This summer, thanks to the Principal’s Go Abroad Fund, I had the incredible opportunity to go to Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands, and study Faroese language and culture for three weeks. The programme was provided through the University of the Faroe Islands, which meant that we were lucky to have some of the best teachers and textbooks available on the islands.
Classes consisted of three to five hours of language instruction every day, during which we learned how to introduce ourselves, talk about our likes and dislikes, and discuss things like the weather and the surrounding city. We spent our mornings reading Faroese children’s books, which were used as springboards for understanding basic vocabulary and grammatical concepts. By the end of the trip, we were even picking up and understanding short children’s novels! It was amazing how much we learned in just three weeks.
The afternoons were filled with cultural lectures and excursions. We had one of the top chefs in the Faroe Islands come in and speak to us about traditional Faroese cuisine, we had a lecturer in Faroese literature discuss with us the implications of Danish-Faroese bilingualism on the reading and writing habits of the country, and we even got to take a trip to the National Art Museum, where the curator of the Museum took us on a personalized, guided tour of the exhibits.
Finally, our evenings and weekends were ours to do whatever we pleased with them. I was lucky enough to have made a group of close friends from all over the world, and we spent our free time exploring Tórshavn, watching U-16 football matches, and visiting some of the other islands that make up the archipelago (including the famous islands of the Puffins, Mykines). I even got to spend my 20th birthday following a herd of sheep up a mountain and swimming in a lake in warm 12°C weather.
Before I left for the Faroes, I was very nervous indeed. I was worried that my lack of studying a Scandinavian language would hinder my ability to pick up Faroese as quickly as my classmates, many of whom I knew would be students of Scandinavian Studies. I was also worried that I wouldn’t get along with my classmates, and that it would make for a very long three weeks.
In the end, however, I made many good friends, many of whom I still talk to regularly. I was also able to make decent headway with my Faroese, despite not having studied any Scandinavian languages before this trip (and my Danish comprehension has improved, as well!).
All in all, I am extremely grateful to the Principal’s Go Abroad Fund for helping me spend an unforgettable summer in the Faroe islands filled with language learning and laughs.