NEWBURYPORT — Many local families made some new friends over the last few weeks — and created a bunch of memories while in the process.
A group of foreign exchange students from Spain ages 14 to 17 years old visited the city for three weeks through a program at the high school. Every other year, the schools take turns hosting students.
“I’m not mentally and emotionally prepared for them to leave,” Newburyport High School sophomore, AnnieKate Gross said earlier this week. “I just feel like they have always been here. I feel like I have known them for so long.”
Thirty students from Spain took part in the program this year, and needed host families to stay with. That’s where Gross and her friend and fellow sophomore, Julia Frisch came in as host siblings.
“When they came here on a Wednesday, Friday we hung out,” Gross said.
“And I felt like I knew every one of them personally for my entire life. We were laughing, crying on the floor having so much fun, having conversations about funny, personal stuff. And I thought, ‘How are we going to be able to deal with this when they leave, three weeks from now?’ That is now and it is kind of unfathomable.”
Gross and her family hosted 14-year-old Joaquin who hails from Malaga and the Frisch family opened their doors to Raquel, also 14, who calls Merthia home.
“My mom thought it was awesome,” Gross said. “She thought it was going to be a great experience for us and she talked to other moms in the neighborhood.”
A close-knit bunch, the Gross and Frisch families watched as three other families in their Turkey Hill neighborhood were soon hosting Spanish exchange students as well.
“It seems like they have been here for a lot longer than three weeks,” Frisch said.