Choosing a højskole
A transformative educational experience.
Text: Skyler Bentley Hall
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to study at a Højskole in Denmark? What is the attraction to this style of learning and teaching? Twenty-year-old Danish resident Mikkel Larsson offers a personal touch by sharing some inspirational lessons learned. His dream was to become a successful furniture designer, but life had other plans. Read on to hear about Mikkel's transformative educational journey.
Which højskole did you choose and why?
I studied at Krabbesholm Højskole for one semester, which was the most significant five months of my life. The school is in Skive, a small town in Jutland and is a magical place. Krabbesholm forest is your backyard and can be seen from some of the classroom's overhead windows. Initially, I intended to return to school and study design after working as a warehouse employee after my gap year. I had heard about the Højskole from a family member and thought it looked interesting. I went for a visit with no intention of enrolling, but I changed my mind as soon as I arrived! I chose to study design, but the school also offers fine arts, graphic design, and architecture's most popular curriculum. I thoroughly enjoyed the course as we explored many different types of design: fashion, product, furniture, the study of obscure design and much more.
What is a significant project you worked on?
During the course, we had guest teachers from all over the country who brought us different exercises to improve our creative skills. We had a new project every week. The most memorable one was a zero-waste project where we had to up-cycle old sleeping bags into garments. It taught me how to think more sustainably. As a result, I am now working as a Chef in Amager. I use sustainability in my cooking and consider how to utilise every vegetable part without letting anything go to waste."
"The idea of højskole isn't just to get a better understanding of whatever you are studying, but also to mature as a person."
What were some memorable takeaways?
I learned quite a lot at Krabbesholm Højskole from a design perspective and increased my self-awareness. I had very low self-esteem and social anxiety when arriving at Højskole at nineteen years of age, but that changed very quickly. On the first day, all students participated in games and exercises so we could get to know each other. This included line dancing and other fun activities. A little transgressive, but very valuable for me personally. I was forced to be around people all the time. You are in this isolated bubble where you almost forget there is an outside world - it's hard to describe. The way we were taught was very different from the IB curriculum I was used to. We had new projects weekly, and there were no grades. Instead, we had rounds of feedback after every project from teachers and students. This teaching style made me more focused and motivated as there was no pressure. I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted without being judged. The only requirement was for me to show up to class, which they take very seriously.
How has your experience contributed to who you are today?
I feel a lot more confident. If I had to give any tips for someone who would consider enrolling, try asking the school for a virtual tour or go visit if you have the opportunity. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has just graduated high school. The mental stress of finals can be overwhelming, and this is an opportunity to let your mind rest while doing what you are interested in. The idea of Højskole isn't just to get a better understanding of whatever you are studying, but also to mature as a person, and I think that is something we can all benefit from. I am now working full-time at a restaurant two years later, and I can't wait to start Culinary School in September. I am very excited about what the future has in store for me. My goal in life is to make people happy - it always has been. As long as I have the privilege to serve people good food and put a smile on their faces, I really don't need anything else in life.