Student Spotlight: Erika Hoiden

Norwegian exchange student comes to Melissa for year


Foreign exchange student Erika Hoiden from Norway poses for a photo in front of the Lincoln Memorial with her host family.

Chloe Walton, Social Media & Graphics Editor

After only being in America for a few months, Norwegian exchange student Erika Mathilde Rolland Hoiden is very proud of being a Texan. She is from Oslo, Norway, and is extremely excited to be here in Melissa, Texas.

“The school was very different from what I imagined and what I’m used to,” Erika said. “I love the school spirit and sports here.”

Only after a couple of months, 17-year-old Hoiden, has already made many friends here at Melissa and has adjusted quickly to life at an American high school.

“Teachers are very friendly–almost like they want to be our friend and I’m not used to that,” Erika said.

She has gone out of her comfort zone to participate in school programs such as The Banner News and attends the local church with her host family.

“I like my host family a lot,” Erika said. “They are very sweet and loving people. They have just welcomed me in an amazing way so I feel very safe with them.”

She has a host brother and sister who are 8 and 9 years old, with whom she loves spending time.

As one can probably imagine, moving across the country alone is very scary and can cause a lot of homesickness.

“It is really difficult being so far away from my family,” Erika said. “I still miss my parents a lot and my friends at home, but I try to talk to them to help with my homesickness. It helps being busy here. One day I would love to bring my parents here to Texas. The hardest part is being away from my parents and my 16-year-old brother. We are very close.”

From the differences in the use of ice cubes to how strangers act, according to Hoiden, life in America is drastically different from life in Norway.

“It has been different in many ways here in America,” Erika said. “People drive a lot more here. The cars are way bigger. The food is different, more fried food, way more fast food. The grocery stores are way bigger, and I love to go grocery shopping here because of that. There are a lot of big and small things that make it different, but it’s cool.”

She says her routine is very different here in America and that she has more responsibilities like doing her laundry and vacuuming her room.

“My personal life has changed so much,” Erika said. “At home I would take the subway to school. I was way more independent and I didn’t have to rely on someone taking me to school.”

Though moving to Texas has been a major change for Hoiden, she has persevered through the challenges and is living her best life here in America.