From left: 2019 Ashiya Cosmopolitan Association Student Ambassadors Sawa Tamada and Rintaro Okazaki, 2019 MASCA Student Ambassadors Zachary Bernal and Angel Ruiz. (Courtesy of Michael Okamura)

MONTEBELLO — The Montebello-Ashiya Sister City Association (MASCA) seeks full-time students between the ages of 16 and 21 who want to learn the Japanese culture with host families in Ashiya City, Hyogo Prefecture for three weeks during July-August.

Three ambassadors will usually be selected; two student ambassadors will travel to Japan and at least one host ambassador remains in Montebello to host the two Ashiya Student Ambassadors while they are in the city for three weeks.

The students must reside in Montebello and be enthusiastic, sincere, friendly, cooperative and considerate. Applicants do not need to attend a Montebello Unified School District school or have Japanese language knowledge.

MASCA supports the Student Ambassador Program with membership dues, fundraising activities and donations, which cover the costs of the two students’ airfare to Japan and some of the expenses of the six host families in Montebello.

The 2020 Student Ambassador Program application is available at the Montebello City Hall, City Clerk Administration Offices, 1600 W. Beverly Blvd., and from local area high schools.

The completed application can be delivered to the City Clerk’s Office, or mail to: P.O. Box 633, Montebello, CA 90640 before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6.

In 1961, Montebello and Ashiya signed an international agreement as part of the “People to People Student Ambassador Program” initiated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. Their respective sister-city organizations created the Student Ambassador Program in 1964 and have been exchanging two high school or college students every summer.

MASCA is a nonprofit community organization. For more information, contact association president Emma Delgado at (562) 477-0260 or historian Gloria Haro at (323) 722-1383.

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