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Japanese summer exchange program looking for host families

Through the Explore Japan program, Halle Ghatak of Holliston, left, hosted exchange student Natsuko Inui.
Through the Explore Japan program, Halle Ghatak of Holliston, left, hosted exchange student Natsuko Inui.

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 metro Boston 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, Carol Sussman- Ghatak and Surojeet Ghatak of Holliston hosted 16-year-old Natsuko Inui. Their daughter, Halle Ghatak, 12, also participated in the program.

“My daughter, Halle, had visited Japan in 2013 and was very keen to expand her knowledge of all things Japanese,” said Sussman. “I had gone to Japan on a business trip several years ago and had been an exchange student myself and hosted an exchange student. I love the concept and experience it brings to all involved. 

“We both enjoyed getting to know our Japanese student, Natsuko Inoui, who celebrated her 16th birthday with us. We have enrolled again for the summer of 2014 and look forward to meeting more Japanese and American friends.”

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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