The Timberline Paw Print

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The Timberline Paw Print

The Timberline Paw Print

Timberline’s Foreign Footprints Making a Home in our Wolf Den

A Swedish Perspective on the Wolfpack
Bruno+Mechouk
Photo by: Regann Morgan
Bruno Mechouk

We have multiple foreign exchange students here at Timberline. I was able to catch up with one of them: Bruno Mechouk Uddenberg from Stockholm, Sweden. He is a junior at Timberline High School this year and we are so excited to welcome him into the Wolfpack. We know how important it is to understand our world through the eyes of multiple perspectives, and our foreign exchange students offer us a great opportunity to gain insights into both countries. We talked about some differences that he has noticed between America and Sweden. 

One of the main differences Mechouk notes is how social we are in America, compared to Sweden. “It may seem to Americans that Swedish people don’t like each other because they don’t talk with each other, it’s just not how they are. People in America are a lot more social,” said Mechouk. He also thinks it’s interesting how dependent we are on cars. In Sweden, they have an amazing public transit system that they use to go everywhere or they can just walk wherever they need to go.

I learned a lot about what it’s like in Swedish education from Mechouk. He says they are much more strict in Sweden about deadlines and turning in assignments. The priorities are much different, and while you have the right to free and public education, you also have to apply to go to high school, which means without good grades and good behavior, you may go to the worst school around without any choice about it. The courses he takes in Sweden include English, Finance/Economics, History, Swedish, Social Studies, Math, Nature Science, Religion Science, French or Spanish. Whereas here in America, we get more choices of electives and do not have to take a foreign language. Among these, I wondered what Religion Science was all about. “Religion Science is learning about all different religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, etc. The government used to be Christian, but now we have the freedom to choose our beliefs,” Mechouk said. 

The day-to-day school life also differs in Sweden in terms of schedules. Schools are open from 8 am to 4 pm. Your schedule changes daily with the expectation of passing 17 classes a year. Your schedule is created by the school, without any choice. Bruno stays with all of the same people from class to class, and the government controls the curriculum, not the teachers. The grades are on an A-F scale, with A-E being a pass, while F is the only failing score. Classes range from 35 minutes to 2 hours, but they are all different. Most of the time classes with experiments or action research are longer classes.

Mechouk said that he loves the outdoors and how close we are to the mountains. In Sweden, he is far from the mountains, but enjoys skiing. He loves how Idahoans can be closer to nature, rather than living in a big city like Seattle. Bruno lives in a big capital city: Stockholm. Stockholm is by the sea and many people go fishing, but Mechouk doesn’t enjoy that. “I love exploring the restaurants and the beautiful architecture there,” said Mechouk. “I grew up in Stockholm which is the capital of Sweden. It’s different from Idaho, in that to transport a bike into the city it is hard because my family doesn’t have a car, so I have to take it to the subway from my apartment. Here, you can just jump on your bike and go. I like how you can hunt and mountain bike, and you are closer to nature in Idaho,” said Mechouk.

Mechouk continues to distinguish the differences between American and Swedish education. “My grades and credits won’t transfer back to Sweden. So I’m only taking fun classes. I am required to take English and US history.” Lastly, he told me what the main thing he liked about Timberline was: “The people…the teachers are so good, especially Mrs. Jones,” said Mechouk. Once a wolf, always a wolf… we are so glad to welcome students like Bruno Uddenberg Mechouk into our forever pack.

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About the Contributor
Regann Morgan
Regann Morgan, Staff Reporter
Hi, my name is Regann Morgan, and this year is my first on the Timberline news staff. I'm a reporter this year and I like to take photos and have been doing it for about 5 years now.  I like to take photos, go spend time with family, and cars. In the future, I want to go to college and get my medical degree. After I get  my degree, I want to go and join the military.`
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