Ballin’: Daniel Huseby bonding with basketball during Winifred stay

Charlie Denison

Daniel Huseby of Moss, Norway is having a great experience as a foreign exchange student in Winifred for three reasons: basketball, corn dogs and loose-fitting jeans.
Photo by Charlie Denison

Basketball, corn dogs and loose-fitting jeans.

For Daniel Huseby of Moss, Norway (45 minutes outside Oslo), these are the three things that have made his experience as a foreign exchange student in Winifred exceptional.

First and foremost, it is basketball that takes the cake.

“Basketball is so much fun,” he said last week during the District 8-C Basketball Tournament. “I’m the tallest kid on the team. They don’t let me dribble. I just post up and try to make baskets.”

Having little to no experience playing basketball before this journey to America, Daniel said he’s learned a lot, and much is thanks to his Roy-Winifred teammates, the coaching staff and his host parents Joe and Edie Leavengood, who also happen to be die-hard San Antonio Spurs fans.

“[Joe] has pretty much turned me into a Spurs fan,” Daniel said. “It’s been fun watching some of the games and learning the sport.”

Watching these games has helped Daniel with his understanding of the game, and he got a chance to prove it. Last week, Daniel played in the tournament matchup against the Denton-Geyser-Stanford Bearcats. Sadly, the Outlaws lost, but Daniel played well, boxing out opponents. He even got a shot off, but he couldn’t get it to drop.

It was a thrill for Daniel to get suited up and be a part of the team. It was also a thrill for him to get a sense of school pride, something they don’t really have in Moss.

“People really get into it here,” he said. “I love it. It’s great to feel that support.”

Whether playing basketball or just hanging out around town, Daniel said he feels that support, and it means a great deal to him.

“The people here are great,” he said. “They are very welcoming. It’s really made my experience better.


Culture shock

Daniel didn’t know exactly what he was getting himself into when he signed up for a foreign exchange student experience in Winifred, Montana

The first big surprise?

“Pick-up trucks,” he said. “I’d never seen one before, and, in Winifred, they’re everywhere. Just about every vehicle.”

The political interests in the area surprised Daniel, too.

“Back home, everyone was worried about Donald Trump. They were worried about me, too. After the election, people in Moss were asking me if I was OK. But, in Winifred, people were happy he won. They didn’t want Hillary Clinton to win.”

There are many differences between Moss and Winifred, Daniel said. One of the key differences is how rural Winifred is and how much the area depends on agriculture.

“I’ve learned a whole lot about agriculture,” Daniel said. “Before this trip, I really didn’t know much at all.”

It’s hard for Daniel to explain just how much he’s learned so far. He can say, however, that the experience has greatly improved his English.

“I’ve especially improved my ability to write in English and to comprehend it,” he said.

However, Daniel said a lot of his education comes from just living day-to-day in the United States and not as much from his time in the classroom, although he is still learning in classes, too.

“I’ve found school here to be easier than it is in Norway,” he said. “In Norway, we have about 60 students in a class, and here we have 60 students in the school. It makes it more personal. Also, the tests in Norway are all essay and the tests here are mostly multiple choice.”


A learning experience

Basketball isn’t the only skill Daniel has picked from his host parents.

“[Joe] has taught me about community and church community,” Daniel said. “He is very accepting of all cultures and sees other points, even if he has a different perspective. I have learned a lot from that and try to understand and respect different perspectives now when talking to others.”

But Joe and Edie don’t deserve all the credit for this, as Daniel credits much of his growth to the experience itself.

“It’s really been great,” he said. “For a lot of reasons.”

As mentioned earlier, one of the highlights for Daniel is wearing loose-fitting jeans and gaining a whole new appreciation for those who wear them regularly.

“In Norway, everyone works at offices, pretty much, so they wear tight jeans,” he said. “I used to think people who wore loose jeans were lazy, but now I know different.”

And then there are the corn dogs.

“The first corn dog I had was impressive,” Daniel said. “I’ve had lots since. Probably more than a hundred.”



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