Relaxation, freedom, time, friends, sports, fun, nature, challenges, reading, adventure, snow, sunshine, fresh air – those are some of the impressions from students trying to summarize the Friluftsveka we have just had, in one word.
For five days we had the opportunity to discover the nature surrounding us in a very special way. While half of the first-years went cross-country-skiing in Vangen (Stryn) – blessed with powdery, new snow and sunshine, the other half of the year group had time on campus, to enjoy nature there and connect with friends or to discover new friendships with “… the people I always wanted to drink tea with but didn’t have time to do so”.
For most of us skiing was a new experience but thanks to our very well prepared group-leaders and a suitable group-size the challenge could be easily overcome. Soon we were no longer ‘Group 4’ but ‘The strong interdependent people’ – supporting each other, helping each other to get back up when we fell down, pushing each other to the limits when we were climbing up ‘Bergsetnakken’ – one of the hills – on our skis and enjoying packed lunches on self-made snow-benches. Not only did we learn about ourselves and the people around us, but we also learned about Norway’s nature and how to be prepared for certain outdoor scenarios. We built a snow cave and learned useful facts about avalanches and how to avoid starting them! Although we could have slept in our snow cave, we used the ‘Gapahuk’ – which could be described as ‘a house with one wall missing’– to spend one night outdoors, sleeping in cozy sleeping bags after having a talk around the bonfire we made. That was a very significant experience for most of us – as some really enjoyed it, while others found it very hard to sleep in the cold. But still it will be a memory that we will always have!
All our newly-gained knowledge could then be demonstrated in an interactive group-quiz on skis, before we returned to campus with exhausted bodies, but fresh minds, to then participate in the ‘Winter-Carnival’. These were another two days of relaxation and connecting with more of the first-years. The Høegh had been turned into a cozy ‘hytte’ and we enjoyed playing games, talking, making color mandalas, or making music together. Again there was the possibility to go and discover nature around Flekke, with or without snowshoes.
Looking back on the last five days, my definition of Friluftsliv has become more and more concrete but, however, not complete – because each time you spend time in nature with friends will bring new experiences and new ideas about what Friluftsliv means to you. But one thing is clear: when you are in Norway, take the chance to appreciate its nature whenever you can.
Sara-Estelle (RCN ’17)
Photos by Magnea Johannsdóttir (RCN ’17)
Quotes from students:
“If I had to describe Friluftsveka in one word I would say ‘discovering’. Not only did I discover something new about myself but I also discovered new things about my friends and discovered new people and teachers. But most importantly, I discovered the importance of setting myself new challenges and breaking my limits in order to allow myself to have more adventures like this one.”
Belamy A Toner (Costa Rica RCN ’17)
“In a nutshell, I really experienced the meaning of Friluftsveka: free, life and air during this ski week. It was amazing. Thank you very much for having this ski week.”
Yangzom Dolma (Tibet RCN ’17)
“Having skied before, I was very eager to witness my friends trying for the first time, and I was so impressed by how quickly most of group got the hang of it.”
-Robin Stokke (Norway RCN ’17)
For a selection of photographs from the week, click here.
For news about the inaugural Neil Davis Friluftsliv PBL – click here.