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World Education Program - 10 weeks in Drammen

 
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​Complementing high school education studies, World Education Program (WEP) offers students all over the world the opportunity to live and study overseas in the country of your choosing. Lauren Trumbull, Year 11 recently coompleted a 10-week exchange in Drammen, Norway and shares her story with us.

I recently went on a short-term exchange in Norway with the World Education Program. I lived with a volunteer host family, attended Videregående (Vgs) Academic Senior Secondary School, and practiced the Norwegian language.

I arrived in Norway at the beginning of November. I met my host family at the Oslo Lufthavn (airport) and we drove about an hour to home to Drammen, Norway’s beautiful river city.

My host family was a young couple, their eight-year-old boy, ten-year-old girl and their mini schnauzer, Truls. They lived in a little brown house with rose bushes outside and candles in the upstairs windows. There were lots of bikes and skis in the garage and bandy sticks (a bit like ice hockey) resting on the stairs. It was all so incredibly Norwegian!

I arrived on a Friday night, so I had the weekend to settle in and get to know my hosts before heading off to school on the Monday. On Saturday, I went to the big park in the middle of town with my host mum and brother to play frisbee and bond. We did all the housekeeping stuff on Sunday – phone plans, house keys and so on.

You’ve probably heard that Scandinavian public schools are really well-funded, and Drammen Vgs was no exception. Their library alone was a couple of floors, and they had four different fancy gyms. I got lost way too many times in my first few weeks, but luckily my new classmates were always happy to rescue me. I took Norwegian, English, Spanish, Theoretical Maths, Natural Sciences, SOSE and Geography. I noticed that staff and students both had a lot of freedom. Kids could leave campus without signing out, and teachers often organised impromptu excursions to the town centre, the university library or a nearby museum. More than once I spotted someone riding down the hallway on a friend’s shoulders without getting in trouble. School was pretty insane.

We had a two-week break for Christmas, in which my hosts and I travelled through the mountains to West Norway to visit my host mum’s parents. They lived right on the ocean on an island called Bømlo. In Norway, the Christmas is celebrated on the 24th. We celebrated with risgrøt (rice pudding), some classic party games like one-handed clementine-peeling, and a pleasant 6-degree swim. Well, no one else was crazy enough to join me for the last part, but they seemed to thoroughly enjoy spectating. My host bestefar (grandfather) also managed to put a grantre (spruce) through the roof of his poor barn.

I challenged myself to speak mostly Norsk during my stay. My host parents’ English was brilliant, but I really wanted to learn as much of the language as I possibly could. At first, I could understand a fair bit already but couldn’t speak as much as I’d thought I could, but I improved quickly with help from my host parents and school friends. Come the end of my exchange, though, I was understanding almost everything directed at me and practicing longer sentences and different tenses. It helps that Norwegians naturally tend to speak slowly and bluntly, but I was still super proud of my efforts.

I had a truly amazing time in on my exchange in Norway. I made so many amazing memories with my hosts and friends and my language skills improved so much in such a short time. I really encourage my QACI peers to consider going on exchange somewhere, too.

Article written by Lauren Trumbull, Year 11

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Last reviewed 12 February 2020
Last updated 12 February 2020