First of all, I want to thank all of the people who gave me compliments on my presentation! Some have even asked for private lessons in Norwegian swearing. UHS is now aware of how to do things “The Norway Way,” and that’s one of the most important things I have to do here. Not necessarily to teach people how to swear, but to be an ambassador for Norway – to spread knowledge and information, while trying to live as an American.
That’s probably the biggest challenge I have to face here: to represent Norway in the best way possible, but at the same time let go of Norway and experience something new. The point of going on an exchange program isn’t to live in America as a Norwegian, but to live here as an American teenager. This is a problem for a lot of exchange students, and I’m not an exception. Letting go of what’s familiar and comfortable isn’t something humans do by nature.
I don’t think John Green has a crash course titled “How to be an American,” so there’s really no study guide or correct answer to the challenge all exchange students face. I’ve drawn a similarity between this and putting on “shoes.” On the soccer field, I put my cleats on and turn into a monster that kicks the girls more often than the ball. When I visit other places, cultures, and countries, I try to walk the paths their way. In Norway, I usually just walk around in my snow boots because I don’t want to end up with hypothermia.
By wearing these different “shoes” with different intentions and attitudes depending on where I’m, I’ll hopefully understand and learn more. I’m still looking for the perfect pair of shoes to wear in America. Sometimes it may be cowboy boots, other times my pair of Converse may fit the best. Either way, wherever I go, I will hopefully wear the right pair of shoes and the right attitude to go with it. And that’s how I leave my footprints around the world.