Sherman bids farewell to exchange students

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SHERMAN, TEXAS -- Sherman High School senior Taylor Van Kirk and her mom, Kristina Mazzant Thorp, couldn't get through an interview without crying at the thought of their exchange student, Susi Fuchs, heading back to Germany tomorrow.

"She's my daughter, she will always be my daughter," Mazzant Thorp said.

Susi has been living at Taylor's house here in Sherman for three weeks.

The two first met this summer when Taylor traveled to Germany with the school's study abroad program.

"We go over there in the summer and we live with them for three, bout three and a half weeks, somewhere in there. Then we take a little side trip to Austria and the heart of the Alps," study abroad advisor Suzy Robinson said.

Sherman High School has been leading this study abroad program for 15 years.

This year, Taylor convinced her mom to let her be a part of it.

"And so I just had to beg and beg my mom," Van Kirk said.

"That was the hardest part, sending her somewhere. After she went and I skyped her and she loved their family, I felt so much better and I was at peace," Mazzant Thorp said.

When Susi came here, she had a real Texas experience.

The girls now giggle about the cultural differences.

"They don't have ice in their drinks and no free refills," Van Kirk said.

"Her stepdad made me omelettes and eggs and bacon and pancakes and I really loved it. It's really different," Fuchs said.

They say their biggest lesson learned is that people thousands of miles away aren't all that different.

"People are so different but they're all so alike. I mean now I have a German sister who I'm going to love and I'm going to miss," Van Kirk said.

This year, there were eleven German students in the program.

Robinson says that if a Sherman high schooler is interested in participating in next year's program, they should contact her at

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