The International People’s College in Denmark offers a perfect combo of globe-trotting and enlightenment. If one has finished high school and still doesn’t know what one wants to do next, or one needs a break from one’s work-life to get new knowledge and re-evaluate what one wishes to do, International People’s College is a perfect choice. At International People’s College, one can dive into nearly 40 different subjects and classes and gain new skills, nurture your personal growth, and find fresh goals.
A Folk High School in Denmark
The International People’s College is situated in Helsingør in Denmark and welcomes students from around the world in different age groups. Here, students are judged on their skillsets rather than a formal education system of grades and examinations. The school strongly emphasizes a general mind-broadening approach to learning and is much more than an education. It is a life-changing experience.
Folk High Schools in Denmark can be traced back to the middle of the 19th century when they were set up for rural communities. Today there are 69 Folk High Schools in Denmark. Many specialize in different subjects from art to music to filmmaking to journalism. International People’s College is unique as the only fully international Folk High School in Denmark, with all classes and activities in English and its focus on global studies and the world. It is a boarding school, so the students sleep, eat, and study at the school. The group of students at International People’s College changes every term and there are usually 90-100 students coming from around 30 different countries. The average age is approximately 24 years, but regularly they have a few students in the retirement age, which is always considered a huge bonus at the school.
The Dedicated Personality of the Folk High School
With a buzzing campus, students live and discover themselves together with other students. Søren Launbjerg is the Principal of this prestigious college. He believes that it is an extraordinary experience to live and learn with people from the whole world. “It provides you with a unique chance to explore a wide range of different cultures – and to learn about yourself. How do you think, feel, believe and act differently from people in other parts of the world – and how are we all alike?” says Launbjerg. According to him, all students should try to figure out what makes themselves happy and work towards achieving it.
Mission and Vision
International People’s College in particular work with active global citizenship and is encouraging students to take an active part in the development of the world – as well as the local community. The students actively participate in numerous activities at campus and the outer world. This proves as an ideal guide for the International People’s College mission in educating tolerant, active citizens of the world. “Where you find out that the most important things in life cannot be taught – they have to be experienced,” says Launbjerg.
International People’s College adheres to a set of core values which can be summed up in six words of equal importance: respect, equality, democracy, peace, empathy and sustainability. The core values are taken into consideration in the classes on offer and in the everyday life at the Folk High School.
International since 1921 – history of International People’s College
International People’s College was founded in 1921 as a peace initiative. The idea was to bring people together from different nations and walks of life to study and live together in the manner of a Danish Folk High School. Like this people from various backgrounds from around the world came together and discoved that they had the common instincts that are goodness and humanity, and like that they would stop fighting each other and understand each other instead, and that would prevent future wars and conflicts.
Global Studies are the main focus of the International People’s College in Denmark, and gives the students the opportunity to entangle with an education along with experiencing the cultural and global development. This will eventually improve studetns’ cultural and communicational skills and help them interact proficiently internationally.
“Learning at International People’s College is meant to challenge, stimulate, and educate you – not only will you discover what you are good at but also what makes you happy. You will learn how to use your unique skills in the best way possible. At International People’s College, we believe that knowledge is many things and that it is acquired in many different ways. This is reflected in the offering of a wide selection of classes ranging from those with an academic focus to a practical one,” expresses Launbjerg.
As there is no examination and grading systems, the motivation to learn completely relies on the students and it is based on their personal interest and responsibility. The general belief at International People’s College is that it is important to have fun in order to learn effectively!
Unique and Extraordinary Programs
Students can create their own schedule from a curriculum with nealy 40 different subjects and classes. Launbjerg mentions “Every student must reach a minimum of 28 lessons a week – but trust us, the biggest problem will be which ones to eliminate.”
Few interesting courses that students opt for:
- Sustainable Gardening
- African Drum and Dance
- Band playing
- World Cinema
- Human Rights
- Political Philosophy
- English Language
- Religion and Culture
- Development Management
- Gender and Sexuality
- Peace and Conflict Studies
- Environmental Studies
- Regional Studies (African Studies, Approaching the Middle East, US Studies, Understanding Europe)
- Theories of Non Violence
- Arts and Crafts
- Movie Making
- Creative Writing
- Danish Language
Students’ motivation for joining International People’s College varies. Some come because of an interest in international society and culture, others want to improve their language skills, others are keen on discovering more about developmental and NGO work or want to develop certain personal and professional skills while they experience the world in Denmark.
Along with a profound career, International People’s College helps the students in personal growth and development. At International People’s College, you meet the world, which enables you to not only navigate in it but also to find your own place in it. Launbjerg says, “Classes are intended to guide and further the development of all who attend the school. At International People’s College, your assumptions will be challenged, and you will re-examine what you know or thought you knew. You will grow as a human being.”
Life at International People’s College
The everyday life at the Folk High School in Denmark revolves around the classes chosen, but there will be plenty of other activities going on. Both organized events and activities happen just spontaneously. One thing is for sure – you will live together with people that are very different from yourself. People with different backgrounds, lifestyles, ideas, and points of view. People from the opposite side of the planet.
Launbjerg remarks, “A student from India might show you how to make authentic Dahl, a movie enthusiast can show you his or her favorite Vietnamese film or some students might play Ping-Pong in the gym… while others are doing yoga in the backyard of our Folk High School. On the weekends some students like to go clubbing in Copenhagen, while others are ‘binging’ Netflix”. Some events, like for example Cultural Evenings or class excursions take place in the weekends, but students will have a lot of time to do exactly what they love to do.
One of the students of International People’s College from Philippines, Bugsy Nolasco elobartes the journey as,“I was studying Media Science but did not feel I was on the right track. I had no idea what else to do. Should I take a leave? A gap year? And do what afterwards? I went to International People’s College since I have always been interested in international relations and cultural communication. I wanted to test if I should change my path in these directions. I expected to learn a lot, but I had no idea I would change as a person! At International People’s College I learned so much about myself and I learned that studying can be joyful and fun. More than that I now have friends all over the world. Now I am pursuing a career within psychoanalyses, and I am so grateful for my time at International People’s College. It changed my life!”
Students Words of Trust
“I have always been passionate about starting as an NGO back home, and I wanted to learn more about that at International People’s College. I developed these goals with excellent classes, but the entire stay at International People’s College made me grow as a person!” – Amandeep Gill, India, Doctor
“International People’s College brought me more than I had ever expected! I had a chance to live a different life and to experience a truly intercultural environment… and the most beautiful thing for me is that I now have good friends from all over the world” – Tada Lee, Vietnam, Journalist