The Recorder – ‘Open your coronary heart and home’ through pupil exchange system

NEW SALEM — By delivering housing for foreign trade students, New Salem resident Jeanne Clayton explained she “opened her heart and her home” to cultural trade and reminiscences that will very last a life time.

Clayton and her husband, John, participated in the NW Solutions student exchange plan through the 2019-2020 faculty year. They realized about the system through Spot Coordinator Pat Darby, a retired trainer who has been placing exchange college students in colleges across Franklin County, and the full of Massachusetts, for 28 a long time with the NW Products and services Advertising Training And Cultural Trade (PEACE) System.

Learners have attended from Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Brazil, France, Vietnam, Ecuador and Thailand.

The PEACE Software is a nonprofit global exchange corporation for large college students, “dedicated to bringing the youth of distinct nations and cultures jointly at a spouse and children degree, forging bonds of friendship that will past a life span.” Darby claimed learners who take part in the program want to learn about American tradition and generally share areas of their own lifestyle.

“Host family members host mainly because they want to learn about yet another culture and, devoid of even leaving their doorstop, they can have an individual come into their house and find out all types of things about a different place,” Darby mentioned.

Speaking by using Zoom this 7 days, Clayton shared a copy of a picture e book she created from her time web hosting two exchange students — Angie, from Ecuador, and Tong, from Thailand, who had been both equally 18 years previous and attended Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange in the course of their remain. The ebook contained shots of the students hopping on the university bus, attending promenade, participating in cornhole with the Claytons, and witnessing the seasons adjust with the hues of fall and their initial time looking at snow.

“They both equally liked cooking so that was a fun thing, you know, generating issues from their cultures,” Clayton explained. “I’d convert them free in my kitchen area.”

The pupils attended a street pageant in Turners Falls and the Jap States Exposition in Springfield, toured Amherst College’s campus and witnessed ski leaping. As an outdoor individual, Clayton reported she took the students on hikes to the Quabbin Reservoir and other area conservation spots. They volunteered at a close by apple orchard with Clayton, and even acquired about maple sugaring.

Equally foreign exchange learners submitted hand-drawn patterns for the NW Services’ yearly Art Address Design and style Contest. The winner’s artwork is highlighted on the yearly Advisory Listing include, and the university student can get $500. Angie’s design and style read through, “It’s not a trip or holiday, it is a 2nd lifestyle.” Tong’s submission had a human eye with a assortment of imagery inside the iris and the phrases, “The fantastic eye-opener.”

Clayton mentioned she 1st uncovered about the NW Services foreign trade plan just after examining an advertisement Darby placed in the newspaper.

“It said, ‘open your hearts and your house’ to an exchange scholar, and this intrigued me,” Clayton explained.

She and her partner, both of those 68, have no kids of their possess and have traveled to many countries these as Italy, Eire and France, as well as within just the United States. Clayton reported her partner has Parkinson’s disease and they are unable to travel like they used to, so they were being fascinated in Darby’s pitch to “bring the practical experience of an additional culture” into their own house.

“I responded to what Pat place in the ad,” Clayton claimed. “That’s what it felt like to me — sharing our residence and heartfelt encounters.”

Darby said some family members have volunteered in excess of the decades to host learners from a number of nations around the world. College students have been positioned with family members in the Pioneer Valley and Ralph C. Mahar regional university districts in several years earlier, and take part in faculty golf equipment and sporting activities. Sad to say, the 2019-2020 college year and trade student software ended up minimize small by the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Clayton explained March 13 was the final day ahead of the college students participated in distant studying products.

Some college students stayed in the United States and accomplished classes, when some others ended up equipped to total remote studying by way of their host educational facilities right after securing flights back again to their household nations around the world. Darby explained she did not find learners or host families to take part all through the 2020 to 2021 university year.

Now she is looking for intrigued host families for the coming academic year. She anticipates the method will be ready to operate as ordinary. She is aiming to spot between six and 10 learners, an normal participation, with host households from September 2021 by May possibly 2022. Host families do not acquire monetary compensation but are suitable for deduction promises on itemized tax returns.

Interested families may possibly study additional by calling Darby at 978-632-8270, emailing [email protected] or going to

Darby explained one particular family has hosted far more than 25 foreign trade pupils about the several years through NW Services’ PEACE Plan. Most people continue to be in contact with the pupils they host, often touring to visit them in their property nations around the world.

“People host for various causes, but largely due to the fact they would like to understand about a different tradition, or experience their food items and customs,” Darby said, “just like pupils coming in this article want to do with our customs and traditions.”

Reporter Zack DeLuca can be achieved at [email protected] or 413-930-4579.