International Warrior: Ebba Sjoberg‘s High School Journey from Sweden to America  


Exchanging Views: Junior exchange student Ebba Sjoberg has exchanged her secondary-level “gymnasium” in her home country of Sweden for North Atlanta High School, Atlanta’s largest high school.

With the 2021-2022 school year in full swing, North Atlanta has welcomed Ebba Sjoberg, a junior from Sweden who has already made a huge impact among her peers. International students at NAHS have brought much joy to the school’s student body for years, bringing in their different perspectives and cultures, adding to our already diverse population. Students have been very kind and accepting toward her as she navigates through the 11-story building. Without missing a beat she has quickly taken heed to the upbeat school environment and has embraced her new community with open arms. 

Sjoberg lived in Saltsjobaden which is a small village prized with a seashore view and located near Sweden’s capital, Stockholm. So there’s no wonder that reality hit her like a ton of bricks when she touched down on Georgia soil. The bright city lights of downtown Atlanta skyscrapers make for an amazing view at night. However, there’s no competition when it comes to home and the sense of normalcy she once had which is now just a memory. “When I came here I was like ‘wow I’m going to be here for a year away from my friends and family,’” said Sjoberg.

As she settled into her new home 4,776 miles away from her familiar town, she found herself being homesick, which had surprised her. America is a diverse place with many cultures, and she was not sure how to approach this new experience. “When I got here I really didn’t have expectations and was ready for this new experience,” she said. 

In addition to learning English, she also had to become accustomed to the Southern accents of native Georgians. Not to mention in her village all the girls look the same with their blonde hair and blue eyes. It has definitely been an eye opener to see so many new faces and engage in different dialogue that she would not find in Sweden. “Soon I’ll have a southern accent and start using new words like ‘y’all,’” Sjoberg said.

School in Sweden is called “gymnasium,” and it equates to three years of high school. There she enjoyed the company of her friends even though the work was difficult she learned so much. Typically in Sweden students go to school to study and do sports at home. That makes being a part of extracurricular activities like running cross country more rewarding. The celebration of homecoming and sports games is what makes school thrilling, right?

Although she is not here with her parents she is staying at a family friend’s house while she attends high school. Unfortunately, her journey at NAHS will come to an end at the end of this year when she goes back to Sweden for two more years of high school. The moment she leaves will be bittersweet, but with the memories and the knowledge that she gains one thing is for certain: she’ll be a Warrior for life.