Dear Host Families and Members of the Salem Ota Student Exchange Community,
First and foremost, I hope this finds you and your loved ones doing well during these most difficult times. It is truly a surreal time we are living in these days.
This is about the time that we would be beginning to scramble trying to recruit host families. However, much to the disappointment of the organizers both in Tokyo and here, the students from Ota will not be coming to Salem this July. With so much uncertainty and challenges, really, everywhere in the world, it is no time to be planning for this annual event.
As you know, we greatly appreciate your interest and support for the program so much. We hope that you will continue to communicate with the students you have hosted as we look forward to July 2021.
Most of all, please stay well and we will all have to get together for a giant gathering once this is all behind us.
Please take care. xoxo to all of you, Best, Connie Arlander and Midori Oka
The outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19) has upended travel across the globe. However, at this time it is very difficult to anticipate what the situation will be in 4 months. We are closely following the decisions of Japan’s Health Department and the CDC and State Department here in the US. At this time no decision has been made regarding the Home Stay program and our preparations continue as planned. We will keep this post updated as plans develop.
Are you a senior going to college who has participated in The Salem-Ota Cultural Exchange? We have an opportunity for you!
What has this program meant to you? Tell us about your involvement in the program hosting a middle-schooler, or traveling to Japan with us or both. How have you been impacted? The form is available below. A panel will select the winning applicant who will receive a $500 scholarship.
Applications must be submitted by Friday, May 8th, 2020
As part of the PEM gala in 2019, a short video was created celebrating and explaining the connection between Ota, Japan and Salem, Mass. The Peabody Essex Museum made this wonderful video (Chip van Dyke, videographer) and graciously permitted us to share it with all of you.
Salem will once again be hosting students from Japan this summer. If you have a middle school or early high school student in or near Salem, Mass. and would like the opportunity to host a student, the dates are now set from July 26 through August 3 this year. Please contact Connie or Midori for an application to host!
The students said a teary goodbye this morning as we saw them off for their final day of sightseeing before flying back to Boston tomorrow morning. On behalf of the Salem Ota Cultural Exchange, I want to thank all of the host families for opening their hearts and homes to our students; the chaperones and members of the exchange for their dedication to making the student’s visit so memorable and wonderful; and to the teachers and principal from Ota who traveled with this delightful group and made this all possible. Thank you all and please come and visit us again!
The Students arrived safely on Saturday evening and are due to meet their host families today at the House of the 7 Gables. Families should arrive at the House of the 7 Gables by 4:30 pm for instructions, and the students will join us at 5 pm!