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Rail City Profile - Exchange student gives as much as he gets
by Damian Tromerhauser
Nov 14, 2012 | 5427 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file photo - Lasse Enevoldsen (in white) played soccer for Spanish Springs during the Cougars’  recently completed fall season.
Tribune file photo - Lasse Enevoldsen (in white) played soccer for Spanish Springs during the Cougars’ recently completed fall season.
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Many people dream about traveling the world and submerging themselves in a diversity of cultures. For Lasse Enevoldsen, he wanted the experience of America. Through the Rotary Youth Exchange program, he got that chance.

Enevoldsen, 16, made the trip from his hometown of Aalborg, Denmark (the northern part of the country, which lies between Germany and Sweden) to Spanish Springs and since coming to the United States, he’s been soaking it all in.

“The whole experience has just been amazing,” Enevoldsen said. “It has been super interesting here. There are a lot of things that I am learning. There are so many things that are different about America.”

One of the largest things that Enevoldsen said has been the most surprising and fascinating disparity between Danish lifestyle and American lifestyle is day-to-day happenings.

“Just the normal day life is so different,” he said. “Like how the high schools have so much spirit for the clubs. It’s not like that in Denmark. Maybe for the pros, like we have hooligans in soccer and they’re spirited at games, but not for high school. That’s been really amazing. I like going to the football games and the volleyball games. It’s been really fun.

“In Denmark, the reason football is not that big is because it comes on only on Sundays, at 11 p.m. and the games are like three hours. I’ve learned a lot more here going to the football games and seeing it on TV, but baseball and football are the only thing that runs on TV here. It’s interesting. I’m liking it more.”

Enevoldsen said he was considering trying out for the Cougars football team, but was too late for tryouts. Naturally, Enevoldsen said the ideal position would have been kicker, specifically because the man that holds the NFL all-time leading scoring record, Morten Anderson, is also Danish. While Enevoldsen missed out on his opportunity to test out the gridiron, he did join the Spanish Springs soccer team and helped it to the regional championship game. However, the squad on the pitch isn’t the only group of people that Enevoldsen has had an impact on.

“I think it says a lot about an individual who is willing to have an experience like that,” said Art Anderson, Spanish Springs Athletic Director. “It is one of the best things a high school student can go through in order to get worldly experience. Just learning about different cultures is important. It’s going to make him a better person. Not only has he been able to expand himself, but he has also improved the knowledge of individuals that have met him. It’s just a good program. This has benefited Lasse, the host family and everyone in our school to have that cultural exchange.”

One of the people immediately impacted by Enevoldsen’s visit was his host mother, Mikey Sinclair, and the rest of her family. The day following the passing of Sinclair’s own mother, it was Enevoldsen who helped brighten Sinclair’s mood.

“When I woke up the next morning, I had a Facebook message from Lasse introducing himself and letting us know he was our exchange student,” Sinclair said. “It made the whole thing with my mom not so bad because I had something to immerse all my energy into and it’s just been a wonderful experience since then.

“He is very kind hearted and polite. He’s just very willing. He’s up for anything. He wants to learn about our culture. He has a great sense of humor and he’s just a wonderful person. It’s been the best experience ever. From Day 1, he just fit right into the family. We have a daughter who is a senior and a son who is a sophomore, and now we have Lasse who is a sophomore. The kids out here in Spanish Springs have just embraced Lasse like they’ve gone to school with him forever. It’s just been great all the way around. We all love him so the thought of him leaving kind of stinks.”

While the Sinclairs and the rest of the Spanish Springs community have enjoyed sharing time with Enevoldsen, the experience, which is scheduled until mid-July, has also been one he said he will never forget.

“Everyone here is super nice. It’s great,” Enevoldsen said. “My host siblings introduced me to their friends and I’ve gotten to know some people and they are like my good friends now.

“This is going to be like the most amazing time of my life practically. I’m more thankful for what I have. I didn’t notice how much my parents do for me and now I recognize more. Maybe all these super nice people will make me a better person. I hope so. Even with the homework, maybe I can be better in school too. I just think this is going to be so good for me.” He is not the only one.

Favorites:

Food — Burgers

TV Show — How I Met Your Mother, South Park

Pro teams — San Francisco Giants and 49ers
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