By Vincent Roca
Every year Branford high school enrolls new transfer students. Some of these students come from different towns, others from different states, and one or two come from a different country. This year a student from Norway joined the sophomore class here at BHS. His name his Andreas Opsahl Ferstad, but most of the students call him Andrew. He is attending Branford high school for the year, while his mom is taking a sabbatical and teaching genetics to Yale University graduate students.
So far, he feels that his transition from Norway to America has been fairly smooth. He said the hardest part so far, “has been the language barrier.” Yet, for the most part, his English is clear to understand. He also noted that the way high school is run in America is significantly different from the way it is back in his hometown just south of Oslo. The school back in Norway is, “much smaller and they focus a lot more on math and science…the students are more…outgoing or they express themselves more than in Norway. There are more closed in groups in Norway.” When asked about the teacher and student dynamic in Norway he noted that, “In Norway you have to…stand up and say hello before every class and like honor a teacher and you have to pay attention more because they start the class right away.”
With his overall experience in America, he said some things are different and some things are the same. When specifically asked how he likes American food he replied saying, “What is American food? You have like all food from different countries, but just change a little bit.” Being asked even more specifically about hamburgers he said with a laugh, “They are good and different. I’m just not use to all the…fats.” Culturally, besides the cuisine, he told the Buzz that the biggest difference is, “the people and all the auto dealerships.” He explained that by people he meant diversity and that in Norway, “everyone is the same, and here everyone is different.” He also said car dealerships are not as common in Norway; everyone either walks or takes mass transports, “There are a lot more cars here.”
While at Branford this year, Andrew is running cross country and thinks he may do track. He also noted that he is, “going to try out different clubs to see what he likes.