No(r)way! Arne Grette is taking a gap year

“I don’t speak English very often anymore,” Liberty High School Class of 2019 graduate Arne Grette said.
Instead, he speaks Norwegian.

That’s because Grette decided to take a gap year this year instead of starting his freshman year at Dartmouth. He’s spent the last few months at Valdres Folkehøgskole in Norway, where he has participated in activities such as ice climbing, fjord-kayaking, and navigating a 24 hour solo ski trip.
Folkehøgskole are schools for adults found all over Scandinavia; in countries like Norway and Denmark, it’s common for students to spend a gap year at one of them after graduating from high school. But a Folkehøgskole is very different from the school Liberty students are used to.
“My main class focuses on hiking and ski trips in the mountains, but other people specialize in activities like paragliding or dog-sledding,” Grette said. “There are a lot of cool electives to take like rock-climbing and hockey, things to do during our free time, and no grades or tests.”
The fact that he’s not in a traditional school doesn’t mean Grette isn’t learning; in fact, the opposite is the case.
“While I haven’t been learning in a classroom setting, this year has helped me learn more about leadership and communication. It’s also given me a chance to figure out how to adapt and thrive in a completely different setting than I’m used to, with a new living situation, school, people, and language,” Grette said.
As one of only a few foreigners at Valdres, Grette has been immersed in Norway’s language and culture—but although that might seem a little stressful, Grette’s had the opposite experience.
“I have essentially no stressors in my life anymore, so I’m much more relaxed and am able to just kick back and enjoy every day of the week,” Grette said.
Overall, Grette says that his gap year has done a world of good for him.
“If I had gone directly from high school into my freshman year of college, I would have made the same mistakes I did in high school,” Grette said. “I would have overcommitted myself with academics and extracurriculars, thought too much about my future plans, and not focused enough on doing things just because I like doing them.

Want to read more about Arne’s adventures or follow him on his gap year? Check out his blog: