May 14, 2014 — Some students have to make lengthy bus rides or car trips to attend classes at East Carter High School but Eva Olsen had to cross an ocean.
Olsen is a Norwegian exchange student who came to the United States to improve her English and see more of the world.
The differences between Kentucky and home were apparent from the start.
“It’s actually much easier to get to know people in America. We don’t really talk much to strangers where I’m from but here it’s no big deal to have a conversation with someone you’ve never met before,” she said. “It’s much colder in Norway, too. Our winters are six months long.”
Adapting to the weather wasn’t the only adjustment she had to make, though.
Olsen also had to transition from a Norwegian diet heavy in seafood to southern style home cooking.
“I’ve eaten biscuits and gravy separately, but I’ve never had the two of them together,” she said. “I was a little hesitant at first to try the combination but by the end of the meal I was hooked.”
Olsen is a senior at East Carter but she won’t be finished with her studies when she goes back to Norway.
Students finish high school there in 13 years, as opposed to the 12-year system used in the United States.
Even though she’ll have another year of school when she returns, she jumped at the opportunity to enter the exchange program when it came her way.
“I’m from a pretty small place. Everyone knows everyone and our life experiences are so similar. I wanted the chance to see more of the world and broaden my horizons,” she said.
In addition to seeing more of Kentucky, Olsen has had the chance to travel throughout the tri-state region during her stay.