Worlds Collide: Danish Exchange Students Visit Oakdale


Megan Donovan

On Friday October 5th, Oakdale participated in a foreign exchange program with a school in Denmark. Local families were able to host the pupils during their visit, and display to them family life in the United States. This program was able to provide a rich, mutually beneficial experience for not only the families involved but also all of the Oakdale community.


Mrs. Bethany Brown, a Spanish teacher at Oakdale and representative of this program, explained the structure of this visit, “They came to the United States, they were with us over the weekend, Friday through Tuesday. They stayed with host families and did activities with them over the weekend. After this they’re going to New York where they will do different activities.”


For the students, this presented an opportunity to further practice their studies, and the ability to do so in a foreign environment. Those who attended were studying subjects such as English, social sciences, and other relevant subjects in the United States.


A clash of cultures came along with the visit, providing an opportunity for the hosts and students to help teach one another about their culture. The students were close in age, giving them a stronger opportunity to bond.


Senior and daughter of Mrs. Brown, Natalia Chavez-Brown chose to show her guests some of the different activities exclusive to our region, “We went to Summer’s Farm, they don’t have pumpkin patches in Denmark,” she explained. On the opposite hand, some danish students brought along delicacies, mainly candies, to show their host families.


From an academic standpoint, there was also benefits. Ms. Brown told the Post, “I think it’s interesting for them to see a school in the United States. It also gave them a really good opportunity to practice their English, because they couldn’t speak Danish over the weekend. I think it’s important for us, because we can learn about their school. They have prepared presentations about their government, lifestyle, famous people from Denmark… So it’s an opportunity for students at Oakdale to learn about their culture as well.”


As she said, while they came to become more educated on life here,, Oakdale students were able to be presented with information on Denmark. Perhaps sparking a future interest in some to participate in this program in following years.


An immense amount of work goes into organizing this visit. The host families were recruited as early as the summer, and were matched to the most suitable Danish student for their family. In order to do so, those in charge of this program had to view information of each person, tochoose the most fitting situation. Teachers played a significant part as well. In order to have presentations in their classes, they had to apply, while Danish teachers selected classes in which to observe.


This exchange program has provided boundless opportunities to all those involved. To learn more about participating in upcoming years, you can ask Ms. Brown in B202. Hopefully, it will be equally successful in the years to come.