Culture Collaboration

Maia Skalmeras's Year in America

Posing+in+the+national+dress+of+Norway%2C+the+bunad%2C+Maia+Skalmeras+gets+ready+to+celebrate+her+cousin%27s+confirmation.+%0AMaia+also++loves+going+to+the+family+cabin+to+ski+in+Roros+when+her+family+has+a+free+weekend.
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Culture Collaboration

Posing in the national dress of Norway, the bunad, Maia Skalmeras gets ready to celebrate her cousin's confirmation. 
Maia also  loves going to the family cabin to ski in Roros when her family has a free weekend.

Posing in the national dress of Norway, the bunad, Maia Skalmeras gets ready to celebrate her cousin's confirmation. Maia also loves going to the family cabin to ski in Roros when her family has a free weekend.

H. Muri

Posing in the national dress of Norway, the bunad, Maia Skalmeras gets ready to celebrate her cousin's confirmation. Maia also loves going to the family cabin to ski in Roros when her family has a free weekend.

H. Muri

H. Muri

Posing in the national dress of Norway, the bunad, Maia Skalmeras gets ready to celebrate her cousin's confirmation. Maia also loves going to the family cabin to ski in Roros when her family has a free weekend.

Mikayla Davis, Staff Reporter

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 Maia Skalmeras has traveled to multiple places around the world, and this year she has been given the opportunity to attend Millbrook. Maia, 17, came to America from Trondheim, Norway. She is one of Millbrook’s seven foreign exchange students this year. Maia says she left her father, mother, and older sister to “experience something new and different. I wanted to become more independent. I wanted to learn about other cultures and people.” Maia already feels much more independent as she has to make many choices on her own now.

 Like most students in Norway, Maia grew up speaking Norwegian and began learning English in third grade. In addition to learning the English language, she took on French in eighth grade and transferred to Spanish in eleventh grade. It was a requirement of the students in Norway to take not only Norwegian, but also English, beginning in third grade, and a third language of their choice once they reach eighth grade.

 Norwegian schools divide the grades differently than in America. First through seventh graders attend Barne Skole, or elementary school. Grades eight through ten attend Ungdom Skole, or middle school. Lastly, eleventh through thirteenth grade attends Uideregående Skole, or high school.

 Following high school, many Norwegian students leave their country to attend college or university because it is very difficult to be accepted to the universities in Norway. In fact, Maia’s 20 year old sister is currently attending a private school that allows her to retake high school courses in order to get better grades. This is very costly, but gives her a better chance to get into University.

  Maia is a member of EF, Education First, High School Exchange Year. This is an organization that helps people from Europe and Asia with their exchange year. EF is the World’s largest private educational institution. Maia describes the organization as “very trustworthy, and they help us with everything. They’re there for us every step of the journey – that’s why I chose EF!” After she went to their camp in New York for 10 days, she decided to become a student ambassador. To obtain this position, Maia had to answer a number questions. There are only 120 students ambassadors out of thousands of exchange students. The main job as and ambassador is to share your story. They do that by having school presentations, information meetings, newspapers, blogs or simply sharing photos and stories on Facebook and Instagram. That is what Maia does. Her instagrams are @maiamuri and @maiamuriiusa. “I decided to become a student ambassador because I really want to help every future exchange students, and I felt like this year is really worth sharing with the world. This is a once in a lifetime experience you really want to do! There’s a lot to experience and see outside our home country and our own culture!” Maia explains.

 Maia is also a part of Millbrooks JV Women’s Tennis team. This season was her first year playing tennis, and she enjoyed it very much. In Norway they do not have school sports, only club sports. Maia played soccer and handball for many years.

 “It is a very fun experience,” Maia says about her move here. Maia has had no problem making friends. She is very appreciative of her kind host family as well as the opportunity to attend an American school for a year.

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