BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - South Mississippi draws in people from across the country. But, the tourism we see here isn't limited to people within the country.
International high school students from Germany and Brazil are beginning their year in America through an exchange program called "Academic Year in America."
Sitting in Mugshots, with a plate full of food and smiles from ear-to-ear, five of the international students were more than happy with their decision to make South Mississippi their home for a year.
"I just want to start a little adventure. And would be better in English and just see the American culture," said Julia Pater, a 15-year-old exchange student from Germany.
"It's like you go down the street and it's like, 'hi, how are you?'" said 15-year-old German exchange student Marie Kolie. "And we're like, 'good thanks, how are you?' That's not normal."
Kolie and 18-year-old Clara Rocha, from Brazil, are living with the Mosley family in Wayne County.
While they like many aspects of American culture, one of their favorites is a nice cup of Mississippi sweet tea.
"They've been drinking tea every day, even for breakfast," said host mother Brenda Debose Mosley. "We're going to have to do something different. I can't keep tea in my house."
Right across the table, 15-year-old Caroline, from Germany, can't stop thinking about her recent fishing trip in the Gulf. It was her first time fishing.
"It was so cool!" Said Caroline. "We was in the ocean and I catch the first fish of my life and it was so funny."
Experiences like these are the reason Hope Cochran became a coordinator with the exchange program academic year in America.
"When they came here, this was one choice that they had," said Cochran. "They could also go to Canada, South Africa, all over the world. "
Instead, they chose South Mississippi for reasons like the warm weather and Southern hospitality, to name a few.
"Football games and we already rode the 4-wheeler," said Kolie. "First time. It was so cool."
For a year, these girls will be part of another family.
"I love them very much and I have to say thank you very much that they are let me live with us," said Caroline.
Their stay in America is certainly off to a good start. With adventures approaching, the road ahead is promising. And of course, the sweet-tea is good.
For more information on Academic Year in America, click here.