2019 Scholarship Award Winner

The Salem-Ota Cultural Exchange is pleased to announce that Geddy Kaulenas, a graduating senior at Salem Academy Charter School has been awarded this year’s Scholarship award, presented during the Salem Academy Awards Ceremony on June 10. He will be using this scholarship as he attends the Champlain College this fall.

Geddy Kaulenas was presented the 2019 award by Denise Granniss, president of the Salem-Ota Cultural Exchange.

He, and the other applicants for the award, were asked to write an essay about their involvement with the exchange; how it affected their life; and how it will influence their future.

This is what he wrote about his experiences:

My family has been a part of the cultural exchange for six years now, and we have hosted just as many students. My father and I have each also gone to Japan with the exchange, which was a fantastic experience for both of us. During my stay, I lived with two different families, and I developed a real connection with them, and to this day, we keep in touch. I have gained a deeper knowledge of and appreciation for the Japanese culture over these years of exchange.

I think that I have become a more patient and sympathetic person since we started the program. Having to communicate with a Japanese student, who generally have a difficult time understanding and articulating has forced me to slow down and consider my speech. It has helped me with presenting, which used to make me extremely nervous.

I will be attending Champlain College to learn Game Design, and I believe that the understanding of Japanese culture I gained from this exchange will be beneficial to such a career. Japan is a very important place for game design, as many famous companies and series originate there. While I may not end up living there, I fully intend to visit again, wether for education or for fun. Japan is a wonderful country, and I am glad I have had this opportunity to meet and learn about its people.