Skogsavis is the e-newsletter of Skogfjorden, the Norwegian Language Village.

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Solveig “Olava” Bjermeland celebrates 19+ years with CLV

Published: October 5, 2018

By Becky 'Annika' Hegstad

We are thrilled to announce the first Norwegian preschool graduate who was recognized this summer as a ten-year Skogfjorden villager! Solveig Olava Bjermeland was in the very first Norwegian preschool pilot program in 2006 in Minneapolis, starting at age three. She graduated from “Barnehage”, and moved on to “Norge Rundt”, our Twin Cities Norwegian program for 4-11 year olds. But she wasn’t done yet!  She also attended Concordia Language Villages Norwegian day camps in the metro, and then returned as a volunteer in Norge Rundt, helping to lead a new generation of young Norwegian villagers.  Now, Olava celebrates ten years as a Skogfjorden villager! Gratulerer, Olava!

Olava then...

Recently, we asked Olava to reflect on her time with Barnehage, Norge Rundt and Skogfjorden.  This “lifer” understands the significance of her time in all of these programs and how it has influenced who she is today.  In her own words…

"Skogfjorden, Barnehage, and Norge Rundt have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was too little to choose Barnehage but I'm glad I went. I am fairly certain we still have crafts around the house from when I was in Barnehage and I definitely remember the flowers that we used to play with after snacks. I don't remember meeting Prinsesse Martha Louise but I do remember playing "Hva er klokka" in the Gymsal.

I love learning Norwegian and would love to go to folkehøgskole in Norway some day. We learn through doing things and not just taking notes. I really enjoy experiential learning like learning language while making waffles or dancing. I feel like I remember the language better and have more fun when I'm doing these things. Someday I would like to teach others Norwegian by working at Skogfjorden.

Norwegian is a great language to learn. I've met many long-term friends through the language and I feel like Norwegian attracts a special kind of person. They are more willing to be invested in activities 100% and they have a curiosity about the things around them. Nobody's "too cool for school." I like being around people who are interested in what they are learning; I wish more people would be more open to doing this.

Olava  (and Tove) now!

All of my life I've been known as either being the person that does circus or the person that learns Norwegian. Both of those things are unusual so people tend to remember that about me. Both of these are such big parts of my life that I can forget that others don't go to circus five days a week or go to Norwegian camp for a month each summer. What do they do with their time???

I leave for Germany in a couple of hours for a three-week circus program. Had it not been for  Norwegian I might not be as comfortable going to another country where the food, language, and traditions are different. I feel like I know enough about being in unfamiliar situations where I don't speak the language (at all) but I trust that I will get along fine and I will learn some interesting things along the way. I think that is the biggest difference immersion has done for me. That's all I have time to write. Now I gotta go finish packing!"

Our Norwegian preschool and elementary programs in Minneapolis are happening now!  Options include parent/child classes (1.5-4 years) and drop-off programs (3-11 years).   Visit our website for more information or to register!