Alfaskolen has lost many students who attended the school outside of the European Union in countries such as Pakistan, Nepal and India, due to the laws and regulations becoming more strict to gain citizenship or a visa.

Office manager, Fredrik Graff said this is because of the war in Syria, which resulted in many illegal immigrants crossing the border into Norway.

Despite the loss of students from outside the EU, Graff said they have a lot more students attending from Eastern Europe and some Spanish-speaking countries. Alfaskolen will be opening another school in Holland this summer, growing the school internationally.

“We are hoping to have some exchange students attend Alfaskolen in Holland from our school here,” Graff said.

Other languages can be taught upon request at Alfaskolen, according to Graff.

“We have teachers from all over the world so they can do lessons in other languages if needed,” Graff said.

Ness said that not only are her students learning from her about the culture of Norway, but that she is learning a lot from them as well.

“I see Norwegian culture quite differently than everybody else does,” Ness said. Since working here I get all these inputs of Norwegian culture that I never really thought about before.”

Graff agrees with Ness about the learning environment within the school.

“We are always trying to learn, as well as the students,” Graff said. 

Recently in:

By Laura Simmonslaurasimmons2025@u.northwestern.eduSummit Carbon Solutions approached North Dakota land owner Kurt Swensonin August 2021, requesting to lease out Swenson’s land to sequester, or store, carbon dioxide underground…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comExhibit recreates and examines the iconic bar’s legacyThere’s something to be said about a good bar. The really good ones serve as a sort of community living room, bringing folks from all walks…

Saturday, December 10, doors 8pm, show at 9pmThe Aquarium, FargoHeavy fuzz rock straight outta Fargo with Hevvy Swetter and Prediction of the Witch.“Closely related to stoner rock, it tends to focus upon downtuned, heavy guitar.…

By HPR Staffsubmit@hpr1.comOur opinion: How can it be 17 years?It’s hard to believe that Ralph’s has been gone for 17 years. I was lucky enough to experience the tail end of its legacy, though technically I wasn’t old enough…

By Ed Raymondfargogadly@gmail.com A Critical Fact: To Fully Understand a Country, One Must Know Its HistoryWe have state legislatures attempting to prevent pre-schools through universities from teaching the real history of our…

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.comAs someone who’s written a lot of feature stories and press releases, it’s tempting to write something cheesy as a lead for this month’s column. But, instead, this column will actually feature…

By Martin Beckmanbeckmanniscool@gmail.comSpec is a new hardcore band from the Fargo area featuring Josh on guitar, Ethan on vocals, Austin on guitar, Landon on bass and Robby– drummyboy. Spec has been creating waves with their…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.com“Citizenfour” Oscar-winner Laura Poitras profiles photographer and activist Nan Goldin in “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed.” Like its talented subject, the movie cannot be confined to a…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comIf you’ve ever driven down the Enchanted Highway, the 32-mile ribbon of road connecting Regent to Gladstone in western North Dakota, home to the world’s largest salvaged metal sculptures,…

By Jessica M. Hawkesjmhawkes84@gmail.comIt wasn’t long after the founding of the railroad and river town of New Rockford that entertainment venues started to put down their own roots. Its population bolstered by booms of nearby…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comCharlie Berens is a man of many hats. The creator of the “Manitowoc Minute” is a newsman, comedian, writer and musician. We had the opportunity to speak with the Wisconsin native about his new…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…

By John Showalter  john.d.showalter@gmail.comThey sell fentanyl test strips and kits to harm-reduction organizations and…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comPhoto by: Michelle Tait, Memory Makers Old Time PhotographyIn August URL Radio personality Stacy Sturm knew she wanted to do something for Halloween. She tossed around the thought of a Halloween…

By Waylon Hedegaardretiringwithcats@gmail.comFor all those who still decry my departure from the Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christian faith, understand that I will never return. I see the examples you set and want no part of…