Meet Olaf

by Caroline Wong

This year, Bellbrook High School welcomed exchange student Olaf Johansson from Sweden. He answered some questions on his experience at Bellbrook so far and how it compares to life in Sweden.

Full name (First and Last): Carl Olaf Siwe Johansson

Place of Birth: Stockholm, Sweden

Q: How many students are in your high school in Sweden?

A: About 1200

Q: How is high school in Sweden different and/or the same as Bellbrook HS?

A: High school here is less free. Students have less freedom.

Q: Can you compare the classes in America with the classes in Sweden?  Harder?  Easier?

A: Not really…they’re very different.

Q: When did you learn to speak English?

A: Around fourth grade

Q: How big is your family in Sweden?

A: I have four people in my family in Sweden.

Q: When did you come to USA? When are you leaving?

A: I arrived in Chicago on the 14th of July this summer and I expect to leave sometime this June.

Q: Are you homesick?

A: Yes, there are certain things that I do miss; however, I can handle it.

Q: How is the food different?  Do you like American food?  Miss Swedish food?

A: Yes, very different. Food here is much more diverse and generally somewhat more unhealthy than food in Sweden. There are foods that I do miss and I have tried to make them but many of the ingredients are usually hard to come by here.

Q: Why did you want to study abroad in America?

A: Because of the experience. I have always heard stories about people who went to study for a year in the U.S. and figured it sounded like fun.

Q: What is it about American culture do you find interesting?

A: People here do not swear a lot. For example, I’m used to swearing amongst teachers without any repercussions or without someone getting offended…that’s very different here.

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Sweden?

A: Yes, we do celebrate Christmas.

Q: Can you compare how Christmas is celebrated in Sweden versus the US?

A: Yes, it is essentially the same; however, there are some differences, like that in Sweden we celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December and originally an old goat delivered the gifts, just to name a few. Americans are also generally much better at Christmas decoration. A lot of people have tons of lights here whilst most people don’t in Europe and if they do it’s no more than a few sets of lights.