New Swedish foreign exchange student attends Vandegrift


Stephen King, Writer

Junior Elina Solbrand is not only new to Vandegrift this year, she is also new to the country.

“I wanted to experience the American lifestyle and the high school experience,” Solbrand said. “Also I thought it would be a good challenge and that it would be fun to do something on your own without my soccer team or family. Just on my own.”

Solbrand is an 18-year-old junior from Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, and she signed up  to a be a foreign exchange student through the Education First program. Solbrand filled out all her paperwork in her application process and a questionnaire that would help match her to a host family.

“I’ve got the most amazing family,” Solbrand said. “I have three younger siblings and my host mom is actually Swedish. It’s actually really nice to have someone that knows what it’s like to come from a foreign country and to America. We get along real well.”

Solbrand has been making lots of new friends since moving to Austin.

“I like America,” Solbrand said. “A lot of people are really friendly, open, and welcoming.”

She found the Texas weather to be very different of course. Luckily, she was able to adapt to the Texas climate.

“It’s hotter here, but you get used to it, pretty fast actually,” Solbrand said.

In Sweden, high school starts after ninth grade instead of eighth grade, and lasting three years instead of four. Her school does not have A days and B days; instead it has a schedule that repeats itself every week. A student would share their classes for 60 or 90 minutes with the same classmates, about 30 students.

Solbrand will be moving back home to Stockholm after she finishes the school year.

“It’s been nice to come here,” said Solbrand. “It’s easy to meet new people and it’s easy to make new friends.”