Living abroad: Local family welcomes student from Denmark
Published 7:00 am Saturday, October 3, 2015
For some, traveling to another country will always remain a dream, unattainable for one reason or another.
But for students who participate in the Rotary Club Youth Exchange, visiting a foreign land can become a reality.
Picayune Rotary Club Youth Exchange officer Bertha Page said this is the first year the club has hosted and sent a student to another country.
Bradley Booth, a senior at Pearl River Central High School, is currently attending school in India, Page said.
In July, Mark and Natalie Glorioso welcomed 16-year-old Kalle Johansen from Denmark into their home.
This is the family’s first time hosting an exchange student, but not their first experience welcoming young people into their home.
In addition to their children Stefanie, Sam and Michael, the couple provided food and shelter to teenagers from dysfunctional families when they lived in Texas.
“We had an agreement with the parents to provide a stable house hold for them,” Natalie said. “God also provided us with a big house and he was filling those rooms up for us.”
Although Kalle will not be staying with the Glorioso family for the duration of his stay, Natalie said he has stepped right into their family.
Kalle is attending Pearl River Central High School and Natalie said it has been fun to watch him get to know the lifestyle here.
“He got to attend homecoming, which they don’t have in Denmark,” Natalie said. “It’s a great experience for him to come to America. He’s an enjoyable, nice young man.”
Natalie said Denmark’s educational system is different than the American one.
Prior to his adventures abroad, Kalle had completed the ninth grade and taken three years of physics, French and calculus and is fluent in English.
Kalle said he found out from a friend about the program and applied on the deadline date. He said it took a lot or work and paperwork. He also had to perform two 10-to-15-minutes presentations about himself.
“Denmark is a small country and I wanted to experience something else,” Kalle said. “I wanted to start over with new friends, family, location and become fluent in another language.”
Kalle Skypes with his parents, Jens and Pernille, and younger brother, Bertram, every Sunday.
Kalle was born and raised in Hareskov, Denmark a little town close to a forest. His mom, who is divorced from Kalle’s father, still lives there and Kalle’s father resides in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark.
“I really love the capital city,” he said. “It’s got lots of character and filled with old and modern buildings. There are no skyscrapers and it feels very open. In my mom’s town, there’s a lot more nature and greenery. I bike past the forest to go to school. It’s not a big country, but it has lots of character.”
Kalle is in the 10th grade at PRC High School and said he is enjoying his experience. The kids are nice and good people, he said. He is playing soccer, which is something he doesn’t play in Denmark.
Kalle has also noticed some differences in the school systems.
In Denmark, Kalle has been in the same class with the same 20 students for the past 10 years. Here, he said, there are different people in each class period, which is also different because the students stay in one classroom during the day in his home country.
“The teachers here are less tolerant to being foolish in class,” Kalle said. “They are more relaxed in Denmark. But I kind of like the strictness more because they care about how you’re doing.”
In addition to attending school and making new friends, Kalle also has responsibilities to the local Rotary Club.
He attends monthly meetings, Page said. As his CYEO, Page visits the home and Kalle also attends field trips.
Kalle said the program has provided him with a good family, good events and the experience of being social and making new friends. He said the Gloriosos are like his second family.
Mark said Kalle is a phenomenal young man, the cream of the crop and a positive influence to every one he meets.
Kalle is an extremely talented musician and even started playing drums with their band, he said. They also do many things as a family.
“I want Kalle to remember that we’ve only got one life and you’ve got to make it fun while it lasts,” Mark said. “I want him to see and I think he does see the importance of family and doing everything together.”
Family is family, whether they’re in Denmark or America, Natalie said.
Both Kalle’s parents work in the medicine field and he plans to follow in their footsteps one day, or pursue something science or physics related.
“I have a lot of choices,” he said. “This program is going to have a great impact on my life. It’s so much better to have a broader view of how the world looks versus just living in Denmark. I’m will more mature, independent and know people who can help me in the future.”