SEATTLE -- International Student Exchange helps students find a home in the U.S. for the school year. Usually by the time May rolls around, they've placed 40 students for the following year. But this year, the number is half that.

Gabriela Nunes came from Brazil in August.

I wanted to know how it feels to go to school as an American girl, she said.

Nunes says she's learned a lot from school and her host family. They've learned a lot from her too.

I've learned courage, said her host sister Simone Machmiller. I could never move to a foreign country.

With the economy and the disasters down south, Jamin Henderson says placing students, has been difficult. It doesn't mean students won't find a home, they just might not find a home in Seattle. However, Henderson concedes the task of finding families has been more difficult across the board.

The fear is there won't be as many exchange students coming, said Henderson.

Gabriela says that would be a shame because she considers her stay in the U.S. the opportunity of a lifetime. Gabriela returns to Brazil in July.

I miss her already, said her host mom, Terese Machmiller

For more information on hosting students, visit

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