NEW SALEM — By giving housing for foreign trade students, New Salem resident Jeanne Clayton said she “opened her heart and her home” to cultural exchange and recollections that will final a life span.

Clayton and her husband, John, participated in the NW Solutions university student trade system through the 2019 to 2020 faculty 12 months. They uncovered about the software as a result of Spot Coordinator Pat Darby, a retired teacher who has been positioning exchange pupils in educational facilities throughout Franklin County, and the total of Massachusetts, for 28 yrs with the NW Expert services Selling Schooling And Cultural Trade (PEACE) Plan.

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

The PEACE Application is a nonprofit intercontinental exchange business for high school pupils, “dedicated to bringing the youth of various nations and cultures together at a loved ones stage, forging bonds of friendship that will previous a life span.” Darby claimed college students who take part in the application want to understand about American lifestyle and normally share factors of their individual society.

“Host people host mainly because they want to study about one more culture and, devoid of even leaving their doorstop, they can have anyone occur into their property and discover all types of matters about a further place,” Darby claimed.

Talking via Zoom this 7 days, Clayton shared a duplicate of a photograph book she built from her time hosting two trade pupils — Angie, from Ecuador, and Tong, from Thailand, who have been the two 18 decades aged and attended Ralph C. Mahar Regional Faculty in Orange through their continue to be. The e book contained photos of the pupils hopping on the university bus, attending prom, taking part in cornhole with the Claytons, and witnessing the seasons alter with the hues of slide and their very first time viewing snow.

“They each appreciated cooking so that was exciting thing, you know, earning items from their cultures,” Clayton explained. “I’d turn them unfastened in my kitchen.”

The learners attended a avenue competition in Turners Falls and the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, toured Amherst College’s campus and witnessed ski leaping. As an outdoor individual, Clayton reported she took the pupils on hikes to the Quabbin Reservoir and other local conservation areas. They volunteered at a nearby apple orchard with Clayton, and even figured out about maple sugaring.

Both foreign exchange learners submitted hand-drawn types for the NW Services’ annual Art Include Style and design Contest. The winner’s artwork is showcased on the yearly Advisory Checklist go over, and the pupil can gain $500. Angie’s layout examine, “It’s not a vacation or holiday, it is a 2nd lifetime.” Tong’s submission had a human eye with a selection of imagery inside of the iris and the words, “The great eye-opener.”

Clayton explained she 1st realized about the NW Expert services overseas trade program after reading an ad Darby placed in the newspaper.

“It mentioned, ‘open your hearts and your house’ to an trade pupil, and this intrigued me,” Clayton reported.

She and her partner, both 68, have no young children of their personal and have traveled to several nations this kind of as Italy, Ireland and France, as well as in just the United States. Clayton explained her spouse has Parkinson’s condition, and they are unable to vacation like they used to, so they were being interested by Darby’s pitch to “bring the encounter of a different culture” into their possess dwelling.

“I responded to what Pat place in the advert, ‘open your heart and your house,’” Clayton claimed. “That’s what it felt like to me — sharing our property and heartfelt encounters.”

Darby stated some family members have volunteered about the several years to host pupils from a number of distinct international locations. Students have been placed with families in the Pioneer Valley and Ralph C. Mahar regional faculty districts in decades past, and participate in faculty golf equipment and sports. Unfortunately, the 2019 to 2020 university 12 months and trade college student software were being lower short by the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Clayton said March 13 was the very last working day ahead of the learners participated in remote discovering products.

Some pupils stayed in the United States and completed classes, although other folks had been equipped to full remote studying by way of their host educational institutions following securing a flight back again to their household nations around the world. Darby stated she did not look for students or host families to take part during the 2020 to 2021 school year.

Now she is searching for fascinated host family members for the upcoming tutorial yr. She anticipates the system will be capable to work as ordinary. She is aiming to location involving six and 10 learners, an ordinary participation, with host family members from September 2021 by Might 2022. Host family members do not obtain fiscal payment but are eligible for deduction statements on itemized tax returns.

Fascinated people might understand a lot more by contacting Darby at 978-632-8270, emailing [email protected] or checking out

Darby said a single relatives has hosted extra than 25 foreign trade pupils above the several years by means of NW Services’ PEACE Plan. Most family members remain in touch with the pupils they host, often traveling to check out them in their dwelling nations.

“People host for distinctive factors, but mostly simply because they would like to learn about yet another lifestyle, or knowledge their food items and customs,” Darby stated, “just like learners coming here want to do with our customs and traditions.”

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