From Norway, with love

Foreign exchange student Netteberg is gymnast at South; has enjoyed Sheboygan

by Dave Boehler
Beacon Sports Editor

LEA NETTEBERG is a foreign exchange student from Norway who is on South’s gymnastics team. – Submitted photo

Lea Netteberg wanted to give volleyball a shot when she arrived from Norway, but tryouts were already held at South.

So the 17-year-old foreign exchange student was told by the athletic department to give swimming a try.

“I want to say yes to everything, because I want the most out of this experience,” she said. “I think it was fun. The girls were very nice and I got some new friends.”

She did not have to ask for advice on a winter sport, however, because she had some experience in her current sport.

“And I’m not really good with a basketball, so I just tried gymnastics,” Netteberg said.

The balance beam and vault are what Netteberg has been working on with coach Kristen Buschke.

“She smiles a lot and is very happy,” Buschke said. “It’s hard with a foreign-exchange student at first because you don’t know what they all know terminology-wise in gymnastics.

“So I’d say, ‘if you have no idea what I’m talking about, just tell me.’ A couple of times she’d say she didn’t understand, but she always had a smile on her face. She’s very easy to talk to and coach.”

Netteberg, who lives near Oslo, had an aunt who was also a foreign-exchange student and told her studying abroad was ‘super cool.’

So Netteberg followed in her footsteps and was told by AFS Intercultural Programs her place of residence for this school year would be in Sheboygan.

One of the first things she did was look online for pictures and things to do.

“It looked similar to where I live in Norway,” Netteberg said. “So it wasn’t like a big change. It was a relief.”

And it did not take her very long to learn how to spell her new city.

“Because I always think about ‘she’ and ‘boy’ and ‘gan,” Netteberg said. “So it wasn’t that hard.”

Getting used to how flat this part of the state is was a bit tricky at first, however.

“All the roads are so big. You can’t see the end of the road because it’s so flat and long,” she said.

A couple of other differences are teenagers have to be 18 to obtain their driver’s license in Norway and they only attend high school there for three years.

Netteberg, who might compete on the track and field team in the spring, has already visited the Mall of America in Minnesota since she’s been here.

“It was really big,” she said. “There’s a theme park inside of the mall.”

There was also a road trip to see a museum in Milwaukee.

“That was pretty cool,” Netteberg added.

LEA NETTEBERG (right) and another foreign exchange student from Switzerland tour Lambeau Field recently. – Submitted photo

And what trip to Wisconsin does not include a tour of Lambeau Field in Green Bay?

“That is also like really, really big,” she said.

Netteberg went with another foreign-exchange student, even though she had never heard of the Packers.

“I don’t usually watch sports,” she said. “My family is not a sports family. Maybe I would’ve known them if my family was into sports.”

Nonetheless, seeing the field from inside a suite – or what Netteberg called a ‘box’ – was worth the trip.

“That was pretty cool to look out,” she said.

It’s just one of the many reasons Netteberg says she’s glad to be in Sheboygan and have this experience for an entire school year.

“It’s peaceful and not like a scary place,” she said. “People are nice. I love the lake. It’s really pretty.”

Categories: Sports

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