HOME AWAY FROM HOME: East Texas family welcomes Brazil student to America for foreign exchange program

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EUSTACE, Texas (KETK) – The chance to study abroad is a unique opportunity for every student to experience.

One student is a long way from home but has always had the dream of visiting America.

Ana Franco is a native of Brazil and is a foreign exchange student attending Eustace High School.

“I always wanted to move to the United States since I was a kid, I always liked it here,” said Ana.

Now that dream has become a reality thanks to one East Texas family.

“We met her at the airport with a sign welcoming her to Texas,” said Brandi Fancher, host family.

Ana is part of the Northern West Services Program that has been dedicated to bridging the gap between students and their cultural surroundings for the past 50 years.

It’s not only a learning experience for the student but also for the host family.

“To learn something different and have someone come in that’s not used to what we have, because we take a lot of things for granted,” said Brandi.

Those worries quickly faded as Ana soon became family.

“For me and him, I would say having an extra person to love on, you don’t know what their home life is like back home, but I know that we can provide that here,” said Brandi.

At just 17-year-old, Ana said life in America is different than back home in Brazil.

“There are a lot of things that are different, and I think here you have more opportunities to do stuff than Brazil,” said Ana.

From theater to track, she continues to try everything she can.

“One of the things that helped me to have a really good start at school was because I joined cross country, and all of my friends were in cross country so I think that helped me a lot,” said Ana.

While school and extracurricular activities have kept Ana busy, she still misses home and her parents.

“Sometimes it’s hard I miss them, like on my birthday or on Christmas,” said Ana.

While some days are hard, she’s thankful because with a new home comes a new family.

“My host family is really good. I love them, I think I have the best host family,” said Ana.

The program gives students the option to live with a host family for one semester or up to one full year.

If you would like to be a host family or have a student interested in studying abroad, you can visit the Northern West Services Program website HERE.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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