An Interview With Nils Tillman: Darien High School’s Student From Sweden

Senior Nils Tillman Sits Down To Discuss His Year Abroad


Nils in Ms. Leventhal’s Forensic class taking a BeReal

Genevieve York, Writer

Darien High School along with “Education First” (EF) welcomes students from other parts of the world to go on an exchange year and attend our school. It gives students the opportunity to learn in a different environment than what they had been previously used to. I sat down with Nils Tillman, a senior exchange student from Sweden to ask him about his time at DHS.

Me: Hi Nils!

Nils: Hi Gen!

Me: What’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed attending DHS versus your Gymnasium (the name for school in Sweden)? 

Nils: I think a big difference is that food costs money, and it’s just like the food free in Sweden, but it’s not really as good. But we change meals every day and right now I’m eating the same wrap every day for my entire exchange year. And another difference is that in Sweden sports aren’t really in school, everyone plays club. There’s no such thing as school teams. And then, we also have a more spread-out schedule, I only have one of my classes once per week, but it’s like two and a half hours long, so it’s like a big difference.

Me: Was it challenging to make friends at DHS?

Nils: I thought it was easier than I expected because I made a lot of my friends from the soccer team. But I still had to try pretty hard and try to make friends because most of my friends that are in Sweden I’ve known for my entire life. 

Final question, requested by one of your friends: How do you get your hair to look so good? 

Me: Besides your family, is there anything you miss about home?

Nils: One thing I miss a lot about home is what we call “Kebab”. It’s different from what you guys call Kebab. It’s not meat on a stick, it’s what I think Americans call it “Gyro’, it’s like big meat on a stick.

Me: Ohhh

Nils: Then they put on garlic sauce, and we eat them on anything. You can have just a plate of it, or you could put it in a wrap, even on pizza. Kebab pizza is the best thing.

Me: What’s one thing you wish was different about DHS?

Nils: The traditions, like homecoming, they’re just not as good as other friends that I have that are on an exchange year. It’s kind of boring. No one went to Homecoming. 

Me: Now, I know you haven’t met all of the teachers and faculty at DHS, but so far who’s been your favorite?

Nils: I would say… I love most of my teachers, some I like more than others. But I would say my favorite teacher is Mr. Sweney because he always has banter with the entire class. And our entire class loves him and I love him.

Me: What have you learned from your exchange year?

Nils: Just have fun! and that’s what I’ve had. I’ve had a lot of fun. Just tried to be myself, and I’ve tried to talk to everyone because that’s what I find most fun in life; meeting new people and making friends. I’m glad everyone at DHS has been so welcoming because I love talking to people!

Me: Final question, requested by one of your friends: How do you get your hair to look so good? 

Nils: *laughs* It’s a very complicated process. So first, I dry my hair with a towel. Then I let it air dry. Then I go to sleep. In the morning I put molding clay in it. But I’m kinda bummed because I brought my own molding clay but when it ran out, I tried to buy some from the US, and it sucked. It made my hair greasy and disgusting, so I was like “Ew”. I convinced my parents to bring me a bunch when they flew over here during winter break. 

Me: Anything else you’d like to say before we end?

Nils: *pauses* No!