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“I have never been as nervous in my entire life”

Tue Dec 05 2017

Linnéa decided that she wanted to experience something new, so she left Sweden for a high school year in USA.

Name: Linnéa Andersson
Age: 16
Hometown: Frillesas, Sweden
Exchange in: Wisconsin, USA

Linnéa, tell us about your high school year!

Of course! I spent my high school year in a small town in Wisconsin, USA in 2009. I cannot believe how I dared to move abroad as a 16 year old, but I did. Once I had gotten the idea in my head I knew that this was what I wanted to do, but I have never been as nervous as I was before the move. I do not know who I would be today if I had not done it. I still keep in touch with the friends I made there, and I visit my host family as often as I can. I moved back home as a more independent person, and that is an incredible feeling.

How did you and your host family celebrate?

My host family consisted of my host mother and my four host sisters. In the beginning of December, we bought a Christmas tree and decorated it, which was a lot earlier than I am used to in Sweden. The rest of the month was pretty much everything I expected of an American Christmas. Lots of Christmas cookies, Christmas concerts at my high school and traditional Christmas movies with the family. We opened presents on Christmas Day morning and later that day we celebrated together with more relatives, and of course we ate lots of delicious food.

What was the biggest difference between the American and the Swedish Christmas?

Probably that Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Day in the United States instead of on Christmas Eve. Also, the fact that Americans decorate a lot more than Swedes do. It was not uncommon to see lawns with inflatable Santa Clauses, Christmas lightings to infinity and sledges led by flashing reindeers.

Did you bring any of the traditions with you back home?

I think I brought the American attitude “more is more” with me back home. I love Christmas and I want to play Christmas music, bake cookies and decorate as early as possible. Although, I have not yet bought an inflatable Santa Claus.

Thank you Linnéa for sharing your story! Read more student stories to get inspired.