From Stockholm to Steamboat

Swedish students visit for three weeks through exchange

— Oskar Nygren walked carefully -- with jittery, dancing steps -- down a hallway Tuesday at Steamboat Springs Middle School.

But the student from Sweden was not treading lightly because he was in a foreign country, or because he was in a new school, or because he had just stood in front of everybody in that school for nearly 15 minutes at a morning assembly.

He was walking that way because of a movie.

"I just saw, how do you say it in English, 'As Good as it Gets' -- you can't walk on any cracks!" Oskar said with a smile, referring to a movie in which Jack Nicholson's neurotic lead character, Melvin, avoids walking on cracks in sidewalks.

Some things transcend borders.

Oskar and seven other Swedish students fit in at the middle school Tuesday, when they were introduced in an assembly that included their national anthem, gave presentations to sixth-graders about Swedish culture and answered questions about their lives in a country about 5,000 miles from Steamboat.

The students arrived Feb. 22 and are here for three weeks as part of an exchange program at the middle school that has been going on for 11 years and, in April, will send eight Steamboat eighth-graders to the Swedish city of Sollentuna, about 15 minutes from the capital of Stockholm.

After arriving last week, eight students from a city near Stockholm, Sweden, are visiting Steamboat Springs as part of an exchange program. They are staying with the families of eighth-grade students at Steamboat Springs Middle School. In April, the Steamboat students will go to Sweden and stay with the family of the student they hosted.

Here is a list of the pairs, with the American student on the left and the Swedish student on the right:

Mia Quick - Emilie LfquistHanna Kurowski -- Nadia FeshariCharlotte Letson -- Sara HolmbergKathleen Dobell -- Ida JohanssonLucas Stover -- Oskar NygrenDylan Pivarnik -- Rickard BorgstrmIan Anderson -- David OlovssonDavid Mucklow -- Carl Vikberg

In that city, Steamboat students will stay with the families of the students that their families are hosting now, a cultural swap that middle school counselor Margi Briggs-Casson said is an invaluable opportunity. "Our school is so lucky," said Briggs-Casson, this year's sponsor of the program. She will travel to Sweden with the Steamboat students, whom she said have been preparing for the exchange since summer.

"They've been taking Swedish lessons every Wednesday morning, learning about Swedish culture and working very hard to prepare their presentations," she said.

Tuesday morning, the Swedish students gave PowerPoint lessons about Sweden to Heidi Chapman-Hoy's sixth-grade world geography class.

After learning about the Swedish royal family, the neighborhoods and attractions of Stockholm and Swedish author Astrid Lindgren -- who wrote books including "Pippi Long--stocking" -- Steamboat sixth-grader Ryan Allen was hooked.

"Do you have to be able to speak Swedish to go?" Ryan asked Chapman-Hoy. "Would I be able to go?"

The Swedish students will have a busy three weeks.

Activities during their trip include tubing and skiing at Steamboat Ski Area; visits to a ranch, Steamboat Lake, the Tread of Pioneers museum and Strawberry Park Hot Springs; ice skating and enjoying "wing night" at the Tap House Sports Grill.

--To reach Mike Lawrence call 871-4203 or e-mail

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