A Tapestry of Cultures: Participants of Molde's Language Café unite in a celebration of learning. Foto: Elias Alemayehu

Bridging Cultures: Inside the ten-year story of Molde’s Language Café

In the city of Molde, on Tuesday`s, a diverse gathering blooms within the walls on the fourth floor of the local library. A place where international students and refugees learn Norwegian.

Here retired teachers and eager learners from around the globe come together.  The Language Café this Tuesday had an informativ experience on Saami National Day about the history of the Saami people. Led by a group off retired teachers voluntarily teaching  around 15-20 smiling faces from many different nations the ways of Norway.

Retired teacher and Saami Nils John Nango, teaching Norwegian and saami history to participants. Foto: Elias Alemayehu


Nils John Nango, volunteer teacher embracing Saami heritage. Foto: Elias Alemayehu

Nils John Nango, a retired teacher has been teaching at the café for a year, with a special focus today on Saami National Day. Nils shares, highlighting the importance of cultural education.

— It was a privilege to share about the Saami culture today. Especially being that I am Saami, it made me happy that the students was very receptive, and I received positive feedback, we learned, sang songs and had good conversations, Nango says.

Ramin Ebrahimi (27) (left) , teacher Turid Skovseth (72) (middle), and International exchange students from Molde University keenly learning Norwegian. Foto: Elias Alemayehu

Ramin Ebrahimi, 27, found the Language Café shortly after moving to Norway a year ago, with his wife a masters student at Molde University College.

— We’ve been coming here for about a year and a half. It’s been fantastic for improving my Norwegian, understanding the culture, and making friends, shares Ebrahimi.

Ebrahimi adds his favourite Norwegian phrase:

— Gratulerer med dagen!

Dagny Waagbø, 79, retired teacher turned volunteer, also founding member of Molde`s language Café. Foto: Elias Alemayehu

Dagny Waagbø, a spirited 79-year-old retired teacher, brings her 40 years of experience to the Language Café. Waagbø’s dedication to educating spans from local elementary students to teaching newly arrived adults from across the globe to Norway, many of whom are learning Norwegian for the first time.

— Today I meet two students from Ukraine who has only been here for 2 months, and it’s about more than language; it’s about making friends, and learning them about Molde and Norway, Waagbø adds, highlighting the day’s focus on the Saami people.

— Teaching Norwegian here today is very interesting, because it is the Saami National Day, Waagbø says.

Maryna Chyzhova, enjoys learning Norwegian. Foto: Elias Alemayehu

Maryna Chyzhova, who came to Norway not to long ago from Ukraine, and has newly completed her introductory program in Norway, she turned to the Language Café to improve her Norwegian while awaiting a job course from NAV.

– I’ve been coming here since my program ended 16 months ago. I love it and plan to attend as much as I can, Chyzhova states.

Turid Skovseth (72), volunteer teacher. Foto: Elias Alemayehu

Turid Skovseth, 72, has been a volunteer teacher at the café since the beginning over nine years ago. With a background in teaching various subjects, Turid finds joy in the motivated attendees.

— We’re here and meet mostly adults, some students from the university and others who might not have other opportunities to learn. It’s a bit like school; we start on time, work systematically, and also have free time for conversation, and it is a loot of fun, Skovseth says.

(F.L.) Toby Jenkins (50) From UK, (F.R.) Maryna Chyzhova from Ukraine, Molde. Foto: Elias Alemayehu

Toby Jenkins moved to Norway from the UK to be with his Norwegian wife. He attends the Language Café alongside adult education classes.

— I’ve been here about ten times. It’s a great offering, and I really enjoy coming whenever I can, Toby says, appreciating the café’s contribution in his integration journey.

The Language Café in Molde is a significant community initiative, focusing on the importance of learning and cultural exchange. It serves as a venue where individuals can learn the language and local culture, forge new friendships, and celebrate cultural diversity. The decade long commitment of the teachers volunteering such as Dagny, Turid, Nils, and others alongside the eagerness of learners including Ramin, Maryna, and Toby, seems to cultivate an atmosphere of mutual respect and inquisitiveness.

If you want to know more about Molde`s Language Café see links below:


Molde bibliotek