Waking up in a stranger’s house and walking downstairs to hear a different language. Wondering why on your history test they give you the answers behind the letters A, B, C and D. Wanting to call your parents because you haven’t heard their voice in your ears for a whole month but realizing that it’s 2 AM there. This is the life of a foreign exchange student.
Senior Emma Rosberg is an exchange student here for the school year from a town outside of Stockholm, Sweden. Being an exchange student requires you to stay with a host family with only one visit from your family who would travel from your origin country. While here, she goes to school hangs out with friends and tries to immerse herself into the American culture and way of life.
“I decided I wanted to live and study abroad in the beginning of 9th grade,” Rosberg said. “I knew I wanted to go to a English speaking country, since I wanted to become better in English. I’ve visited the US before as a tourist with my family, so I thought it would be fun to try to live here and be a student in an American school. I wanted to do this for many reasons. Gain experience, learn to speak English more fluently and to get to know people from around the world. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Being an exchange student can come with many challenges and frustrations, but despite this, Rosberg feels that it’s worth moving across the globe.
“Except from all the great experiences, memories and the new friendships I’ve gotten here, I have definitely become a better person,” Rosberg said. “Leaving home and studying abroad forces you to open up your mind and to try new stuff. I’ve learned that things are not bad or wrong – it’s just different depending where you are or where you come from. I’ve learned things here that I could never have learned if I stayed in one place and in one country.”
While being here, she has been immersing herself in the U.S high school culture. She has toured downtown, gone to homecoming, studied for classes and gone to college and high school football games.
“I’ve enjoyed experiencing the football games since the sport is not a big deal in Sweden,” Rosberg said. “I’d never watched a football game before I came here, so it was totally new.”
Back home she likes to be outside riding horses, mountain biking or running as well as taking the metro to go walk around in downtown Stockholm with her friends. She is interested in learning more about history, psychology and Spanish when she gets back home or in university.
“I’m very interested in human behavior and after taking two years of psychology classes in Sweden I’d really like to continue those studies,” Rosberg said. “I’d like to learn more about history because that’s something I’m very interested in, but besides that because I feel it’s useful knowledge of you want to understand the world and different countries and cultures. Spanish because there is such a great joy in knowing languages. It opens so many doors.”
One of the many reasons she decided to come live here was to help expand her knowledge of the English language. According to her, learning a foreign language is one of the best accomplishments you can have.
“Learning foreign languages changes who you are in a very positive way,” Rosberg said. “Many of us have studied foreign languages in school and can relate to the struggle of understanding sentences of words that makes no sense. But when all those words finally makes sense, and you can start writing own sentences and have conversations with people that understand what you’re saying – there is no greater accomplishment. Language makes you a smarter and a more interesting person. It’s important because it helps connecting the world and share endless opportunities.”