Cultural Exchange Trip with Sweden: Days 1 & 2

Six 8th grade students from Inly Middle School are abroad on a cultural exchange trip with Alvkullen Montessori School in Kungalv, Sweden. Inly’s Assistant Head of School, Julie Kelly-Detwiler, is chaperoning the trip and sends this update:

5/1/2011

We have safely arrived!

After two uneventful flights, and a relatively short layover in the Frankfurt airport, we arrived on time, as did our luggage. All of our students were greeted on arrival by their host families and, we hope, have had a chance to rest before meeting up again for a welcome dinner hosted by Tucker D.’s host family.

The kids were great on the flights—Tucker M. and Ali Z. get the prize for the most sleep—and we’re sure the others are feeling the lack of sleep (as we are!) right about now. So many of the host families have hosted before and it was nice to be greeted by such warm and familiar faces. This exchange program is well supported and heralded in Sweden, and we are always made to feel special on our arrival.

Melissa and I are setting off to do some exploring and to meet the Middle School Director, Malin, and her family for dinner. We will try to send pictures when we return.

We will be checking e-mail regularly, so if you have any specific questions or would like us to pass on any messages, please let us know.

Enjoy the day. Hejdå!
Julie and Melissa

5/2/2011

We’re in the middle of our second day in Sweden. Just returned from a UN World Heritage Site, about a 90 minute drive from school, which is famous for rock carvings and artifacts from the bronze age. We had a wonderful tour guide, plenty of time to explore the area, and a nice picnic on the grounds of the museum before returning to school. The weather is cooperating so far—much colder than we had hoped, but the sun is shining and no rain is in sight.

It is 3:00 in Sweden, and the Inly students are all returning home with their host families to regroup (and sleep, I’m sure) before meeting again at 6:30 this evening for bowling. Our excursion today was with the Alvkullen 8th graders and our MMUN students already knew their 8th grade MMUN students which made for easy integration. Skyping throughout the year also helps, it seems. Each year the transition time shortens and the distinction between Swedish/American students fades more quickly.

The reports from yesterday are all positive so far. Most of this year’s host families have hosted in the past and our students are well matched. Tomorrow is our day in Stockholm which means a 5:10 am departure and an 11:00 pm return, so there will be no chance to e-mail tomorrow, but we’ll be sure to catch up again on Wednesday.

Wishing you all the best at home.
Julie and Melissa

[The eighth grade students have been preparing over the last few months for their cultural exchange with the students from Sweden. In small groups they have researched and created presentations that explore various aspects of Swedish culture such as the government, social programs, the environment, popular culture, etc. The work of the students over the last weeks is now being supported and extended by the first-hand experiences of the six eighth graders who are in Sweden now.]

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