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International Student Reunites with Host Family - KOAM TV 7

International Student Reunites with Host Family

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS - When international students attend Pittsburg State University, many are welcomed by "host families". 

It's part of the cultural exchange for the students. 

One of those students, who's a couple of years removed from school at Pitt, had a family reunion of sorts. 

Making a special trip to Pittsburg, Andre Souza takes time to fish with his little brother, Nic. 

They're not brothers by birth. But Nic's family hosted Souza when he attended Pitt State as a Brazilian exchange student. 

"They treat me very well," Souza said. "It was like my second family. I didn't feel like outside at all."

When international students like Souza attend Pitt State, about 70 to 80 households in Southeast Kansas serve as host families.  

"Andre fit in like a member of the family," host father Troy Bastion said. "He started from day one and was just like one of us."

"[Andre was] like another child," Troy's wife Susan said. "They become such a special part of our family. We like to experience their highs, and we help them through their lows."

Souza says the family experience, while building strong relationships, was as big a part of his education as the classes he traveled for.  

"It added a lot to my life in personal terms," Souza said. "I think it helped me a lot getting along with other cultures, other styles of living."

"I think that the family and the student gets as much out as they put in," Troy said. "And I think that they learned much more about American customs. Much more about how they do things here. It's a great opportunity for both sides."

"If it wasn't for that experience, I don't know if I would have any other chance to get so close to a family," Souza said. "I can tell by the other Brazilians or other international students I had the opportunity to meet that they missed a lot."

Anyone wishing to volunteer as a host family, can fill out a request HERE.

Or find out about the International Friends of Pittsburg HERE.

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