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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • Exchange student adjusting to small-town life

  • When foreign exchange student Christopher Hallden departed from Stockholm, Sweden, earlier this summer, he left big town life behind. Hallden admitted arriving in a community with 5,000 people was a bit of a shock, but he said he is adjusting to his new life.
    “You really stand out here,” he said, adding he finds the people to be far more personal here.
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  • When Christopher Hallden departed from Stockholm, Sweden, earlier this summer, he left big town life behind.
    Stockholm, Hallden said, is the biggest city in Sweden with a population exceeding 1.5 million.
    When Hallden arrived in Minnesota and traveled to Redwood Falls, his home away from home for the next several months, he began a small town life experience.
    Hallden admitted arriving in a community with 5,000 people was a bit of a shock, but he said he is adjusting to his new life.
    “You really stand out here,” he said, adding he finds the people to be far more personal here.
    Hallden, who arrived Aug. 4 and is staying with the Brent and Cathy Prouty family, had been in the U.S. in the past, as he said he had visited Chicago a few years ago.
    He also spent a couple of weeks in Rhode Island taking part in a language program in an effort to improve his English before his exchange ex-perience would begin.
    Although Hallden ad-mitted he did not know a lot about Minnesota before arriving, he did say he knows a lot of Swed-ish immigrants ended up in the state.
    As a student at RVHS, Hallden is taking a variety of classes including English, strength and conditioning, speech, Spanish and band.
    Hallden, who has studied English for much of his education also has spent five years learning Spanish.
    Despite that he admitted going from Swedish to English to Spanish can get a little confusing at times.
    Having band in school is a unique experience for Hallden who has been playing music for much of his life.
    “My dad played music and he taught me first how to play guitar,” Hallden said, adding he also plays piano and violin.
    As a member of the band, Hallden is part of the percussion section playing instruments such as the xylophone.
    Outside of the classroom, Hallden is also involved in athletics as a member of the football team, which is a new experience for him. What is not going to be a new experience is hockey, and Hallden said he is looking forward to the chance to play that this winter.
    “I have been playing hockey since I was four years old,” he said, adding he can play any position with the exception of goalie. He prefers to play left wing.
    The son of Stefan and Ann-Mari said there were a number of reasons why he decided to take part in the student exchange program.
    “I wanted to get away from my ordinary life and do something fun,” said Hallden. “This gave me a good opportunity to do that.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Naturally, he is also hoping to improve his English while he is in the U.S.
    Later this year, Hallden’s family is planning to travel to the U.S., and he is hoping to do some traveling before he goes home next year. Like many exchange students, the classes Hallden is taking do not count toward graduation, but he believes in the end the experience is going to be worth it.
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