What’s the Tea on the New Swede?


Olivia Chewning

Hej from Sweden: Senior Douglas Dalén has come all the way from Stockholm, Sweden, to experience life as a North Atlanta Warrior.

By now I’m sure you’ve heard rumors of the mysterious Swedish foreign exchange student whose been wandering our halls in recent days. Well, the tea is, there is a new student named Douglas Dalén. He hails from Stockholm, Sweden, and he is starting his senior year at North Atlanta.

So you might be wondering what exactly our Nordic friend is all about. First of all, he has a rather Americanized music taste. He is a self proclaimed lover of rap and often expresses his fondness for artists such as Tyler the Creator and A$AP Rocky. Although this is his first time living as an exchange student, Dalén is no stranger to America. He has visited New York City on multiple occasions and has a particular fondness for its renowned street wear. “Certain clothing brands from here you just can’t get in Sweden,” he said.

Like so many of his European peers, he’s something of an extensive world traveler. He’s visited five continents including over half of the countries in Europe. “Who knows? Maybe I’ll even visit Antarctica one day,” Dalén said.

Despite his frequent travels, he does still miss a lot about his home country, namely the food. Although he is not a fan of traditional Swedish cooking, he says that, “Thai food in Sweden is on a whole other level. I can’t even explain it.”

Unsurprisingly, Douglas approaches American cuisine with caution and is often shocked by the sheer amount edible diabetes packed into all our food. Despite his aversions to the gluttonous Golden Arches, his admitted guilty pleasure is Chick-Fil-A.

Another thing that confuses him about America is the school system. You see, school in America is very different from school in his home country. Multiple choice tests and  homework are nonexistent. “I definitely like Swedish schooling more but that’s just because I’m used to it, I guess.” Dalén said.

While Dalén might seem naive to some of our country’s customs, he also noted a similar experiance with Americans and Swedish culture. “Most things about Sweden would probably surprise you,” he said. “I noticed that many of Americans haven’t been out of their country so a lot of misconceptions pop up. Swedish fish doesn’t exist in Sweden. IKEA is so different back home but Americans think it defines Swedish life when it really doesn’t.”

Just like Sweden, Douglas is a lot more than meets the eye. Many are quick to assume him to be mysterious and unapproachable, but in reality, he is just like any student at North Atlanta. He is more than his title of foreign exchange student. Douglas Dalén may not be from here, but once you get to know him, it feels like you’ve known him for years.