Great changes for exchange students


Justice McWilliams, BHS Journalism

This year BHS has three exchange students: Hugo Santo, Mats Rognstad and Perla Bäckberg. 

“Moving from Sweden to Baldwin was a big difference, It’s a much smaller town coming from the big city, everyone knows each other here and I like it,” junior Perla Bäckberg said. “I thought it was really cool qualifying for state wrestling my first year and knowing nothing about it.”

Exchange programs provide students with an opportunity to study in a different country and environment. They get to experience the history and culture of another country, as well as meeting new friends to enrich their personal development.

“Baldwin is different from Norway, I live right outside of the capital back home, so I’ve moved from around 700,000 people to 5,000 people,” Rognstad said.

Exchange students can experience challenges in a number of areas, including language barriers, academics, and social and cultural differences.

“Being away from my parents and younger sisters is hard when I don’t get to see them everyday as I would back in Sweden,” Bäckberg said. “The Mitchell’s are nice and treat me like I have been here forever. Brianna is now one of my closest friends and has supported me throughout the wrestling season.”  

To undertake student exchange, you must be approved by your home institution, and studies undertaken overseas generally count towards your course back home. 

“One of the really good things about having exchange students in our building is it helps us get an understanding of different cultures,” counselor Reggie Harris said. “We love having exchange students at BHS and it also helps give them a new perspective on our culture.”

The experience of being a foreign exchange student varies widely based on many factors including what country you travel to and how long you stay. Some students travel to a large city, while some are in a small town. 

“Living here is very different, the location and scenery are different,” Santo said. “The words and nouns are hard, the vocabulary is very different. I’m looking forward to having new experiences and trying new things.”