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

Clayton and her spouse, John, participated in the NW Expert services university student exchange system through the 2019 to 2020 school yr. They learned about the program by way of Place Coordinator Pat Darby, a retired instructor who has been positioning trade students in educational facilities throughout Franklin County, and the total of Massachusetts, for 28 yrs with the NW Providers Advertising and marketing Education And Cultural Exchange (PEACE) System.

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

The PEACE Program is a nonprofit international exchange business for large university college students, “dedicated to bringing the youth of distinct nations and cultures alongside one another at a family stage, forging bonds of friendship that will final a life span.” Darby reported learners who take part in the system want to master about American lifestyle and typically share areas of their possess culture.

“Host households host for the reason that they want to find out about yet another society and, without even leaving their doorstop, they can have anyone occur into their household and discover all types of matters about one more state,” Darby mentioned.

Talking through Zoom this 7 days, Clayton shared a copy of a picture reserve she designed from her time web hosting two exchange learners — Angie, from Ecuador, and Tong, from Thailand, who ended up both of those 18 years previous and attended Ralph C. Mahar Regional University in Orange in the course of their keep. The ebook contained pics of the learners hopping on the school bus, attending prom, taking part in cornhole with the Claytons, and witnessing the seasons modify with the hues of fall and their 1st time observing snow.

“They both of those appreciated cooking so that was enjoyable matter, you know, making issues from their cultures,” Clayton explained. “I’d flip them unfastened in my kitchen area.”

The students attended a road pageant in Turners Falls and the Japanese States Exposition in Springfield, toured Amherst College’s campus and witnessed ski jumping. As an outdoor individual, Clayton reported she took the students on hikes to the Quabbin Reservoir and other neighborhood conservation parts. They volunteered at a close by apple orchard with Clayton, and even discovered about maple sugaring.

Both foreign exchange students submitted hand-drawn models for the NW Services’ once-a-year Art Deal with Design and style Contest. The winner’s artwork is featured on the annual Advisory Listing protect, and the student can win $500. Angie’s structure read through, “It’s not a journey or getaway, it’s a next existence.” Tong’s submission had a human eye with a collection of imagery inside of the iris and the words and phrases, “The good eye-opener.”

Clayton mentioned she first realized about the NW Providers overseas trade application immediately after examining an ad Darby positioned in the newspaper.

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

She and her husband, the two 68, have no kids of their individual and have traveled to various countries these types of as Italy, Eire and France, as nicely as within the United States. Clayton explained her husband has Parkinson’s disorder, and they’re unable to journey like they used to, so they ended up fascinated by Darby’s pitch to “bring the expertise of an additional culture” into their own home.

“I responded to what Pat set in the advert, ‘open your coronary heart and your household,’” Clayton reported. “That’s what it felt like to me — sharing our household and heartfelt ordeals.”

Darby claimed some family members have volunteered in excess of the decades to host learners from several diverse nations. Pupils have been placed with households in the Pioneer Valley and Ralph C. Mahar regional school districts in years past, and participate in university clubs and sporting activities. Regrettably, the 2019 to 2020 faculty 12 months and exchange scholar system have been lower brief by the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Clayton said March 13 was the previous day in advance of the college students participated in distant mastering products.

Some learners stayed in the United States and finished courses, when other folks have been ready to total distant finding out by way of their host schools after securing a flight again to their household countries. Darby reported she did not request pupils or host families to participate for the duration of the 2020 to 2021 faculty year.

Now she is seeking for interested host households for the approaching tutorial yr. She anticipates the method will be in a position to function as typical. She is aiming to location involving six and 10 learners, an ordinary participation, with host people from September 2021 as a result of Could 2022. Host families do not get fiscal compensation but are eligible for deduction promises on itemized tax returns.

Intrigued family members could study additional by contacting Darby at 978-632-8270, emailing or going to

Darby explained just one spouse and children has hosted much more than 25 overseas trade pupils about the a long time via NW Services’ PEACE Application. Most people keep in touch with the pupils they host, often traveling to go to them in their home nations around the world.

“People host for different explanations, but primarily simply because they would like to discover about a different society, or working experience their meals and customs,” Darby said, “just like college students coming here want to do with our customs and traditions.”

Reporter Zack DeLuca can be arrived at at or 413-930-4579.