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April 21, 2016 – Midland’s Sister City of Handa, Japan is sending three high school students to Midland for three weeks this summer, July 23 to August 11, to learn about everyday life in our American community.
The City is seeking nine host families to house one student for one week each. Applications and additional information may be found at www.cityofmidlandmi.gov/sistercity.
Sister City Committee Chair Tina S. Van Dam explained, “Student exchanges in the summer have taken place between Handa and Midland since 1982 and some 90 students have crossed the Pacific for valuable, life-changing international experiences. The cities alternate each year sending or hosting students. Many strong friendships have developed between visitors and both adults and children of host families as they have opened windows into each other’s lives and cultures.”
Families share their homes with one student for six to seven days. The students eat and live with their families, participating in the day-to-day routine. In addition, special group activities planned by the Sister City Committee are offered. Families with one or more children are preferred and one adult should be home during the week of hosting.
Past host parent Doak Stolz commented, “Our participation in the Midland exchange was the highlight of our summer. It was very well coordinated and all of the Handa students were remarkable. Watching my children learn about another culture at the same time as gaining a new friend was heartwarming and unforgettable. It is one of those things where you begin the journey trying to help out and give back a little, but walk away with so much more than you ever expected.”
Application deadline to be a host family is Thursday, May 26. Questions may be sent to MidlandHanda@gmail.com.