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Discussion: A young Swiss Ski-O team member would like to spend an (exchange) year in the US.

in: Orienteering; General

Jan 23, 2022 9:54 PM # 
Hi, I am looking for help in finding a place for a very talented 18-year-old Swiss junior ski-O team member. He is the son of Stefan Lauenstein (Marc's brother). Jan is a very fast skier and now wishes to spend an (exchange) year in the US, hopefully where he could train on snow but also go to school, his first year of college.
Jan is continuing the tradition of the Lauenstein family as also his dad, Stefan spent a year in the US (or Canada) followed by his brother, Marc, who stayed in the NE.
For any questions, please contact me first at before Jan or his dad, Stefan, will continue the correspondance.
Greetings from Switzerland, Neuchâtel, with hundreds of beautiful cross-country ski tracks right now.
Jan 23, 2022 10:43 PM # 
Come to Missoula!!!
Jan 24, 2022 12:44 AM # 
Host him, Boris! Inara needs a big brother. ;-)
Jan 24, 2022 2:38 AM # 
Well, we have snow and a school, so why not?
Jan 24, 2022 3:10 AM # 
I think this is a good destination for cross-country skiing in the US
Jan 24, 2022 4:13 AM # 
College exchange student programs? I don't think it's that straight forward. One would need the college acceptance first before getting an entry visa. For one year it would be more feasible with a Swiss college that has some partnership with a college in the USA for study abroad exchanges.
Jan 24, 2022 7:57 AM # 
In Canada international exchange at Uni is often set up for the third year with agreements individual institutions. For example the Uni I work at has agreements with several Scandi schools like Arhus, Oslo, KTH and many, many Commonwealth schools like Melbourne, Sydney, Sheffield, Glasgow, Durham, Leeds, etc.

I assume this is the same for the US and if so it would probably be easier for a student to take a gap year before Uni and work as an au pair ina place that has great O and snow (Missoula for example) and then consider returning to the US in third year as an exchange student. As mentioned above it would be easier if facilitated through a Swiss school (again assuming the US is similar to Canada).

AttackPoint has helped link orienteering exchanges like this many times before.
Jan 24, 2022 2:07 PM # 
andreais is correct, and Hammer makes great points, and offers great suggestions! It is indeed the same in US. Generally:

  • First (and last) year students aren't eligible for exchange programs without special dispensation—an exception granted by a dean or similar. I did this my last year, with a completed major and minor, but I think that it's harder as a first year
  • Students are nominated by their home institution, and then complete an application at the prospective institution (and then do all of the other stuff like visas, etc)
  • ISEP is a nice (but not all-encompassing) place to explore exchange opportunities
  • The best place to start is the international office of your home institution

I really like Hammer's gap year idea. No need to rush into uni, less red tape, school will always be there waiting, and some non-school perspective can really help clarify a prospective student's path.

Best of luck! I wish we had some snow around here.
Jan 24, 2022 3:06 PM # 
As a host for several European Orienteers through the years, I endorse the gap year idea. First year of college; training for the Swiss Ski-O team; living in a new country: this all seems too daunting for any student. Jan should come, train, explore and enjoy the US. Make it a great adventure he will never forget.
Jan 24, 2022 3:45 PM # 
An alternative to an exchange program at a 4-year University is to attend a community college in a town with a lot of skiing. That might make an F-1 visa possible and it could still be something like an English-perfecting gap year—take interesting but not terribly demanding classes that still give plenty of time for training. Start college after getting back, no need for the credits to actually count.
Jan 24, 2022 10:11 PM # 
Is he fast enough to train or qualify for a scholarship with the UM ski team?
Jan 25, 2022 10:23 PM # 
Hello all, thank you SO much for all your constructive comments, suggestions and ideas. We'll follow up on that.
I now informed Jan about all the possibilities and he will have to assess what he wants the most and what's possible for him
@ Boris, are you serious about your proposition that he'd come to Missoula? (I'd come to Montana any minute as I fondly remember the over 2 years we spent in Bozeman at MSU.
@hammer, thanks for your input and insight. That's very helpful. I think your suggestion of a gab year would be easiest. But his dad, Stefan, wants him to take some classes also such as at a community college.
@Rick, where is the UM ski team (university of minnesota, massachusetts,maine?)
@George, Cristina, very good points, thank you!
Jan 26, 2022 12:35 AM # 
University of Montana
Jan 26, 2022 1:30 AM # 
I am surprised Colorado with beautiful snowy mountains was not mentioned yet. Should be great for skiers. Aspen is one nice little town...Harry and Floyd I recall had a pretty good time there.
Jan 26, 2022 1:57 AM # 
Too bad the Lost Boys Orienteering Club no longer exists in Alberta to recruit another Lauenstein. Peter MacKenzie's sale pitch must not be working.
Jan 26, 2022 5:07 AM # 
Beatrice, let's talk offline.
Jan 26, 2022 8:34 AM # 
re: Lost Boys.
Well Missoula is relatively close (800km) to Red Deer (or was it Edmonton?) in the grand scheme of NorAm O geography.
Jan 26, 2022 10:32 PM # 
@Nev-Monster and Hammer: I believe that Stefan (Jan's dad) must have been there because I met him over 20 years ago at a big multi-day O-meet north of Calgary.
@yurets: of course, I was thinking of Colorado having lived there for almost 20 years. But the only reliable ski tracks are on the Frisco peninsula and snow is often scarce
in Colorado unless you're downhill skiing or ski touring.
Jan 26, 2022 10:50 PM # 
There is reliable snow and good grooming at Tennessee Pass Nordic Center in CO, just north of Leadville. Also a small college in Leadville with possibilities. Very thin air good for training. Same problem about lack of ski-o.
Jan 27, 2022 2:44 AM # 
Send him to Canada!
Montreal, to be specific. Everything is better here! The snow, the bagels, the universities, and the winter is longer. We're skiing on the mountain every day. And the world capital of cross-country skiing is just an hour away (Morin Heights)!
Can you beat this?
Jan 27, 2022 3:59 AM # 
Ottawa and the Gatineau also a great choice. Great skiing and a very active orienteering community.
Jan 27, 2022 1:37 PM # 
It's too damn cold in Canada. Choose freedom --- go to America instead.
In Alabama we have great hunting and fishing. In fact, fish is jumping straight from the pond
Jan 27, 2022 2:50 PM # 
Yurets you are funny. Those little fish would rather die on the beach than have the big fish eat them. Yep, America in a nutshell.
Jan 27, 2022 4:18 PM # 
Not much nordic skiing on the Gulf Coast. Waterskiing, sure.
Jan 27, 2022 9:13 PM # 
Gordhun, why the pessimism? You live in the great state of Florida, where the governor defends citizens from tyranny. You should be appreciative of America.
For comparison: Unvaxxed Canadians Denied Access To Walmart
Jan 29, 2022 10:42 PM # 
Looks like no nordic ski team at University of Montana.
Jan 30, 2022 11:35 AM # 
MSU has a pretty successful ski team:
Aug 8, 2022 6:03 AM # 
An update to this thread: Jan arrived in Missoula this week to start his exchange year at Missoula College and in GrizO colors!

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