Klara (mummimamma) wrote in faroe_islands,

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June on the Faroe islands

I'm going to the Faroe islands in June, on the Nordkurs to learn about - well - many things Faroese, language, literature, culture...

Now, I don't know that much about what to see and what not to miss and other cool, strange and interesting things to do. I'll probably have a couple of days to travel around if I feel like it, so at this point I'm just asking for you to tell me everything, anything! about the Faroe islands.
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Try to meet with and hang out with as many Faroese as possible. Also, try to talk to older ppl. You'll find both a very strong, traditional, conservative culture in the Faroes and also a really vivid alternative kinda punk-rock subculture. Try to see and appreciate both.

Travel through the islands as much as you can. See as many rural villeges as you can. Try to understand the traditional fishing and farming basis of the economy here and think for a moment that while the Faroes are still very remote how much more so they were prior to air travel and modern ships.
Thank you!

How easy are the Faroese to approach? I (currently) imagine them as my relatives (Western Norwegian the lot of them), with sheep, and getting into a conversation with random Norwegians is hard!
You're from Norway? Ok I kinda assumed but didn't know. Young people (I am also assuming you're around typical college-aged?) should be easy enough to approach. The population is so small that tourists are, as long as they are Nordic and somewhat culturally-sensitive, welcome new friends.

And yes, most Faroese stem from Western Norway if you go far enough back. The dispute over Nynorsk vs. Bokmål in example is something most Faroese will understand and have some empathy for. It should go without saying, but a big mistake made by some Danes is to be somewhat patronising and thereby put off potential friends in the Faroes. Yes, we all know that København is large and great and grand. Whatever. We'd be there if we cared.

Try to communicate in Faroese if you can but don't be surprised if younger ppl slip the conversation towards English. Most young Faroese prefer Faroese for communicating with others but are used to English as the default language for everything else. Your Enlish and their English should be a better common lanuguage than Danish.

The main thing to remember is that while there are a lot of kinda punk and alt-rock kids, the Faroes overall are the most conservative part of the Nordic nations.
It's been interesting to read your comments for me, too, as I am going to the Faroe Islands for two weeks in August (and needless to say I'm very excited about that!!) . I'm from Italy, but I have lived in Sweden and speak fluent Swedish (+ understand Norwegian and Danish pretty well)- my heart rests in Norden, to be honest... Anyway, I hope that with this background and my knowledge of the Nordic culture I'll also be gladly met by the locals?! So far I've had some contact with people on the Faroe islands through email and phone and they seemed all very kind! I'd like to hear your opinion and/or further comments, though! :)
As much as I love Nordic languages (I speak fluent Faroese, Danish, and Norwegian) I would suggest using English as your common language in the Faroes unless your Faroes or Danish is very good. Most young people speak some English and will be eager to practise it. If you are trying to learn Faroese, by all means practise it and people will be very happy to speak it with you. What I am saying though is that if you are not a native speaker of Danish it's not the best language to use in the Faroes . . . sadly, English is. (The converse applies that if you're a native speaker of Danish, it should be your first language in the Faroese unless approached in English or you know Faroese.)

The situation simply is the Faroese are a proud but pragmatic people: they know that few people outside the islands know their language and while we'd be delighted for more to learn, we know that English is kinda the default universal language right now.

As far as culture is concerned, you seem to know a lot already so you should be fine . . . just remember that while many younger people are rather liberal a lot of older people are much more conservative than their peers in Sweden or Denmark. Issues like Darwinism and homosexuality will spark debates. You kind of have to feel out how someone is about something when first talking with them because even some of the younger generation are very religous and conservative. I've msged Faroese kids on Facebook randomly in Faroese and they will write back with a very heartfelt note but sign it in "your native brother in Christ" or something like that . . . this is the kind of thing I am talking about! Just feel out people's stances on things and don't assume the normal Nordic liberal mindset.

Also, expect everything to be expensive . . . even by Swedish standards.