My time in America

Marthe Jatun, Staff Writer

I come from a small town on the west coast of Norway with about 40,000 inhabitants, so living in a suburb in Seattle is very different. Being an exchange student has been my dream for so long, and finally I am here: Liberty High School in Renton, Washington.

When I got my place documents, after a long 10 months procedure of applications and waiting, I didn’t know anything about Washington. The only thing I knew was that it was similar to Norway in climate. That was kind of disappointing in the beginning, because I really wanted to go to a warm place like California or Texas, living by the beach or living n a real American ranch with horses and hot cowboys. But I am really happy this is has come to be my second home.

The first thing I noticed was that everything is much bigger than in Norway: the cities, the roads, the malls, the portions of the food. While Washington state has around 6 million inhabitants, Norway has 5 million, and my hometown could probably fit twice in the Husky Stadium

My first impression of school was much better than what I expected. I didn’t think that people would be so open to me on the first day of school, and I didn’t think that I would make so many friends so fast. I thought cheerleaders would be catty and would walk together all the time in their cheer-outfits trying to look superior, and that the main cheerleader would be dating the star football quarterback, like in the movies.

I also thought people would judge you a lot based on what you wear and how you look. I’m actually really impressed that no one cares, and that people wear whatever is comfortable. In Norway you feel the pressure of being well-dressed all the time. People are so open with everyone, and so inclusive here and I notice that outside of school as well. In Norway, we would never start a conversation with a stranger we just met on the street like people do here.

I’ve also noticed that Americans are very proud of their country. There are American flags everywhere, even in the classrooms. And what I think is different is that every second period everyone stands up and says the Pledge of Allegiance. I think it is really special that you show the rest of the world in so many ways how strong your country is and how you all stand together.