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Skandinaviska Institutet

Matilda, North Dakota

What were your reasons for applying as an High School Student?:
I felt that I wanted to expand my perspective and get an insight in the American culture and at the same time improve my English.

Tell us about your host family, siblings or no siblings, relatives to the family:
In my host family there are seven members, however not all of the five children (four boys and one girl) live at home. There’s a mum and dad, and two boys living in the house. The oldest is in the same age as I and the the other is two years younger than I. My host sister are three years older than I and study her last year at college while another brother soon is going begin more studies. The oldest brother works. There’re two exchange students in my host family, myself and a boy from Kyrgyzstan, he’s two years younger than I. In the family I’ve also met grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts, friends, and acquaintances. My family also has one cat and two dogs.

Describe the area you live in:
I live in a small community on the countryside where agriculture is very important. My host family live on a ranch outside town, it takes 20 min by car in to town. In the town there are the school, a grocery store, a pizza store, a café, a few churches, a community hall, a small swimming pool open in the summer, a library, and a cinema.

What does a typical day look like, how do you get to school and home after school?
Most of the times, I go by bus to and from school. The schedule is the same every day and there are seven periods about 40 mins long and 20 mins lunch. School starts 8:25 am and ends 3:20 pm every day, there can be late starts sometimes. Sometimes it’s possible that my host brothers or any other family member are driving in. For drama, it’s getting up early to rehearse at 6:00 am. After school, if there’re no sports practices, I do some homework if I have and then all children have chores to do, both on the ranch and in the kitchen.

Did you get help to choose subjects in school. Which subjects did you have to take. Which other subjects have you chosen. Are you happy with your choices:
The only subjects I have to take are History and PDP (social science), so for the rest I could choose what I liked. I read an grammar/writing class and multimedia class in the autumn along with English, History, PDP, Spanish, and band. Now in the spring I take English, History, PDP, Spanish, Desktop Publishing (make the yearbook), Health, and band.

Tell us about any activities you participating in or are planning to join. Give examples of what is offered:
In the autumn, I participated in cross-country (long-distance running) and now in the spring I’m going to be in track and field. I’m also in drama. Besides those activities, there are also basketball, volleyball, football, and golf. There’s also an organization called FFA (Future Farmers of America)

Tell us about any travelling you have done or are planning to do:
My family is very into sports so when my host brothers played football we went to all their games in different towns. Also went to South Dakota and Minnesota to see football games. Now in the spring I’ll also go on a trip to Washington, DC and New York arranged by an organization called Close-Up.

What have you gained during the year?
I’ve learned the importance of being brave and positive,  to not letting negative things affect you, to try again, to do the best of a situation, and to say yes to the possibilities you get.

What has been the best experience so far?
So far, the best experiences have been going to one particular football game in Minnesota where I saw an awesome marching band playing, to run cross-country, and play at a music festival.

How have you been spending you pocket Money?
I’ve been spending my pocket money on things I’ve felt necessary, like school lunch and clothes.

What has been most challenging so far?
So far, it has been the most challenging to get used to that there’re more strict and more rules in America compared to Sweden. The social life, social codes, and habits are different too. The long distances and no public transportation make that you have to depend on someone all the time to go somewhere, and to get close friends.

Write anything you can think of that you feel could be of help to students coming after you?:
The lifestyle is different compared to Sweden, so be prepared to learn to do things fast. It’s better to be safe than sorry – ask about any doubts. If you live in a small area far from town, make sure to always plan everything ahead. Keep in touch with your host family all the time and always let them know what you’re doing.

Write a short message to exchange students thinking about joining Skandinaviska Institutet / ASSE:s High School program:
I encourage you to join Skandinaviska Institutet / ASSE:s High School program to get to know a new culture as well as yourself more while you’re improving your English.