Student Spotlight

The Half-Way Mark

marietutuI don’t know how long I’ve dreamed about going abroad. I’d seen so many movies and TV-series from America and heard of other exchange students going, that I couldn’t wait to travel myself. Was High School really like in the movies? What about School Spirit? Or School Sports? Did Americans really eat that much fast food? Are all Americans religious? I had so many questions and expectations about this new country, I couldn’t wait to get answers!

I remember the day I got my host family. It was March 31 and I was in my room. My phone rang, but I didn’t recognize the number. I considered ignoring it, but then I felt bad so I picked it up and answered.

mariewelcome“Hi, this is Marie”
“Hi, Marie. This is Jonathan and I wanted to inform you that you’ve got a host family!”

I was so happy and excited and squeezed him like a sponge for details. Where they lived, if they had any children, pets, my school, as much as I could remember to ask. When I hung up the phone I went screaming down to the living room and told everyone there what had just happened. I would be ready to leave the next day, but I patiently had to wait 5 more months.

I was never actually nervous for meeting my host family the first time. But I was really excited. After the jet-lag from Norway to New York (I stayed there for a couple of days on camp) and then from New York to Washington I was pretty tired when I finally arrived at the airport. But after a little searching I found them and I knew I had made the right choice coming here.

My first momarierunnths here in the US have been amazing. I’ve seen, done and experienced so many new things. Everything from yellow school buses to a fast food restaurant at every corner to baseball and American football on TV 24/7. There’s so many things that in the beginning were so new and different that now feel totally normal to me. I no longer think about schoolmates my age and younger driving around with their own license or having the same schedule at school every day. Even though I mostly think and dream in English now, I still catch myself throwing some Norwegian words into my sentences if I’m excited. Don’t know how many weird looks I’ve got from people not understanding what I’m talking about…

School is very much like I expected it to be. The halls are decorated in the school colors (in my case: blue and white), people dress up in bulldog sweaters and blue-and-white tutus, the Football games on Fridays, school sports every day after school and so much more. I first tried out for Volleyball, but when I found out it wasn’t the sport for me I switched over to Cross-country, and loved it! That’s where I have some of my best friends. Running, sweating, pushing ourselves and laughing together made us close and the girls on the team all get along well.

Sitting here during Christmas break I can’t believe how fast the time has gone! It was fun being here during the Holidays; I got my own stocking, we opened the presents on Christmas Day and stuffed ourselves with good food later. The new year has just begun and I’m ready for whatever stuff this adventure has to offer. If you’re considering and have the opportunity to go abroad I would totally recommend it! This is a once in a lifetime thing and you will not regret it. I am so happy I went, it’s an adventure I’ll never forget.

— Marie from Norway