Student Exchange Program

Applications Now Accepted for 2018 Host Families!

sister city 2

Interested in becoming a part of the Sister City Student Exchange? Start by becoming a host family to a Handa student! Applications are being accepted for 2018 host families now through May 17, 2018. Click the photo above to apply online.  

If you have questions about how the student exchange program works, click here to check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Hear from the 2017 Sister City Student Ambassadors

Midland High School sophomores Justin Witt and John White and H.H. Dow High School junior Sarah Brandstadt were selected from a competitive field of applicants based on a number of factors, including interest in Japanese culture, academic and extracurricular achievements, demonstration of leadership and personal strengths. The students stayed with host families for three weeks from mid-July to August.

Watch the video to hear from John and Justin about their experiences with the Sister City Student Exchange Program.

About the Program


What's It All About?

Every year, the cities of Handa, Japan, and Midland, Michigan take part in an exchange of high school students. During odd-numbered years, Midland sends students to Handa; during even-numbered years, Handa students visit Midland. The purpose of the exchange is to build friendships between sister cities, and to provide an opportunity for youth to experience a different culture.
Capitol visit

How Does It Work? 

Whether Midland is sending or receiving students, each participant stays with host families during their 3-week stay. These host families help the students immerse themselves into the culture of their host country by coordinating fun activities, cooking meals, and sharing their families' day-to-day lives. In addition, the Sister City program in each country provides a schedule of events and activities for the entire group to participate in together.

Still have questions? Click here to read the most frequently asked questions about the Sister City Student Exchange. 

What Should I Expect?

View the recent slideshows below to see what Midland and Japanese students experience during their trips. 

Slideshow: 2017 Midland Students in Handa

Slideshow: 2016 Handa Students in Midland

Slideshow: 2015 Midland Students in Handa