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EHS: Small town more than he hoped for

Joao Afonso Ribeiro Costa Vilas Boas from Portugal is enjoying being able to continue with his love of sports while he is in Ellsworth. Sara Tischauser / RiverTown Multimedia

Ellsworth High School is offering 11 foreign exchange students the chance to participate in school sporting events, clubs and make new friends while they continue their education this year in small town Wisconsin.

Joao Afonso Ribeiro Costa Vilas Boas, a junior from Guimaraes, Portugal, is finding his time in Ellsworth very enjoyable. He has been playing soccer for the past 10 years and is enjoying being able to continue his love of sports in Ellsworth.

"What I enjoy at the most in America is that school is really fun," Vilas Poas said. "Sports are related to school so we can support the males, the females and have the opportunity to face other schools as a player or as a fan."

Vilas Boas was excited to come to the United States and saw it as a chance to do something different and get out of his normal routine.

"I am courageous, adventurous and I love to travel," Vilas Boas said. "If I can continue my studies and do something different, get in contact with different people and make new friends, why not?"

Originally, when Vilas Boas thought about coming to the U.S. he thought of warm climates like Florida or California where his Portugese friends had family living. However, he was a little upset when he found out he would be going to a small town in Wisconsin. He then realized he would just have to make the best of his time and enjoy Ellsworth.

"I like this small town, is a kind of big family," Vilas Boas said, "where everyone helps everyone, without expecting to get something back."

He said Ellsworth has accepted him into the community and made him feel welcomed.

"I already made some good friends," Vilas Boas said. "I already met almost all the people, and everyone received me and is treating me very well."

Even though Vilas Boas has found his host family to be nice and has been received into the Ellsworth community, he still misses his home.

"What I miss the most about at home is definitely my family, friends and food," Vilas Boas said. "My friends are the best in the world, as my family is as well. That's the reason I miss them a lot. They never fail me."

Vilas Boas strives to find what is important to him every day whether here in Ellsworth or back home in Portugal.

"[What is most important to me is] doing what I like the most in my life," Vilas Boas said. "looking for happiness, for what brings me a smile day after day."