Stian Vralstad arrived in the United States from his home in Lorenskog, Norway Aug. 1.

For Vralstad it was not the first time he had been on American soil.

“This is actually my third time in the United States,” Vralstad said.

The son of Knut and Sølvi Vralstad visited Florida in 2010, and in 2016 he did a road trip across the United States from California to New York.

Now that he is in Minnesota, some may argue Vralstad has seen more of the United States than many of the people who have spent their whole life here.

After arriving to begin his third U.S. experience, Vralstad spent a few days at an exchange student camp. 

Vralstad arrived in Minnesota Aug. 11.

Vralstad said he was given a few options of where he wanted to live during his exchange, and, for the Redwood Valley High School senior Minnesota was an easy choice.

“I play hockey and Minnesota is the State of Hockey,” he said.

While that was part of his decision, Vralstad added he also has some extended family who call Minnesota home, and having met them in Norway he is looking forward to the opportunity here in Minnesota to see them again.

Living with the Alan and Laura Olson family, Vralstad is adjusting to life in Redwood Falls.

Having lived in a community east of Oslo with somewhere around 35,000 people, Vralstad said coming to Redwood Falls was a bit different.

Yet, he added, he likes the small town experience that he is having. When he first arrived in Redwood Falls, Vralstad said it looked like other small towns that he had seen in movies.

As an exchange student, Vralstad said he is hoping to improve is English speaking skills, adding he wants to have much more of an American accent by the time he goes home.

His other plan was to get involved in athletics.

“My goal when I left was to come here and play American football. Now I am doing that,” he said.

He is a kicker for the Cardinals and said he is enjoying the experience.

He also plans to play hockey this winter but is not sure about what he wants to do this spring.

In school, Vralstad is taking classes such as government and economics, Spanish, strength and conditioning, algebra, English and world geography. He said some of the classes he has are easier while others have been more challenging than school back home.

Yes, he said, the classes he is taking this year will count for him when he returns, which means as a 12th grader he will have one more year of school left in Norway.

Vralstad said his experience in Redwood Falls has been a positive one, adding he enjoys the people.

Soon after this interview was concluded, Vralstad loaded onto a school bus heading for his next football game. He was not sure where the team was headed, but he knew what that meant was seeing another part of America and adding one more place to his list of U.S. tour stops.