YFU Switzerland

Some More Details

Until now I didn´t have the time to write a very detailed blog.
Today is a rainy Sunday here in Kristinehamn, so I could finally find some…

About my family:

Besides their own 4 children (age: 19, 17, 5 and 4) and me, my host parents take care of three foster children, twins who are 6 and a 3 year old boy. I believe it demands to have a big heart to be a foster family and I can say for sure that everyone in my host family has a really big heart. I experienced this, when last Sunday the news of the death of my loved neighbor in Switzerland reached me. I was very sad but my host mother was there for me, cuddled me and we talked quite long, which helped me very much.
As already mentioned we live in a big red and white house, right at the shore of the Vännernsee. I like to help my host family with the animals. For example, putting the ponies in the stable, feeding the rabbits or going for a walk with the dogs.
It can sometimes be a bit chaotic with 10 people in one house, for example if it´s time to eat. We don’t have a fixed eating schedule, what I was used to have in Switzerland. Here we eat if we are hungry and sometimes, everyone eats something different. That´s why we never have this “everyone sits at the table and starts eating at the same time”-thing.
A very nice experience I could share with my host father was a road trip to an alpaca farm 3h south from where we live. We got up at 4 am and started our trip. I took about a million pictures of the sunrise and the beautiful Swedish landscape… In the 6h car ride we talked quite a lot, what I really enjoyed.
What I also enjoy is being with the 5 kids. I tried to teach the twins Volleyball, it was very fun! Being with kids is a good way to learn a new language… For example when I (try to) read a book to them, or if we play a simple game.

About school and finding friends

I was a bit afraid of my first school day… “Will it be hard to find friends?” “Can I cope with the Swedish?” and most important “Will I even find the way to my class?”… Now after 2 weeks in school I find it ridiculous how I could be afraid! My class is very nice. Everyone is friends with everyone, which made it easy to build up connection. In Swedish schools students get treated like adults. We call the teachers by their first name and they don’t have like a “boss-role” they are more a “knowledge broadcaster”. There aren’t many rules, e.g. about mobile phone usage or being late. In short; the Swedish school system is very easy-going.
Älvkulle, my school was built in the 1950ies, that’s why it looks a bit runned-down. But the lessons are quite modern. Every student has his own laptop and we use it frequently in class. I didn’t expected to eat good food in school but… WOW … the food is very good. We have a big choice of meals and fresh salad or vegetables.
On Monday afternoons I usually meet the other exchange students to go to the Swedish lessons for beginners. It´s always fun to be with this international group of people.
I signed up for a volleyball club in Karlstad. I think that´s also quite a good way to make friends, same interests, team spirit… The coaches are really nice and one of them can even talk a little bit German!
Because school starts quite late on Thursday mornings my Swiss exchange student friend and me go to a gym a bit outside of Karlstad.

About the Swedish language and culture

I´m surprised, how fast I learn Swedish… I´ve been here for 3-4 weeks and I can already understand quite a lot and also talk a little. In school or with my little siblings I learn the most I think. Because then there`s no other choice than listening to the Swedish language. Sometimes I try to answer and every once in a while I succeed…
One reason I took Sweden as country for my exchange was, that it´s standards are quite similar to the ones in Switzerland. For example drinking water from the tap or crossing the street is no problem in both countries. Sweden and Switzerland seem to be very similar from the outside, but with a closer look you can see quite a big difference. And this closer look I want to take during my exchange year!

Although I miss my family and friends at home I enjoy every minute here to the fullest and try to experience as many things as possible.
This isn´t just a year in a life, it´s a life in a year.