Meet Our Cast Member Andree from Sweden!
Andree is a student in the Up with People study abroad program
& is the 1st person to ever perform the song Really Me.
Learn more about Andree’s experience!
What have you learned from being in the Study Abroad Program in Up with People and how does it add to your semester on tour?
“This semester we are studying contemporary leadership models, intercultural communication, and small group communication. Intercultural communication is really good because we are talking about how communication between cultures will be different. It’s really easy to take that and apply while talking to people from all kinds of backgrounds in the cast. We often split into smaller groups as we are such a big group of people. That gives me tools to be able to communicate easier even in smaller groups like having a bigger understanding on how education between cultures, and when I’m learning I can apply it to the cast in the same way.”
As the first person to ever perform the song Really Me for Up with People Live on Tour, what does it mean to you?
“For me, I feel that the song is very personal. When I’m performing it on stage, it’s like I’m almost standing in the mirror talking to myself. I tell myself I’m in a place right now where I cannot be anymore, but that I am surrounded by people who love me and I’m not be afraid of being who I am. No matter who that person is or who that person might be, I should not be afraid of them anymore. That’s how I feel when I’m singing: that I can be there and I can open up and show who I am.”
What experiences made you want to come back for a second semester?
“I felt that I grew so much as a person the first semester. I learned so much about myself and how I work as a person. I just found that I wasn’t ready yet to go back home. I felt that I needed more time to explore what I’ve started to explore already. Also, for the opportunity that I’m having to meet people from so many places, to see so many cities, and to meet so many people from all over the world. I don’t know when I’ll get that opportunity again. I think it’s a combination of these things. I think the biggest impact I had last semester was when we were in Mexico and we went to a juvenile for youth criminals. It was so crazy because we met them there when they were taken away from their environment that had made them commit these crimes they had done. They were amazing and we were having interesting conversations talking to each other. The cool part about it was that we were able to effectively communicate despite the language barrier. We had a great time playing soccer together; it was like playing soccer with my friends at home. That is one of the things that has impacted me the most: to see how much an environment can affect a person, and how when a person gets taken out of a negative environment, that person can change a lot.”
What do you think about your generation?
“I think my generation is a cool generation. I feel that often when you’ve talked about the future, it’s my generation that is going to be there and is going to face a lot of problems that we are talking about today. Also, I feel that our generation is very pensive. A lot of people, including those I share many values with and those I don’t, all have big thinking processes. Even though we may disagree on things, we can have crazy interesting conversations with each other. So, I’d say we are a pretty cool generation.”
What is an issue that you feel very strongly about?
“I feel very strongly when it comes to the rise of the LGBTQ community and when it comes to discrimination facing anyone who identifies or resonates with the cause. I’m from Sweden, and Sweden is a very progressive country. One thing that affects me a lot when it comes to LGBTQ refugees. The whole process of how they went from being classified as political refugees, as they should be, according to the United Nations. However, they need to prove that they are homosexual, bisexual, etc., and I find it interesting because it’s not something easily proven. Also, I feel as though in Sweden there are a lot of laws protecting and giving those who identify with the LGBTQ community the same rights as any other person would have. I often think about the attitude in the social room where the laws are being decided, and how to be able to fight discrimination and injustice in those areas. That is something I feel very passionate about.
How and what do you think your Swedish nationality brings to Up with People?
“Fika! It is a coffee break where you just take a break from things surrounding you; you just sit down and breathe. I think that calm combination of just taking a moment and breathing is something I’m trying to share with people. When I see someone that’s really stressed about something, I often check up on them and make them take a deep breath, trying to help them relax. I feel I’m very open minded and accepting, and I feel that the people I met in my country are often very open-minded and accepting. Being able to share that as well has been really nice.”
But love, I was confused and made you wait.
I should have listened to my heart
I shouldn’t need to validate
who I love, now I’ve finally been set free.
Because the person here in front of you
he’s finally really me.
Really Me © Up with People