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CHS Experiences Danish Invasion!

Cavaliers accompany their Danish guests to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville as part of a week-long visit that included experiences with school, sports, and travel.

Hvad SÃ¥? or, What’s up? What’s up at Cuthbertson High these days? We have been invaded by the Danes! October 16-23, 2011, Cuthbertson students and faculty hosted 23 students from our sister school, Aarhus Katedraleskole. The Danish students and two of their teachers, Britta Handrup Johnsen and Vicki Bjerre, landed at Charlotte Douglas where they were warmly welcomed by Mr. Jackson and the assistant administrators. After a quick hello, the tired but excited students took their very first ride on a yellow school bus bound for Cuthbertson High. Though many American students bemoan the long, bone-jostling ride to and from school, the Danes were thrilled to finally experience that all-American tradition.

Our Danish students had a full week of classes, sports, travel, and American life. Twenty-seven of our Cuthbertson families hosted the twenty-three Danish students. Demand to host a Dane was so great that four families had to share a Danish student for the week. For the majority of the week, the exchange students shadowed their American counterparts to class. However the Danes spent first period working with Mrs. Tammy Nelson’s senior class. The collaboration began a few weeks before the Danes’ arrival. Via e-mail and Facebook, American and Danish students began asking each other questions about culture, politics, religion, and that all important topic: teen life. At the end of the week, the two classes presented a Myth versus Fiction game which focused on some of the erroneous beliefs we have about each other’s cultures.

Throughout the week, the Danish students traveled to different North Carolinian attractions, including the Levine Museum of the South, a local tour of Waxhaw, and the Biltmore Estate. Though the trip to Asheville was a rainy one, the American host students and Danish students got to spend a great day together getting to know each other in the beautiful Appalachian mountains.

The Danes spent their evenings with the host families, experiencing the “real” American life of homework, sports, homework, clubs, and… homework. Many Danish students commented on the active lifestyle of the American teen. Sports and other extracurricular activity takes place out of school for students in Denmark. Sports clubs and music halls are popular throughout the country - but only outside the school’s doors.

Perhaps one of the biggest highlights for the Danish students was attending an American football game - yes can you believe it - there is NO football in Denmark. Their “futbol” is our soccer. A tailgate supper was provided by the senior class and the hard work of Ms. Rayan Tigani. After the meal, the Danes donned their new Cuthbertson sweatshirts and hit the field to present the game ball. What a fantastic experience to hear the shouts in two different languages, all cheering for our Cuthbertson players.

The week ended far too quickly. As parents and students drove into the Cuthbertson parking lot, tears were readily visible. No one wanted to say good-bye. Both parties were amazed at how fast they connected. Kate Campbell commented about her Danish student, “Gry fit into the family and instantly became like a sister.” After many hugs and promises of future visits, the Danes boarded the yellow bus headed back to the airport. Though the visit was just a mere week, most students, parents, and teachers agree that life-long friendships had been established.

And the promises were not made in vain. Several of our host students will be traveling to Denmark in April. This visit has made a profound impact on most of the students. Hannah Hewling is eagerly anticipating her visit to Denmark so she can “see Sofie’s family and how the Danes live their everyday lives.” Hannah is one of thirty-two students who will be traveling with Mr. Jackson, Ms. Ross, Ms. Thompson, and Mr. Carr to Copenhagen and Aarhus the week of April 16, 2012.


Written by: Mrs. Nelson and her Senior Honors class
Posted: Nov 16, 2011 by Paula White

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