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Moving Abroad - Meet Emelie

Emelie Beckman, C'25

Emelie in a track and field competition

Hi everyone! My name is Emelie Beckman. I am a sophomore majoring in both Communication Studies and English, which is ironic considering that this will only be my second year living in an English-speaking country. 

I was born and raised in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. For those who are not sure where exactly Sweden is located (no judgment, of course), here is a map for you:

Sweden and US on a map

The orange country is of cource the US and the tiny green one is Sweden.

As you might see, we are almost as far north as you can go. Part of the country is considered part of the North Pole. This means that Maryland weather has been delightful for me so far.

Since first coming to the Mount, the one question I have been asked over and over again is why I am here of all places. Well, not to disappoint, but I suppose the answer is pretty boring. I am here because I am a pole vaulter, and the Mount has a good track and field program. At least that’s what I said those first couple of times of being asked. In Sweden, competing in a sport while studying at university can be very complicated. Hence many young athletes, such as myself, choose to go abroad, especially to the United States, where athletes have better resources and opportunities.

My first couple of months here were exhausting. I was exposed to many new things. I felt lost almost constantly. I remember having been met with laughter from my roommates when I first asked them why tampons in America looked so weird, not realizing that what I was holding was just the applicator (note: European tampons do not have applicators). This is just one example. The food was different. The people talked to each other more, and everyone asked, "How are you?" with the conditioned response being, "Good, how about you?" I felt very out of place. But it was all so exciting. I was in a constant state of curiousness and I kept asking seemingly stupid questions about America to anyone willing to give me an answer.

With some time, I have grown used to America, and my initial confusion has partly left me. I feel more accustomed to this country and this community, although I still encounter moments of shock or confusion. What has been so infinitely valuable about moving to a new country is how it has made me open-minded. I am sure that everyone, no matter what kind of a person they are, has their ideas of what other countries and other people are like. Likewise, I had many ideas of what America was like, both good and bad. But coming here has made me realize there is so much more to this country than I initially thought, and I have learned and changed so much because of this.

So, I’m still growing and trying to navigate this culture, which the Mount is helping me with. During this semester, I will continue working on my double majors, compete for the track team, and try to complete my writing for this blog on time. In this blog, if you have not guessed already, I am inviting you to join me on my college journey. I will share with you what it is like to be an international student-athlete. I hope you will enjoy it.

In these blogs, I will also try to include a quick lesson in my native language, Swedish, for those interested. This way, I hope no one will complain about my non-native English writing.

Todays Lesson: Basic Greetings

Basic Swedish phrases are good to know if you travel to Sweden, other then that Swedish is a useless language in a worldwide setting as only Swedes speak it. But it is fun!

Hi - Hej

Bye - Hejdå

How are you? - Hur mår du?

Good! - Bra!

Emelie Beckman, C'25