Midlertidig hjem

Temporary Home


Avery Munson

For Pedersen, it’s been easy to make friends, though they differ from his friends back home. “It’s a different kind of country and it’s a different kind of friends,” he said.

Junior Emil Pedersen of Køge, Denmark is currently living a double life. “When you leave a country to go to a different country for a whole year, you start a new life. It’s two separate lives you have to live,” he said. Pedersen is one of the three exchange students at North Platte High spending this school year abroad.

When Pedersen was told he would be placed with a family in Nebraska, he was not very happy about it. He did not even know Nebraska was a state. “I wanted to go to some of the famous states like I saw on television,” he said. Now, after being here for a few months, he thinks it is nice. “I can’t complain,” he said.

Pedersen arrived in the United States in August as an exchange student through a program called Education First. His first three days in the States were spent in New York. From there, he flew to Denver, where his host family picked him up and they came back to North Platte. His first day in North Platte resembled a typical day for many teenagers; wake up, eat, and then relax while watching Netflix all day. “Breakfast was really, really disgusting at first because of all the sugar. It just felt really weird to eat candy for breakfast,” he said.

One of the big changes that Pedersen has noticed is how much more free and relaxed the atmosphere is in Denmark than in America. He has noticed how stressed out many Americans are and how everyone seems to be on a tight schedule. “Sometimes I see messy cars and messy houses and we don’t really have that in Denmark because we have time to get it done,” he said.

Culturally, Pedersen believes that it is a bit stricter here. Some of the differences he has noticed are the people, and the rules at school. He is not used to people not acknowledging you with a smile whenever you pass them in the street. He was expecting everyone to be super friendly. He enjoys school here because you can take fun classes along with educational ones, but he said, “At school in Denmark, teachers are your friends. But here, teachers are teachers.” He was not used to using titles to address teachers, because where he is from, they can call teachers by their first names or even a nickname.

Despite being nearly 5,000 miles from home, Pedersen said he has not been homesick yet. “I’ve talked to my parents of course, but I don’t feel homesick. They say it comes to everyone around Christmas, so that’s what I’m expecting,” he said. It has been about two weeks since he last spoke to his family. He says that he doesn’t need to talk to them. “I’m enjoying it right now over here,” he said.

One of Pedersen’s favorite things about being in North Platte is that he gets to speak English every day. To him, it is easier than speaking Danish, and he said the grammar makes more sense. He started learning English in school several years ago, but he admits that most of the English he knows, and the way he uses it, comes from games and movies.

Going to a foreign place for an extended period of time can have an effect on anyone, and when Pedersen gets back to Denmark, he thinks he’ll be a bit more mature and also more polite. He thinks he will struggle with cussing, though. “I love cussing, that’s like my main thing to do. I’ll probably end up doing that a lot more, and I’ll have to fix that when I get back,” he said.

Some of Pedersen’s favorite moments in the States, so far, involve the friends that he has made here. “Camping was definitely one of my favorite moments. That was really great,” he said. He also went to a Charlie Puth concert in Grand Island. Even though he did not like the music, it was a great experience. “That’s probably one of the best moments, being able to be there, and hang out with my friends,” he said.

Pedersen was a member of the North Platte High cross country team. “I didn’t want to play football or any other sports. I didn’t want to run, but then I tried it, and the people were nice,” he said. The rest of the time he is here, he plans on only doing sports, including track and field during the spring. In Denmark, he did taekwondo, and he was interested in doing that here, but he decided that he wanted to stick to school related activities instead.

While Pedersen is in America, he really wants to travel. “I want to see all the famous things. I’ve been to New York, but I haven’t seen the Statue of Liberty. I want to see that before I go,” he said.