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Senior Lindsay Sepulveda reflects on her time in Denmark

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Senior Lindsay Sepulveda reflects on her time in Denmark

Senior Lindsay Sepulveda poses with her friends in Denmark.

Senior Lindsay Sepulveda poses with her friends in Denmark.

Senior Lindsay Sepulveda poses with her friends in Denmark.

Senior Lindsay Sepulveda poses with her friends in Denmark.

Taron Masi, Online Editor

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Senior Lindsay Sepulveda was 16 when she packed up her bags and headed across the Atlantic Ocean to spend eleven months in Northern Europe. From August to July, Sepulveda was on exchange year living in the historic Danish city of Aarhus.

“Leaving my friends and family was extremely hard,” Sepulveda said. “Saying goodbye to my parents at the airport was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It was tough having problems during the exchange because I just wanted to talk to my parents, but they are on the other side of the world. However, being away from your family and friends for so long makes you appreciate them so much more.”

Sepulveda traveled with the American Field Service, an international youth exchange organization that offers intercultural programs for any interested high school students.

“I lived with my host mom and dad,” Sepulveda said. “My host brother was the same age as me and my little sister was 14. My family was full of musicians. My host mom was a singing teacher and my host dad played the organ for a church. Both of my siblings were musicians as well. I am not musical at all, so it was nice to learn so much about music and Danish culture from them.”

Out of 48 available countries, Sepulveda chose Denmark, even though she knew she’d have to learn a whole new language.

“I only knew some of the basics of Danish before I left,” Sepulveda said. “My name, where I came from, and thank you, but I learned Danish during the year. I wouldn’t call myself fluent, but I can have a good conversation and get around the country by myself just using Danish.”

During her time in the Scandinavian country, Sepulveda became accustomed to a new way of living that held many differences to the culture that she was used to here in Fenton.

“Their way of schooling shocked me the most,” Sepulveda said. “Students call their teachers by their first names and school is done almost entirely on the computer. They also do not have to ask to go to the bathroom or get a drink, they just leave the classroom whenever they want to. In the beginning, I was uncomfortable calling teachers by their first names or leaving without asking, because I felt like I was being rude. Danish people are very informal, but they aren’t rude. For example, there is no word for ‘please’ in the Danish language. Instead, they just smile or say ‘may I beg for’. The school also holds four parties a year, where they hire a DJ and the teachers sell alcohol. That was really surprising to me since it could never happen in Fenton.”

Despite missing her family and taking on the challenges of learning a new language, Sepulveda would recommend going on exchange to anyone and everyone.

“I would 100 percent recommend going on an exchange,” Sepulveda said. “I was able to meet some of the most amazing people and I got to experience a lot of things I never would have if had I stayed home. I learned so much during my year, how to adapt to a different way of doing and thinking about things. It made me a lot more confident and taught me to be more independent since I was on my own, and how to deal with some of the really big problems I faced by myself. I think it prepared me to be on my own. Even though it is scary to leave everything behind, it is worth it.”

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