WESTBROOK — The fast bond formed between Westbrook High School junior Hanna Shibles and 16-year-old Anna Gaiduk of Archangel, Russia, gives a new meaning to the term “sister city.”

Since Gaiduk got to Maine the week before last, the two girls have gone trick-or-treating and galactic bowling, cheered for the Westbrook High School football team, stayed up past 1 a.m. playing Apples to Apples and been to Red Mango at the Maine Mall three times for Gaiduk’s new favorite, frozen yogurt.

“It’s like having a sister,” said Shibles, whose family is one of several hosting students and teachers from the Russian port city.

Last month, five runners from Archangel came to participate in the Maine Marathon. On Friday, a group of businesspeople arrived for a weeklong stay. On Saturday, all 22 current visitors from the sister city to the 14 cities and towns in Greater Portland planned to get together for dinner at the Porthole followed by a Portland Pirates hockey game.

Residents of Archangel and Greater Portland have visited back and forth since the formation of their relationship 26 years ago this month, but an exchange last November in celebration of their quarter-century anniversary seems to have strengthened that tradition. Judging by the interest at Westbrook High School, it’s something that will continue.

“I want to go when she goes,” Shibles said about traveling back to Russia with Gaiduk when she leaves on Tuesday.

Sophomore David Redmond, whose family is hosting two of Gaiduk’s classmates, Gleb Nikonov and Svetlana Feldt, said he clicked with Nikonov the moment they met.

“Gleb and I are the same person,” he said.

The boys have been spending their free time on Redmond’s Xbox and hanging out with his friends, who all quickly took to Nikonov.

“It’s like they’ve known each other for years,” Redmond said.

In backpacks and Blue Blazes shirts, the Russian teens are indistinguishable from other students in the halls at Westbrook High.

They threw their jackets and bags down at a table in the cafeteria Friday before getting in line for lunch.

The food is much better than it is at their school, they said, as they gobbled up burgers, pizza and Pop Tarts.

Classes are different, too. The Russian students go to school six days a week, including Saturdays, and study 20 subjects at a time, as opposed to the four classes Westbrook students take.

Their teachers, they said, are serious and strict. They weren’t used to seeing teachers sitting on tables and fist-bumping their students.

But most of what they came across in America, they’d already seen in the movies. More surprising was what the Westbrook students learned from their guests.

Redmond said he took his Nikonov to McDonald’s, where the Russian asked what kind of bread he could get for his bacon cheeseburger.

In his city, the chain offers wheat and rye. Redmond also learned that, there, only people 18 years and older can buy energy drinks such as Red Bull. When he offered Nikonov one, he refused.

The Russian students said they don’t have as much free time or freedom to come and go from their homes as the Westbrook students do. But that wasn’t what Nikonov likes most about America, he said. It was the food – in particular, chicken alfredo.

As for what he’ll miss most, however, he said, it will be the people. “They became our friends.”