Loefblad enjoys experiences as BEA exchange student
Sometimes when one plan does not end up working out, a better one falls into place.
This is exactly the case for 17-year-old Emma Loefblad, an exchange student at Blue Earth Area High School this year.
Loefblad, who is from Sweden, wanted to study in the United States this year, but it was not until days before she arrived that she found out she would be staying in Blue Earth.
“We didn’t know she would be staying with us until like three days before she came,”?Mandy Groe says.
In fact, the Groe family, of Blue Earth, were not even planning on having an exchange student this year.
“We hosted our first exchange student last year and were going to wait a year to host another,” Groe explains.
However, after Loefblad’s first host family arrangement fell through, the Groes were happy to host her in Blue Earth.
“You can either state a preference of where you would like to stay or leave it open and be more likely to be matched with a good family,”?Loefblad says. “I thought it was more important to be matched with a good family.”
Since arriving, Loefblad feels she could not have ended up with a better host family than the Groes, and has enjoyed staying with Sean, Mandy and their daughter Chloe.
Although, it may have been a surprise for the Groes to have an exchange student this year, Loefblad has been preparing to study in the United States for some time.
“It was in October of last year that I?finally decided to apply,”?she says.
Loefblad had many reasons for wanting to participate in the exchange program. She wanted to experience something new and improve her English.
But, her main reason for coming to the United States was something much more important to her.
“I wanted to learn about myself and see how I?adjust to a new situation,”?Loefblad explains.
And so far, she has been adjusting really well. Loefblad has been excited to try new things at school and sign up for classes that interest her.
“I like it a lot here,”?she says. “Everyone is really nice.”
Loefblad wanted to jump right into activities upon arriving in Blue Earth and decided to join the Buccaneer football cheerleading squad and choir.
“I really like choir here,”?she says.
Singing is something Loefblad has enjoyed doing and even took a couple of years worth of voice lessons back in Sweden.
“I?had to give it up when I got into high school,”?she explains. “Because I got too busy with studying and other activities.”
Loefblad participates in the Chamber Singers group, honor choir and has already had a solo for the BEA?choir concert this fall.
“Usually I have stage fright but for some reason I?didn’t have it this time,”?she adds.
While she will continue to participate in choir, winter sports have also begun and Loefblad has already added another activity basketball.
She has never played basketball before but has enjoyed learning the game.
She is more used to another sport which she has played for many years in Sweden.
“I have played handball for 10 years,”?she says.
Loefblad adds that they have three practices a week and then play games over the weekend.
“Some rules are similar but they are pretty different games,”?she explains. “Handball is more physical, you kind of have to tackle the other team down.”
Loefblad jokes she will have to remember not to get too physical while playing basketball like she might while playing handball.
She hopes to round out her school year at BEA?by participating in track and field in the spring.
“I?want to experience new things while I’m here,”?Loefblad adds.
School at BEA?has been a new experience in itself.
“There is no time between classes, and speaking English all the time is not something I normally do,”?she jokes.
But, other than that Loefblad has been enjoying the routine of her classes.
“I?mostly choose classes that interest me since they won’t count when I go home,”?Loefblad adds.
She is required to take an American History class while she studies at BEA, which she has found really interesting.
“I’m glad I’m taking American History,”?she says. “It’s interesting to see it from America’s perspective.”?
But, the class and her time studying in Blue Earth is not the first time Loefblad has been exposed to the United States.
“My dad has an international company and has an office in the U.S.,”?Loefblad says.
She has also been to Florida, Hawaii and the Caribbean.
Loefblad lives in Lidkping, Sweden with her dad Tomas, mom Sofia and sister Julia.
“My hometown is considered small in Sweden, even though it has a population of around 45,000,” she says.
So, her small town life in Blue Earth hasn’t been much different from the things she does in her hometown.
“I hang out with friends, play handball and study mostly,”?she says.
But, before she goes back to that life, Loefblad has plenty of other items left on her to-do list.
Her parents will be visiting in March and in April she will be going to Hawaii with the exchange program.
The Groes also hope to do a few more things while Loefblad is staying with them.
“We want to go to the theater and hope to do some traveling,” Mandy says.
However, since she arrived in September, Loefblad has been plenty busy.
“But, we have gone to a lot of movies, done a lot of baking and have gone for horseback rides at the farm,” Groe adds.
So, if it was a new experience she wanted, that is just what Loefblad has been getting since she arrived in Blue Earth.
Even though she had only found out who she would be staying with just three days before her arrival.