Ina Aasheim was excited to arrive in Blue Earth, which isn't something you hear many 18-year-olds say.
But, she is an exchange student from Oslo, Norway and to her, coming to America is a dream come true.
"I learned to speak English when I was six years old," Aasheim says. "By the time I was 13 years old I was completely fluent."
Being at that skill level by that age put her well above the abilities of her peers, and there was good reason she worked so hard to learn the language.
"When I was seven years old, I knew I wanted to come to America; it was a huge dream," she explains.
Now, it's a reality and she is enjoying every moment of her stay so far.
Aasheim is staying with Troy and Michele Stindtman and their son, Trenton, in their home just outside of Blue Earth.
But, getting to this point wasn't always smooth sailing. The Stindtmans didn't find out whether or not they would be able to host Aasheim until just three weeks before she was scheduled to arrive.
"School was starting in Norway and I still hadn't heard back from the exchange program," Aasheim says. "I was starting to get so nervous."
She admits she thought about it every day. Then one day she received a couple of friend requests on Facebook and they were from the Stindtmans. So, she checked her account through the exchange program and that's when she found out she was coming to Blue Earth.
"I called my best friend and was crying because I was so happy," she says.
And, Michele says she didn't really think about even hosting an exchange student, until one of her friends suggested the idea. The more she thought about it, the better the idea sounded.
"I thought with my son being a Marine, he has seen more of the world than most other 19 year olds," Michele explains. "So, if I could give some other young person that opportunity, I should. And hosting Ina gave her that opportunity."
Aasheim wasn't nervous to arrive in Blue Earth; both her mother and father were exchange students and many of her friends have studied in America.
"I knew a lot of what to expect so I really didn't experience any culture shock," she says.
Since arriving in Blue Earth on Aug. 28, Aasheim has been trying to stay active and social. So, she has been participating in cross country at Blue Earth Area High School, which is one thing she loves.
"The school spirit here is so great," she says. "We don't have that back home."
Other differences she has really noticed was how teenagers here get around. Aasheim is used to having more freedom in Norway. With the use of public transportation, she didn't have to rely on others to get around.
"I lived 10 minutes from downtown Oslo, where my friends and I were so close to everything," she says. "Here that's been hard to adjust to; thank goodness Michele has been so nice."
Another difference she has noticed and enjoyed about America is the cost of things. That has led to one of her biggest hobbies shopping.
"I love to shop, maybe a little too much," she jokes. "Everything is much cheaper here and we don't have malls like you have here in Norway."
Aasheim has been to the Mall of America a couple times and will go to the mall in Mankato once in awhile.
She also loves to sing, and has another lifelong wish that she just fulfilled.
When she was 12 years old she saw a video of an American celebration of the Fourth of July and heard someone sing the national anthem.
"It was so beautiful and I have dreamed about singing the national anthem since then," she says.
Well, at the BEA football game Friday, Aasheim was given the opportunity to sing the national anthem.
"This is the only time I've been nervous since I've arrived," she says. "But I'm so excited, it's a dream come true."
She's been enjoying her time in Blue Earth so much she jokes about barely remembering what it's like back home.
"We have many similarities there,"?she says.
Aasheim does many of the same things with her friends back home that she does with her new friends here.
And, her family back home seems to be similar to the Stindtmans.
"My family is different, we're just so funny," Aasheim says. "Michele says their whole family is the same."
In Oslo, Aasheim lives with her father, Christian, mother, Eli, brother, Vetle and dog Fant.
She has taught the Stindtmans all about where she is from.
"We got on Google maps one night and she showed us where she lived and downtown Oslo,"?Michele says. "It was really cool."
But, Aasheim has taught the Stindtmans about one location you wouldn't expect.
"Believe it or not, I have learned more about America from Ina than I?knew and I live here,"?Michele says.
Aasheim admits she has learned a lot about American over the years, since her favorite subject is sociology and world cultures, something she hopes to pursue in her future.
In fact she hopes to attend college in America and further her education in social studies.
"I admit learning about America has always been a fascination," she says.