Learning Norwegian at HiMolde is tougher than ever before. The problem does not stop at the lack of teachers, but also the lack of classes with different levels.
By NANCY LE (text & photo)
This year there is 52 international students signed up for the class in Norwegian; however only 25 seats are available. Marit Viken – the only lecturer teaching foreign students Norwegian at HiMolde – expressed her concern regarding the quality of teaching if the group was to be significantly larger.
«The only solution was adjusting the number of students who could join the class this semester, and Erasmus students – staying in Molde for six months – were top priority. The rest has to wait until next semester», Viken says.
Expensive evening classes
She explains that there is only a basic level class provided and for those wanting to further improve their Norwegian skills, they need to join language classes in town.
However, Norwegian lessons at Molde voksenopplæringsenter costs 6000 kroner for an evening course – running twice a week for three months – a sum few students are willing to pay. Other universities, e.g. in Bergen and Trondheim, they offer classes with different levels for free, thus making international HiMolde graduates less competitive in the job market due to the language barrier.
Meanwhile, there are only a handful of students aware of the Language Café held in Molde public library every Tuesday. It is arranged by a group of retired teachers and nurses and is free for everyone to improve their Norwegian by reading newspaper articles and doing simple grammar exercises.
«We have had students from HiMolde joining us in the past, but currently there is no one», explains Dagny Waagbø, one of the teachers in the café.
«Less students joining might also be because the sessions are during the day, when most students have classes on campus», she says.
Plans for campus café?
In recognition of the demand from international students to practice and develop their Norwegian, ESN Molde has been planning for their own language café on campus.
However, it might require more attention from the university staff to support students learning new languages. Not only international students learning Norwegian, but also for the Norwegians wanting to learn foreign languages (other than English).
Considering HiMoldes highly international student life, with more than 100 international and exchange students being welcomed every year, it is obvious that providing classes teaching students new languages are beneficial. Language skills are always an advantage – both in a future career and certainly when going abroad.