A well-rounded education, a successful 4-H career and a recent visit to Norway has Maggie Selzer poised and ready to continue her education at Bowling Green State University.
|Maggie Selzer learns to use saw in Norway (Photos provided)
The 2012 Eastwood High School graduate begins her freshman year on Monday as classes begin at BGSU.
Selzer spent one month of her summer in Norway as part of the 4-H/Norway exchange program.
It was such a rewarding experience for her, she was making plans for a return visit before she left.
"Norway is just beautiful," Selzer said of her visit noting the "completely different culture" of Europe.
Before leaving for Norway she learned her host family lived on a sheep farm. Upon arrival in Hønefoss, a town in Buskerud County, she discovered the farm had a total of five sheep. She said that Hønefoss translates to Hen Falls, named for the huge waterfall which is in the middle of the town.
The 10-year member of the Dowling Stitch, Stir and Stock 4-H Club explained she was aware of the 4-H exchange program through various students who had visited Eastwood over the years. She had been considering the prospect after her family hosted a woman from Japan.
While at BGSU she will be pursuing a foreign language degree, studying both Spanish and German. The obvious question is with an interest in those languages, how did she end up choosing to visit Norway?
When applying to visit a foreign country, her options were Australia, Japan or Norway. She chose Norway, in part, because the language is similar to German.
Her stay in the Scandinavian country included one week at a Nordic Camp with 4-H members from across the country, along with the others visiting from the U.S.
As a veteran of the Wood County 4-H Camp, including service as a camp counselor, she was surprised at the vast differences in the camps.
First, they stayed in tents, not cabins. Selzer also noted it was common for the "older" males and females to share the same tent.
|Maggie Selzer poses with a Viking boat.
"There was more freedom to do what you'd like to do," she said, adding, "there was so much more activities outdoors."
The Norwegian and American students exchanged knowledge of each others' games. When the Norwegians told them about the "Duck, Duck" game, Selzer thought they had found a common game.
"It was more like Duck, Duck, Hug," she said. "Instead of chasing each other around the circle, you would run in opposite directions and hug each other when you met."
She was a also a bit surprised at the various tricks she learned in a six-hour canoe class.
"There was a big focus on going backwards. I also learned how to turn faster," she said.
The counselor in her said she might incorporate some of the canoe lessons learned at her home camp, but said there was no way the lesson would last six hours.
Among the more unusual activities at the camp, Selzer learned how to use, and then competed in a cross saw competition at camp. She admitted to not excelling in that event.
She also competed in an "American Idol"-style contest. "I scored 20 in the, just one point from making the semifinals," she said.
The language barrier was not a tremendous problem as many Norwegian youth learn English.
"There were some funny parts in miscommunication," she said.
Her host parents were rusty from not using their English in some time, but they adjusted.
She shared how her host parents referred to a trip to a "cabin" coming out as a trip to a "cabbage."
A bicycle trip was an adventure as she spoke of "a few mishaps" with the bicycles which were taller than what she was used to.
"The brakes were different, the gears were different, it was a challenge," she said.
They also had to negotiate around pedestrians and only one of their bicycles had a bell.
"We just cried out 'ring, ring' as if you had a bell," she added.
Upon her return, she missed the first day of the Wood County Fair, then proceeded to confuse her friends as she casually dropped Norwegian phrases into her conversation out of habit.
She is the daughter of John and Mary Selzer.
Her mother was confident and not overly concerned at all about her daughter's trip.
"She has the travel bug. She is pretty mature and is able to handle things well," her mother noted.
With her experience in the Eastwood choir, various plays and six musicals, her role as the "voice of the Eagle Marching Band" during half-time shows, her Quiz Bowl experience, her 4-H background including a leadership project and two projects that advanced to the Ohio State Fair, along with her recent trip to Norway, this well-rounded young lady is ready for college.
Both Selzer and her mother praised the organization in its coordination of her trip and recommend others to get involved.
Young people interested in traveling overseas or families interested in hosting someone from around the world should contact the local volunteer coordinator, LeAnn Hall, at (419) 966-0631 or visit www.ohio4h.org/youth/international.