Jul 28, 2014

Japanese summer exchange program looking for host families

Japanese summer exchange program looking for host families

The Explore Japan Summer Exchange and Enrichment Program, open to Japanese and American students, is not only a unique and rewarding experience for boys and girls – but it is free for host families. The Milton-based program, now in its 21st year, enables boys and girls from Japan to visit families in the south suburban area for two-and-a-half weeks.

Explore Japan, which runs from July 27 to Aug. 13, is seeking host families. It is held at Milton High School (for girls) and Pierce Middle School in Milton (for boys), operating 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Host parents do not need to be available during Explore Japan’s operating hours.

Exchange students range in age from 8-16. It is not necessary for host families to have children the same age as the exchange student.

Activities include Japanese language workshops, arts and crafts, cooking, martial arts, calligraphy and a variety of interesting cultural exercises. In the afternoon, there will be field trips to the Museum of Fine Arts, Fenway Park Behind the Scenes Tour, Boston Harbor Cruise, bowling, Harvard Square and more.

Last summer, Melissa and Denis Jones of Braintree hosted 16-year-old Shiori Takahashi. Their children, Anna, 12, and Evan, 10, also participated in the program.

“One if my neighbors had hosted a student through the program and they had a great experience so our daughter, Anna, wanted to do it,” said Melissa. “It was fun doing things with Shiori and seeing how she reacted. Our kids learned how to appreciate different cultures and how to be patient with her when communicating. We all learned some Japanese.”

There is no charge to host families and their children, or for activities during the two weeks. Openings are still available for hosts who would like to participate this summer (see www.americanlearning.com for an application).

For more information, call 781-828-2800 or visit www.americanlearning.com

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