Petersburg High welcomes first exchange student in 10 years - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Petersburg High welcomes first exchange student in 10 years

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PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) -

There's no place like home for Barbara Mendes; however, even though her home is thousands of miles away in Brazil, she says her new temporary home in Petersburg is not too shabby.

"The people are very nice," said Mendes.

The 16-year-old is an exchange student- the first one at Petersburg High School in ten years.

She is studying culinary arts, and believes this experience will help her in the kitchen and beyond.

"My entire life, I was used to eating one type of food and when I came here, it was completely different, and I guess that helps me notice that not everybody has the chance to eat the same things or experience the same things," said Mendes.

Rhonda Gurley is Barbara's host mother.

Even though she and her 2-year-old have the responsibility of making sure Barbara learns a lot about American culture, Rhonda has learned a few lessons herself.

"As Americans, I believe that we believe our way of doing things is always the right way. I've learned different ways to prepare foods, different ways to just pretty much get up and get your day started," said Gurley.

Rhonda says this is a great learning experience for all of them, including the students at Petersburg High.

Barbara says this is her new home away from home, but she still wanted to send this message to her family in Brazil.

"I miss them and I love them very much," said Mendes.

Barbara will study at Petersburg High for the entire school year.

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