Exchanging culture

Get to know Lena Stadlinger, Cannon Falls’ very own foreign exchange students.


Zoe Jesh

CFHS welcomes exchange student Lena Stadlinger

Learning a whole new language is difficult. Trekking to an entirely new continent to live for an entire year is an entirely new level of bravery. Lena Stadlinger is a foreign exchange student from Austria who has ventured to Cannon Falls at age 15. She is incredibly articulate, especially considering that she began learning English in fifth grade. English isn’t the only language she has been perfecting. Though she claims she hasn’t quite mastered them yet, she has been studying Italian and Latin as well.  According to Lena, her future aspirations are to either become a surgeon or an elementary teacher. She hopes that her English improves from her time spent in Cannon Falls.

Everything is sweet and salty at the same time”

— Lena Stalinger

Lena has many different interests aside from academics. Athletically, she is hoping to be involved in a winter and spring sport as the year progresses. When asked if she played any sports in Austria, Lena began listing soccer, basketball, handball, and volleyball. Unlike most foreign exchange students who usually come through the rotary program, Lena chose AFS, which is very similar to the aforementioned program. Her host family lives in the Red Wing area and she has three host siblings who are homeschooled. So far, the most exciting thing she has done in Minnesota is venture to the State fair. The endless crowds and incredible food made it worthwhile. “Everything is sweet and salty at the same time,” Lena observes. “You deep fry everything.” Perpendicular to American food, Lena explained that the meals she usually eats contain more hearty foods such as potatoes and meats. A popular Austrian food is schnitzel, a fried tenderized meat. It may be an Austrian favorite, but Lena is slightly repulsed by the flavor.

Even at her young age, Lena is quite determined. Her fascination with languages and sweet demeanor makes her quite a wonderful student. Experiencing an entirely new school system can be hard to master, yet she has enjoyed picking out her own course schedule. She hopes to travel more around the United States during her time here. Though her goal is to learn about American culture, Cannon Falls might learn a thing or two from Lena while she is here.