June 28, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Montville Township teen explores Norway, standup comedy

Before Eli Turk went on a yearlong student exchange in Norway, one of the few things he knew about the country was that it was the background for his computer’s screensaver.

Now, after spending almost nine months there, he can understand what’s going on during the classes at his Norwegian high school and he is entertaining audiences with his stand-up comedy — consisting of jokes in English comparing American and Norwegian culture.

Eli Turk, 17, of Montville Township, and his mother, Jami Morrison Turk, admire the views in Molde, Norway, where Eli is finishing up a yearlong student exchange program. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

Turk said he can understand Norwegian better than he speaks it.

“If you dropped me in the middle of Norway, I would be able to get back home,” he said.

Turk has even written a short Norwegian-language film script with another student, and the movie is set to be filmed this summer.

The 17-year-old Montville Township resident is part of the Medina Sunrise Rotary club’s youth exchange program.

He left last August, and is staying in Molde.

“It’s about the same population as Medina, but it’s a lot more compact,” he said. “It’s on the side of a mountain.”

During a Skype interview Friday at a restaurant, Turk said just the beautiful views made the trip worth it. He said it was possible to see 218 mountain peaks from the city of Molde.

“In Norway, you can turn 360 degrees and no matter what direction you face, it will look great,” he said. “It’s like a painting.”

Turk said being in Norway has allowed him to explore creative pursuits more freely, like the comedy and script writing. He hadn’t done stand-up comedy before, but figured, “Hey, I’m in Norway, why not?”

The film he’s written is called “Troskap,” which loosely translates to “Faith.” The film will be a drama about a 16-year-old boy whose parents have died. He said the idea behind the movie is, “one year after a tragedy happens people begin to lose sympathy.”

Ralph Waite, a longtime Rotary member, said the goal of the exchange program is to get students acquainted with other countries and their cultures.

“It’s not just a vacation, it’s an education,” he said.

Through the exchange program, American students can travel foreign countries, and Rotary members also host foreign students.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at kfischer@medina-gazette.com.