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English teacher steps up to host displaced foreign exchange student

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A foreign exchange student in South Milwaukee has found a much-needed home.

Pearl came from Taiwan in August and began at South Milwaukee High School as a sophomore.

Last month, her host family had an emergency. They could no longer have her.

"It felt really bad, because I have to adjust to another family again, and I [didn't] know what's going to happen," Pearl said.

Kerry Jude with Greenheart Exchange worked to find Pearl a new host, ideally in South Milwaukee so she wouldn't have to change schools.

Pearl's English teacher, Jill Bobber, learned of Pearl's situation and decided to open her family's doors.

"I've had a lot of foreign exchange students in my classes before, but never one that I've connected with on this type of level," Bobber said. "Pearl's a great person. She has a great heart and a wonderful ability to connect with people."

Pearl moved in just before Christmas.

There have already been family outings to the Milwaukee Public Museum with Pearl and Bobber's children.

"Pearl was able to talk a little about her culture and her experiences and my oldest said 'Yup, [Taiwan] is where I want to go, Mom. Sign me up,'" Bobber said.

They share stories, bits of language and culture, including recipes.

"This Christmas is my first Christmas because I don't celebrate Christmas at home and I tried many foods from different countries," Pearl said.

Pearl will go back to Taiwan at the end of the school year.

She says she misses her family there, but they talk often, and they've been supportive of her decision to come here.

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