From Northern Lights to Friday Night Lights

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Submitted by Terry Landry
    Martin Sandvik is a 17 year old from Bodo, Norway. His father, Johan, is a cardiologist. His mother, Vibeke, is a nurse who now stays home with his 2 year old sister. Martin also has an older brother and sister.  Bodo is on the western coast of Norway north of the Arctic Circle, where the climate is not as cold as other parts of Norway because of the Gulf Stream’s influence.
    Martin was placed with us by EF Foundation ( He attended a two week orientation class in Rhode Island before coming to Louisiana at the end of July. We took him to Gulf Shores before school started to show him what beaches in the US look like. He says the water is much too cold to swim in the ocean where he lives.
    Martin attends Central High and is a junior there. He played football and became the team’s kickoff specialist and handled extra points. Martin also played soccer and plans to play on the golf team in the Spring.
    Martin has adjusted well to his new home and to Central. He has a good appetite and has eats just about anything. He makes friends easily and was readily accepted by the Central coaches and players. In January, Martin traveled to Hawaii on a trip sponsored by the foreign exchange student organization he's with. He met up with kids he knew from Norway, and others he met at orientation and had a great time.
    Martin got his driver's license and we worked with his parents to buy a small pickup truck that he uses to go to school and work out at Snap Fitness. He also hunted ducks and geese near Kaplan.    His mother and little sister will be visiting with us in March and he plans to return to Norway at the end of May. 
    Martin is the 5th foreign exchange student we’ve hosted. In the 2007-2008 school year, we hosted Michala Olsen from Denmark, and Sophie Schuenemann from Germany. The following year, we hosted Thomas Kavalar from Austria, and Lukas Henninger from Germany the next. Both Thomas and Lukas played football and soccer, and were proud to take their Central High football jackets back home with them. 
    We’ve become very good friends with Michala’s parents. They visited with us after her stay here, and again in 2010, and will be back here for Easter with her grandmother. Lukas and his parents are planning a visit here this summer. We stay in touch with all of them by email, texting, and telephone.

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