Second year at CMR proves to be right choice for Sweden’s Kajsa Backman

Second year at CMR proves to be right choice for Sweden’s Kajsa Backman

Haley Mortenson, Staff Writer

When most exchange students leave Great Falls at the end of the year, it’s a sad experience not knowing if they will ever return to Central Montana.
For 18-year-old Kajsa Backman, however, the end-of-the-year goodbye was easy because she knew she’d be back in only a few short months.
“When I left last year I felt like I wasn’t really done,” Backman, a native of Sweden, said. “I’d started to make good friendships and get into life here. It would have been like starting something and not really finishing it.”
Backman first considered returning to CMR for a second year last February, and several months later she made her plans to return.
Her father lives in New York City, and her mother resides in Sweden. Backman will graduate with a CMR diploma this spring. She said she will probably return to Sweden for higher education, but at this point she is unsure.
Since returning to Montana in August, she has continued to discover new things about this country.
“I’ve met a ot of new friends and I’ve gotten to experience a lot of different things,” she said. “I’m not afraid to scream across the hallway if I see someone I know, which I used to be.”
Backman is certainly more outgoing and outspoken this time around. She said she has become more accustomed to life in the United States, including adjusting to American accents.
“It’s always fun when people tell me I’ve lost my accent, even though I don’t really believe them,” she said.
Backman encourages students to experience what she has.
“Everyone should take a chance to go experience a foreign country, and Canada dioes not count,” Backman said. “You learn so much, not just about yourself but about another country. You become so much more open minded, and you have so much fun.”