Petter Aadde, Norway

Unfortunately, like Heinäsuo, Aadde's exchange experience was cut short this year; however, he's grateful for what his time in the U.S.

April 2, 2020

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Heidi Aadde

Although back in Norway, Aadde was pure smiles next to his two dogs on April 1.

Petter Aadde, a 17-year-old from Bodø, Norway, ventured out of his comfort zone this past year and became a foreigin exchange student at Cannon Falls High School. His adventure officially began when he arrived in Minnesota on August 7th and met his host family, the Monsons, in person for the first time. Months later on March 13, his journey ended. 

Like many foreign exchange students, Aadde faced a lot of challenges when he arrived at our school for the first time. Being away from family and friends back home, while getting used to a language barrier, is an ongoing struggle for anyone who chooses to study abroad, but this year the stress was intensified with the sudden arrival of the coronavirus. 

The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on many individuals at our school; students have been stripped of some of their memorable high school experiences because of this virus, and it is fair to argue that COVID-19 has affected our spring sports programs the most. At the moment, all of the spring sports and activities have been indefinitely postponed. This is a huge bummer for all those who were planning on staying busy this spring. Aadde was a part of this group because, although he didn’t play any sports in the beginning of this year, he was planning on joining the trap shooting team this spring.

The best thing about this is it shows the weaknesses in our [Norway’s] systems and where we have to improve and change.”

— Petter Aadde

Despite the fact that Aaade was unable to broaden his horizons and try a new activity this spring, he has remained positive. He saw the bright side of the devastating situation when he talked about his home country which has been hit extremely hard by the pandemic. “The best thing about this is it shows the weaknesses in our [Norway’s] systems and where we have to improve and change,” he stated. 

Traveling across the world and being a foreign exchange student is truly a memorable experience; however, dealing with the coronavirus pandemic at the same time made it unforgettable for Aadde. Even though he was still able to soak up some American culture over the past 7 months, he missed out on some irreplaceable experiences. In the end, even with all of the chaos that he’s endured, he still encourages others to “Seek out more of the world and get new perspectives. It’s important. It lets you see things from a new way that might help you later on.”

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