Christopher Glad, an exchange student at Virgin Valley High School, hails from Denmark. He is a part of the Bulldogs soccer team. Photo by Lou Martin.

Fyn (Funen) gave the world Hans Christian Andersen, who became one of the greatest writers of all time. Now the island of Fyn has given Mesquite Christopher Glad, a strapping 6’2” 15 year old young man from Denmark.

Glad, an exchange student arrived in July to spend the next year studying at Virgin Valley High School. The trip, a gift from his parents, was a dream fulfilled as Glad expressed that he always wanted to see and study in America.

“I come from a family of four including my parents and an older brother,” said Glad. “My parents run a business in Odense, the third largest city in Denmark. A friend told me about the exchange program, so when my parents asked what I wanted as a gift prior to going on to higher education, I said I wanted to go to America.”

It seems that in Denmark, parents offer gifts of travel to their children, who are considered adults at 14 years of age. “We are not guided by time schedules when we go out in the evening,” Glad explained.

“I spent a few days in New York with other exchange students before coming to Mesquite,” added Glad. “The first thing I noticed of course in Mesquite was the heat. The town itself is much smaller than Odense and everyone gets around in cars. I was surprised when new friends pick me up to do things in cars. Denmark and its cities are known as bike cities. I get around everywhere in Odense, a city of 350,000 people on my bicycle.

“There are more fast food outlets here. In Denmark we enjoy rye bread as a staple. One of the most enjoyable aspects I am amazed of in Mesquite is its peaceful nature. In Denmark we are more aware of crime, mainly burglaries. Our home has been broken into.”

When asked of the difference in education Glad said “Our curriculum is harder in Denmark. We are obligated to go to school for only nine years before going on to higher education. I noticed that I finish my homework before I leave school. Math for example is all variations, including algebra, geometry, calculus and others.”

Since I was interviewing Glad on the soccer fields, I asked how he found soccer at VVHS. He responded, “the system is different. You pass the ball more often than we do in Denmark. Your field is wider and the heat takes its toll. I was so excited to score a goal in the upset last week. In Denmark we have one forward, here you have two.”

I wished Chris well knowing that he will be a great asset to the VVHS soccer team as well a good example of Danish youth studying in the U.S.