Sebastian Karlson
2012-13 Outbound to Norway

Hometown: Fleming Island, FL
School: Fleming Island High School
Sponsor: District 6970, FL
Host: District 2275, Norway, The Rotary Club of Sortland

Sebastian's Bio

Hi, my name is Sebastian Karlson. I am a freshman at Fleming Island High school and also a rotary youth exchange student. Next year I will be spending a year in Norway!

I have two siblings, both of them are older than me. My oldest one is my sister, who is 18 and a student at Texas A&M. I also have an older brother who is 16 and is spending the year in Thailand on an exchange with the rotary. I love to play soccer, I play for Fleming Island High School as well as the Clay County Soccer Club. I also enjoy just listening to music or going out with friends. And i also have a job! I am a referee for youth soccer games. There were two people who mainly influenced me on my decision to do an exchange. The first one was my first exchange student, his name was Eric and was from Sweden. Before we got Eric if you had asked me if I wanted to to an Exchange I would tell you never in a thousand years. But after having Eric I was really began thinking about applying to be an exchange student. The second person who really made me want this exchange was my brother. As I have mentioned earlier he is an exchange student in Thailand, and after talking to him and hearing him speak another language and seeing pictures of how much fun he is having and all of the new experiences he is having I knew I wanted this exchange more than anything! I am most exited about going to Norway because of the language, and the snow. I have never lived where it snows like it does in Norway.

Thank you Rotary Youth Exchange for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity!

Sebastian's Journals

November 2012

It's been a little over three months since I have arrived here in Norway, and I have loved every second of it. One massive difference I can think of right now is all of the snow! It started snowing around the 20th of October and it hasn't stopped since. And as I found out I am not very good at winter sports as I have never really seen snow before now. For instance skiing on the water in Florida is much different than skiing on the snow in Norway. On the subject of sports I have finally been cleared to play soccer for a team here in Norway, and I get to play in my first match on Sunday. I also do a lot of different sports here than just skiing and soccer, the class I am in at school is a sports class so we do a lot of different sports almost every day. Some of which I would not think of to be fun, but to my surprise was a blast! For example I've done gymnastics a few times since I started school here and enjoyed it quite a bit.

I must say I got extremely lucky with having such an amazing host family. I have a great host dad and host mom and awesome host siblings. In fact I have three host brothers, so I am never bored at home. I have also met and been in contact with my second host family quite a bit and they seem great as well, so like I said I got extremely lucky with the host families.

It's honestly hard to believe that I have already been here for three months as for I have constantly been doing stuff and time has flew! I have been to southern Norway for an inbound orientation camp and have also been to Tromsø, a city about five hours north of where I live right now. It's amazing that I live so far north now so yes it is extremely cold but also there are amazing Northern Lights here. I have seen the Northern Lights probably about five times now and once was with other exchange students that came to visit me.

July 9, 2013

Wow I'm really sorry to Rotary on how late this journal entry is. It is amazing how quick time flies by, my exchange is almost over here and it went so fast. I had such an amazing year though there has been much sorrow as well. My time was shortened one month do to my father's accident, but I can say I am happy to have returned to finish my exchange. If I hadn't I would have missed all these great experiences I've had since then.

For instance my class trip to Björkliden has been one of my favorite moments of the year. Here in Norway they do school trips right, instead of taking a bus to the Zoo or a museum they really out do themselves on school trips. Mine this year was with my class when we went to a ski resort in northern Sweden called Björkliden. The first day we arrived there we were split into groups and we had to make snow caves to sleep in over night. This I can honestly say was not my favorite part of the trip, the best part were the two days after, when we were just allowed to ski all day. This I think is definitely the best memory I will have of my Norwegian class.

After Björkliden things for me didn't slow down at all. About a week later my host family took me with them on a trip to Svalbard. Svalbard is the closest I ever see myself coming to the North Pole at 78 degrees North. The best part about Svalbard had to be the dog sledding. Before I came to Norway I'd of course wonder what I'd be doing here in Norway. And I knew I would probably end up doing a lot of skiing, but dog sledding? That I did not see myself doing, but I absolutely loved it!

I couldn't name one favorite part of my year, that's impossible! But I can definitely say that Eurotour is up there with the rest of the memories! The Norwegian Eurotour this year was like no other. It was truly amazing, instead of going to all the very touristy typical Eurotour cities in western Europe we went to eastern Europe! It was two weeks of traveling with some of the best people in the world, exchangers!

Overall I have had an absolutely fantastic year, a year I wouldn’t change a single part of. It hasn't been an easy year, I have faced many challenges whether it was age related, language problems, or the decision to return to Norway and finish my exchange or not. But I can happily say that I feel like I made the right decision and am proud to have completed my exchange here in Norway.