The Student News Site of Center Grove High School


The Student News Site of Center Grove High School


The Student News Site of Center Grove High School


From the Scandinavian Peninsula to the middle of Indiana

Junior Solveig Søergjerd navigates the foreign exchange process after coming to Center Grove from Norway
Photo contributed

As she stares out the small airplane window, Junior Solveig Søergjerd envisions her new life. Her hands tremble, not only out of fear, but also excitement. She is one of several foreign exchange students Center Grove High School is hosting this year. Søergjerd broke down the process of how she was able to go from being a Norwegian high school student one day to an American high school student the next.

“I thought it would be really cool to actually live in a family in the culture and really get to know the real American culture by going to high school and living with the family and not just visiting, because then you’re not really a part of the culture,” Søergjerd said.

Some exchange students dream about studying abroad their whole lives. Søergjerd only found out about this opportunity recently.

“I found out through my friend,” Søergjerd said. “She’s been to America before. She’s lived here before, and she decided she wanted to stay here again, and then she figured out that ‘exchange’ was a thing. She told me one day that she got into the program and was going to go, and I got really excited. I didn’t know it was a thing until she told me about it. So, then I decided to go as well.”

Before coming to the states, students who desire to become a foreign exchange student must go through an application process.

“You had to have good grades; you couldn’t be failing,” Søergjerd said. “You had to answer a lot of mental questions because they didn’t want to send you if you were mentally ill, and health questions. But then you had the full application process where you answered a lot of questions about yourself because they wanted to match you with a good match in the US.”

Even though Søergjerd had to go through an extensive application process, she had almost no control over her location or family.

“They choose the exchange student for the family,” Søergjerd said. “I didn’t even know about it until I got matched. They called and said, ‘we have a match for you’ and that’s the process. You can pay more money to get three wishes for states, but it’s unlikely that you will get those. Usually people wish for California, Florida, New York or Arizona, those types of states. But that’s just unlikely.”

However, traveling and living in a different country for a whole year also poses some problems. Thankfully, there are ways for students who desire to study abroad to receive help.

“It’s really expensive,” Søergjerd said. “I get money from the government. I just applied to get a certain amount that you get from the government. It’s nothing you have to pay back. You can get between $6,000 and $9,000.”

Regardless of any obstacles, Søergjerd believes that studying abroad has many benefits. 

“I think cultural exchange is a very good thing,” Søergjerd said. “It’s good and you can learn very much from it. If you know that you’re an outgoing person or somebody who likes to explore, then you can probably be an exchange student.”

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