Tim and Jill VanDerWal are pictured with Acke Arvidsson, their son, Ross, and daughter, Alison.

Swedish lad appreciates opportunity to study in Springfield

Acke Arvidsson of Sweden, is enjoying life on the farm and experiences at Springfield High School as an international student with the AFS program, but he didn’t care much for Minnesota winter weather. 

Celebrating his eighteenth birthday on March 23 during a Minnesota spring snowstorm was a “bit surprising,” he said during a recent interview. 

Sweden has winters with snow and cold, of course, “but not as cold as Minnesota,” says Acke.  Sweden is a Scandinavian nation of costal islands, inland lakes, forests and mountains and lies west of the Baltic Sea. Because of the warm Gulf Stream, the climate there can be much milder than one might expect. Spring, summer, fall and winter each have their own unique personalities. 

Acke’s home is in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden and most populous city in the Nordic countries, with a million people living in its municipality, so while life in our small community is very different, “It wasn’t a culture shock I thought it might be,” he admitted. 

The landscapes of Minnesota — the plains of southern Minnesota and the hills, lakes and trees of the north country —   are “pretty similar to Sweden, so it wasn’t such a big change,” he acknowledged. 

Acke is living with Tim and Jill VanDerWal and Ross on a farm near Sanborn.   He has the opportunity to observe two generations operating the family farm, and life with American grandparents, Ralph and Judi Weber, and a large extended family.   And he enjoys the times when the other VanDerWal children, Evan and Allison, are home.

 “I don’t do any farm work,” he said.  “I got to ride in the combine, and I’ve learned some things about farming . . . certainly a lot more than I knew; but most of it went in one ear and out the other,” he said, laughing. 

The best thing about living on a beef farm is good eating — the all-American burgers and steaks, of course.  He likes fruits and vegetables but prefers to eat them plain — raw or prepared without fancy fixings. “The foods (American and Swedish) are not really that different,” he said. 

Acke is enjoying the local culture.  The complete story can be found on the front page of this week's Springfield Advance-Press

Springfield Advance-Press

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