COLLEGE STATION Nervous energy ran thick in the air at Easterwood Airport Friday afternoon. One Bremond family is taking a big step, in welcoming a Russian foreign exchange student into their family with open arms.
Mariya Melnikova, 16-years-old, will be living with the Owens family in Bremond for a year. It's all apart of a scholarship exchange program put on by the U.S. Department of State. She competed with a thousand other students for the scholarship, and only 100 people received the award. It's an honor Mariya says she's proud of.
"I'm excited to be here and I wish this year will be wonderful," Melnikova said. The foreign exchange student said she's been traveling since Tuesday. Although the trip has been hard, she said it's worth it.
"She's kind of coming to live with the Cleaver's with a little redneck twist," said Owens, Mariya's foreign exchange father.
Casey Owens and her family helped organize a welcome home party for the teenager. She said the whole community can't wait to show Mariya how their small town in Robertson County is full of American spirit. "We're excited to have that experience," Casey said.
As Mariya takes her first steps on American soil, she and her new family know that without a doubt, it will be a school year full of firsts for the whole family.