Exchange students experience American life

Both make plans to travel during spring break in March this year

Half a year ago exchange students Dina Kardovic from Montenegro and Rikke Arildsen from Denmark packed up their things and flew across the globe to live in a new place with a new family and new school right here in Cedar Falls, and they both said they have come to feel right at home.

Of course a big part of each of their days is learning while adjusting to the differences in the American schools. Kardovic said that there are a lot more choices here and that she likes that about the school. They both say that the subjects are quite similar but are just taught in different ways or methods.

Also the extracurriculars of the school are similar to Kardovic but Arildsen said, “In Denmark there aren’t any of those in the school. You have to go find the activity outside of the school if you wanna do it.” She also said that she likes how the activities are here because she gets to know more people at the school when she participates in one.

They both said that when they first got here that people were very helpful and positive towards them. Kardovic said that the only thing she would change about American schools is that they should be a little more strict and have higher expectations. Arildsen said that the only thing she wants is more time in between classes.

After school Kardovic plans to go to college somewhere in Europe or possibly Turkey, and Arildsen would like to go traveling.

They say it’s interesting and fun to live with a host family but also different. To introduce their guests to America, their host families have taken them to other places around the country; for example, they’ve both been to Minneapolis, and on spring break they both have vacations planned. Kardovic is going to Florida with her host family, and Arildsen is flying to Hawaii with hers.

They both like America but also miss their family and friends back at home. Both Kardovic and Arildsen stay in contact with their families and friends through Facebook, Skype and other social networks.

Kardovic also misses skiing. She said that the winter here is similar to hers at home but Arildsen said its very different from Denmark. She said she likes the difference though because she has never had snow days before and she likes to hang out with her friends when there is no school.

Kardovic was led here because she wanted to travel and being an exchange student opened up a good scholarship for her. Arildsen said that her mom once came here to work and met her host mom. Afterward, they stayed friends, and as Arildsen grew up they had the idea of exchange students. Arildsen’s host mom has her own children and said she hopes they decide to be exchange students in the future as well.

Food has also been a new horizon to explore for both girls. Kardovic likes Subway but misses her mom’s cooking. Arildsen said she likes breadsticks and pizza, but she also misses Denmark food such as Risengrød and Frikadeller.

Both exchanges students also encouraged CFHS students to ask any questions they’d like to learn about their countries. They are more than happy to return the friendliness they’ve enjoyed.


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