Schools here are different from those in other countries, but the international students with AYUSA have grown to love their central Illinois education.
"My school back home is only girls and here there's of course girls and boys," Kairi Kosaka, an exchange student from Tokyo, said. "Teachers are more helpful and supportive here than in my school."
She is almost done with her sophomore year at Williamsville High School. She enjoyed her Sherman host family, but she's headed back home to Tokyo in a couple of weeks
There aren't many dry eyes, as host families say their formal goodbyes. This is the last time all 17 international students will come together before heading home.
"They become just exactly like your own children," host parents Annie and Gary Germann said. "They do, you miss them so bad when they leave. You just cry and cry."
The Germanns have hosted international students for the past three years. Since day one, they've loved every moment of hosting.
"They're so fascinated with things like Steak 'N Shake, and going to restaurants and getting free refills on your soft drinks because they don't have that," Annie Germann said. "They have to pay for every soft drink."
David Wirth works with AYUSA. He said he wants to bring more international students to central Illinois. The only problem is there aren't enough people willing to host.
"These kids have a sense of an adventure," Wirth said. "They're leaving home and gonna come live with your family for several."
The students from the AYUSA program are between the ages of 15 and 17. People can either sign up to be a host family for a semester a full year. Wirth is hoping to have more host parents sign up for the fall school year.
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