British exchange students visit Valdosta

Published: Jan. 30, 2013 at 8:27 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 4, 2013 at 8:27 PM EST
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VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - The British have invaded south Georgia - that is 23 teenagers from England visiting Valdosta on a student exchange trip.

Five Guys, Chick-fil-a, Burger King, believe it or not these UK teenagers say eating the food in America is one of their favorite parts of visiting.

"The food, the food. It's just so much nicer, it's so much bigger, it's lovely," said exchange student, Luke Barry.

But it's not only the food they love. These 23 students are staying with Valdosta Middle School students and their families for 10 days. They say they love the family life in the south.

"They're a lot more together here I've noticed, because I don't spend a huge amount of time with my family as one big family, whereas here family life is sort of the essential thing," said exchange student, Olivia Channer.

"How you greet parents and how you speak to parents, it's a lot different to what we are, we just call them by their first name, but you use ma'am and sir and mister," said Barry.

Before the students met each other they had been communicating for about four months, but when they met face-to-face they say they've now formed life long friendships.

This academic learning program is the longest running exchange program in Georgia. Since 1997 students have been visiting back and fourth from Valdosta to Colchester, England. These students say their favorite American is President Obama.

"He connects more with the public, and I think in America they're so interested in the Royal Family, whereas here we're interested in the President and his family," said exchange student, Tia Chapman.

Friday the group will head to Disney World. And this summer the Valdosta host students will go to England for 10 days and stay with the UK students.

The educational theme for this trip is learning about the American Civil War. The students will present what they've learning tomorrow night at 5:30 at Valdosta Middle School.

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