Lucas Majgaard Is Welcomed To The Den!

From Denmark to Dryden: Exchange Student Lucas Majgaard Is Welcomed To The Den!
Posted on 10/28/2022
Lucas Majgaard and Travis Crocker smile for the camera!

This summer, Dryden High School Science Teacher, Travis Crocker, began preparing to welcome a new member to his household. After many plane rides and meetings with Rotary International arrived Lucas Majgaard, an exchange student from Denmark.  These past few months have opened both Crocker and Majgaard up to new cultural experiences, perspectives, and the mutual excitement of a new adventure this year. 


As a host, Crocker shared that this has been a whole new experience for him and his family, as they have never had an exchange student before. After his son graduated from Dryden High School in 2021 and headed off to college, there was an open room available in his house. In combination with the coronavirus, there was not only a gap physically, but a gap in cultural experiences among students in Dryden as well. “I think with Covid-19, the school missed having different kinds of students and perspectives,” he explained, ” We have this global experience showing we are tied together. It has been satisfying and gratifying in terms of having a different perspective on cultures and things with Lucas here.”


Throughout Majgaards time in Dryden, he will be placed with three different families. Cathy Wakeman, a representative for Rotary International (a humanitarian service organization and facilitator for the foreign exchange process), visits regularly to make sure that both students as well as host families mutually benefit from this international experience. When asked what has been the most rewarding aspect so far, Crocker responded, “The cultural piece for sure. We are learning about a part of the world that my family has never been to. It is surprising that we both are as similar as we are. Things I have experienced in the U.S. he has experienced in Denmark.” One of the main reasons he believed Majgaard would truly enjoy his stay was due to the Dryden community as a whole. “I made this choice because of this community. The best thing about the Dryden community is the people. The way the football team and school has embraced him, especially the coaches, staff, and the parents. They mean it when they say these kids are really all of our kids.” 


Majgaard's favorite thing about the U.S. is the sports. “I can really tell that football is more important here than it is in Denmark. I love the sports here and the community, the team is so welcoming,” says the 11th-grader, “The football community, the coaches, and I really see each other as family. If someone needs help, everyone wants to help each other. They have been really supportive.” Majgaard’s uniform sports lucky number seven, as he hits the field playing wide receiver and defensive back. He is the only exchange student in Dryden Central School District’s history who has scored points for the Lions as a kicker in addition to his other positions. He has scored four points total so far this season. 


Altogether, there are  pros and cons when traveling to a new location. The culture, food, traditions and more. When it comes to American food, Majgaard has quite the sweet tooth, “I really like the U.S. candy. I don’t really have a favorite, but I love everything with sugar in it. Good thing I play sports,” he jokes. In the month of October, between celebrating homecoming football and Halloween, Majgaard is sure to have a blast. 


School in the United States is where most differences lie for the exchange student. In Denmark, typically teachers will change classrooms as opposed to students. Subjects are taught as an overall topic, for instance, in Denmark a teacher will educate students on math, but in the U.S. kids can learn about algebra, geometry, trigonometry, ect. Majgaard states that his favorite subject in Denmark is physical education, while at Dryden it is U.S. history. 


The school system in Denmark has grades from zero to nineth. Then a student is to attend high school for three years after. The average age of someone who graduates from high school is between 19-22 years old. After graduating, Majgaard would like to study design. Denmark is the birthplace of the LEGO company, located in the town of Billund. In his school, all ninth-graders get to work with an organization within the community. Majgaard got to visit the LEGO headquarters with a friend, learning about the process of design and engineering, which piqued his interest as a possible career choice. 


All and all, living in a new place can be a powerful experience for students to look beyond themselves and see what is really out there. Advice Majgaard would give other exchange students looking to experience a new country is to not have expectations. “You really have to throw all of your expectations away because what happens will be totally different then what you are expecting,” he says. When asked if he recommends if other students should participate  in this experience he smiles saying, “I 100% recommend other students live abroad. I think everyone should have this opportunity to see the world.”