Articles by Global Line participants
These are selected examples from articles written by Global Line participants about their stay at Egmont Højskolen.
Academic life on the Global Line
By Abigal, Ghana
“So far, it has been fun in class and academic work has been excellent”, said Francis, one of the students. The general mood in class is very lively, and lessons involve intense interaction. Students are given different tasks, handling them to the best of their knowledge.
All students are helpful and nice towards each other: “We tease each other and get on each other’s nerves but we are still good friends and love each other” says Abigail, another student. The teachers on the Global Line are very professional, friendly and firm. Global Line is a fantastic idea and must be encouraged because students learn a lot, and through them their organizations can develop.
Thinking “outside the box”
By Aziz, Ghana
“No I don’t agree, Tine” asserted the student to the experienced teacher without even adding her title to her name.
“Okay, what do you think?” the teacher humbly responded; keenly waiting to hear the student’s objection.
This was a common occurrence in the various classes at my “Folk High School”, Egmont Højskolen in Denmark. The students could contradict or challenge the views of their knowledgeable teachers anytime they felt like it, without the teachers feeling attacked. Indeed, the students seemed encouraged to disagree with their teachers and offer alternative opinions, even if they sounded naive. They believe this makes the student think “outside the box”, i.e. challenging existing ways of doing things. This actually extends beyond the school into the family and the general society. It is part of their democratic culture. The system was completely different from what is practised by many institutions in Ghana, where the teacher is assumed to know everything. The last thing a student would ever think of doing is to contradict him or her, especially in class. The teacher must also be feared by his or her students and revered by the students’ parents, many of whom would not dare question his or her methods of teaching. In fact, the teacher seems to be always right, even if he is wrong.
What a culture shock
By Julius, Uganda
Danish culture being totally different from that of the Global Line students, there were a lot of surprises and whispering to one another on whatever happened. “This looked a strange world to live in,” students said to each other. But as time went on, the students started realising that Danish culture is associated with democracy, where everyone does whatever he or she thinks is right.
When it comes to the school’s social life, it is difficult to tell who is a teacher at Egmont Højskolen, because they eat together with the students. In other words, teachers do not have special meals, as in most of the countries where Global Line students come from. This is always noticed by Global Line students. Doing the dishes is compulsory to everyone on duty, whether a teacher or a student. This leaves us with a conflict of mind, because there is a big gap between the teachers and the students in most of the Global Line students’ countries, and teachers cannot do the dishes when the students are there. “All these things in Denmark are because of democracy, where everyone is expected to be equal to each other,” Global Line students conclude regarding Danish culture.
Time consciousness is very important in Denmark. The Danes perceive time as a resource not to be wasted, and they always get annoyed with people who fail to keep time. This is always stressed by Global Line teachers, and you can see on their faces how angry they get with any Global Line student who comes late whenever there is a trip. At times they can drive a long distance even up to where you are going without talking to you. Then some students start blaming the one who came late, and as soon as the one who came late says sorry, then the teachers’ mood changes to normal. But like anyone living with people of a different culture, Global Line students catch up with Danish culture gradually.
The house venture
By Rachael, Uganda
“I was surprised to know that some people are employed to receive other people’s calls. That is to say that, when someone is always busy, he or she can give these people the necessary information and they will start to receive calls on his or her behalf,“ says Babara from Uganda describing the Danish students at the school and their helpers. Some of the Danish students at Egmont can operate a computer even if they don’t have a hand or if their hands are paralysed.
“Back home, I reflected on how people with disability are treated when it comes to employment,” says Babara. “The people we think are not useful can do things which normal people cannot do. We should know that disability is not inability. And because in Denmark they know this and put it in action, they are developed, and there is no big deference between normal and disabled people”.
By Madhav, Nepal
“When I came to Egmont in Denmark, the first three or four days I was very worried and it was very difficult for me to pass the time after classes”, remembers Madhav.
Egmont Højskolen has a sports hall and when Madhav saw that, he became very happy and he played sport games there every day in the afternoon. “I think sport is very very good for the disabled people. Sport is healthy and it is good therapy for all disabled persons”, he says.
How to live with disability in Denmark
By Julius, Uganda
Denmark is a democratic and developed country and it has protected, respected and improved so much on the rights of persons with disabilities by providing a pension as compensation. There is accessibility to most of the public places. Elevators and ramps are used where there are steps in buildings and cars, there are “handicap toilets” and electric wheelchairs are used by those who cannot manage manual ones. Furthermore, there are Braille machines and computers with Jaws for the blind and interpreters for those with speaking and hearing problems.
Every person with disability has a right to have one or more helpers based on their needs. These helpers are paid by the government. Because their rights are protected, people with handicaps live an independent life with access to public services even without depending on their relatives. If Uganda emulates the Danish way of living, the rights of people with disabilities will be improved.
Difference between Nepalese and Danish food
By Humnath, Nepal
This article is made for people from Nepal going to Denmark on the Egmont folk high school. Most Global Line students do not consider the food as a topic which will give them any problems before they go to Denmark, but in reality it can do a lot of harm. Before going, you must be aware that Danish food is totally different from Nepalese food.
In Denmark they have three main meals a day like in Nepal, but the meals are very different from what we know. For breakfast they have bread, but not as we know it. It is brown and hard to eat and all the milk is cold - if you want it warm, you have to heat it up yourself. But they get eggs, juice and different kinds of fruits, which is nice. For lunch they serve cold food again, it seems as though all Danish persons always put some food in the freezer, and when it is time for lunch or dinner, they put it in the oven and eat it. I think bread is the staple food of Danish persons. After two months, I have still not taken to Danish food. At Egmont Højskolen they never use spicy food, because some of the Danish students do not like it.
Another problem related to the cultural difference between Denmark and Nepal is the fact that the cow is not a holy animal in Denmark. It is difficult for me to see how Danish students eat beef, and it is also a concern for me that I might get to eat some of it by accident.
For future Global Line students, I will suggest that you bring some Nepalese food and spices. The school provides a very nice kitchen, which is free for everybody to use. When you come here and everything is new and difficult, you just have to try the local food and take it as a part of the stay.
Starving in the midst of abundant food
The 12-metre long food table in the middle of the dining hall can boast of, among other things, a variety of meat, vegetables, bread, cereals and grains, creams, dairy and fresh fruits. You can try as many kinds of food as you want and eat as much as you want. Anybody who hears or sees this will think that anyone on this planet can at least find something they like here. But you will be surprised that some people are virtually starving in the midst of this plenty.
Most of the dishes are traditional Danish food, which the international students of the Danish folk high school, Egmont Højskolen, find completely different from where they come from. The problem of selecting what to eat from the array of food mostly arises during lunch and dinner, when cold dishes are usually served. In all the home countries of the participants – Ghana, Uganda and Nepal – this would usually be served warm.