Friday, March 28, 2014
This is my first post on this blog, even my very first blog post ever, to be honest. I am going to give you some background information why I am writing this blog, but first let me introduce myself.
My name is Oskar Christiansen and I am an eighteen-year-old high school student from Sweden. I live in Alingsås, a small city located in the south-western part of Sweden. Alingsås is close to Gothenburg, Sweden´s second largest city. I attend Lerums Gymnasium, a school located between Alingsås and Gothenburg. My studies are focused on science with mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology as major courses, but civics, Spanish, English and Swedish are important as well.
This is a picture of my school, Lerums Gymnasium.
In addition to my family, friends are very important to me. I want to be trusted by people around me and therefore I always do my utmost to keep my promises. I enjoy being around people and I engage myself and bring my friends along to make things happen. In my spare time I love to spend time with my friends. I also like to exercise and I have practiced several team sports since my early years. I started to play soccer and ice-hockey at the age of five. As I got older, I decided to focus on ice hockey. Two years ago, some friends from my hockey team and I did what many Swedish hockey players do; instead of playing hockey, we joined a floorball club. Basically, floorball is like a version of ice hockey where there is no ice and you have a plastic ball instead of the puck. On the weekends, I work as an ice-hockey referee. I like it a lot! It is an opportunity to be a part of the hockey community even if I do not play myself anymore.
I have got three brothers and sisters; one monozygotic twin brother, one eleven-year-old brother and one six-year-old sister. My sister Klara likes to dance, ride horses and to play the violin. My younger brother Arvid is a very active person and likes sports just as much as I do. He plays table tennis and soccer. My twin brother Filip works at a gym parallel to his high-school studies. At the gym he takes care of the children during the time their parents are exercising.
I have to tell you the reason of me writing this blog. About a year ago, I started thinking about studying a year abroad. Until this fall, it was just thoughts, but in November I put my thoughts into action. I applied for ASSIST scholarship, Rotary´s youth exchange and The Swedish Council for Higher Education´s (Universitets- och högskolerådet) exchange program. It required a lot of paper work. One application alone was almost thirty pages long. After submitting the applications I was invited to an interview by all three organizations. The interviews for ASSIST and UHR were in Stockholm and for Rotary there were an interview in my living room and a first meeting with the other students who had passed the interview in Gothenburg. Then all of a sudden I was offered a place on all three of them and I had to decide within a week. ASSIST to a boarding school in the US, Rotary to a family in a suburb twenty minutes from the downtown of Sydney or UHR to a family in Spain. It really was a tough decision, but eventually I chose ASSIST.
And this is where I am now. I have chosen to be a part of the organization ASSIST, and it feels great. I am going to spend a year at one of America´s finest boarding schools. I will most likely get my placement decision at a school in the end of April.
These are all the possible schools on which I might be placed.
ASSIST is a global, non-profit organization founded in 1969 by Paul G. Sanderson Jr. and is based in the US. Its purpose is to promote education and networking between people from different countries, to increase cultural and religious understanding and reduce the risk of conflicts between countries (for more information visit www.assist-inc.org). Every year there are about 1700 applicants worldwide, of whom 85 are getting a full scholarship, and I was one of the lucky ones. A full scholarship means that the boarding school, to which you are accepted, are offering you the tutorial and accommodation costs for free. The selection was based on academic performance, language skills and an interview with Mr. Jack Eidam, one of ASSISTs representatives from the United States.
Finally, I want to thank Lars Körner, the team manager for a youth ice hockey team whose game I referee; Hanna Källberg, my class superintendent, English, Swedish and Music teacher during the last years in elementary school; Nicola Macdonald, my German teacher in the elementary school; Gunnilla Wallin Nyman, my class superintendent and Swedish teacher at my current school; Sandra Stenhede, my English and Spanish teacher and finally, Christiana Söderman, my headmaster. I want to thank you all for your great letters of recommendation! They helped me get the scholarships and they were really nice to read.
This blog post became much more extensive than I had planned. I can promise you my future post won't be this long.
Thank you for reading!