Norse student finds Americans more talkative

Maren Ingebrigtsen
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“Americans are much more outgoing and talkative. Norwegians are more shy and stay to themselves,” was the way Maren Ingebrigtsen of Bergen, Norway, summed up her initial impression of Americans.

Maren is a foreign exchange student at Fillmore Central High School this school year. She is staying with the Chris and Carrie Mensink family of Preston.

Coming from a city of 250,000 people to living and studying in a rural setting like Fillmore County is quite a change. But Maren said she is really enjoying the experience.

“My friends were so happy for me when they heard I would be leaving for America, but they were sad too, because they said they would miss me,” she shared.

Maren has two sisters, one who is 20 and the other who is 13. Her mother is the dean of students at a junior high school in Bergen and her father is an engineer for the international corporation, Simmons.

Maren said she participated in the club sport of handball in Norway. This fall she was a member of the Falcon volleyball team and plans to play basketball this winter. She is also a member of the Fillmore Central choir.

Alpine skiing and hanging out with friends were two of her favorite pastimes back home. She noted that most of the movies, TV shows and music she and her friends enjoy in Norway are American-produced. “We do have some Norwegian music, but for the most part, it’s American,” she added.

Being Norwegian, Maren was surprised the first time she traveled to Spring Grove and saw all the Norwegian flags. And while dining at McDonalds in Decorah she couldn’t believe her native flag was being displayed there as well. Taking in the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah is something Maren plans to do sometime during her stay in the United States.

The upcoming elections that are ramping up into a crescendo are something new for Maren. She said they have elections every four years in Norway but the candidates aren’t so active. She said there isn’t such a huge difference between the various political parties in Norway. And Americans seem to get much more wrapped up in political parties.