Student Exchange Program

Three Midland high school girls stand in front of a Japanese temple

NEW: Sister City Student Exchange Returns, Welcomes Japanese Students for 2023 

After a three-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, the Midland-Handa Sister City Student Exchange is excited to return in 2023 as we welcome students from Handa, Japan to Midland for a three-week stay July 24 - August 14, 2023.

And that means we need host families! Students will stay with three families during their visit, one week per family. 

Interested in hosting for the 2023 Student Exchange?  Click the button below to complete the online form!

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Download the information packet and a printable application (PDF)

About the Program

A Japanese family with their Midland exchange student

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.

Representatives from both Handa City and Midland City government, as well as committees from both countries, serve as liaisons for the students and their host families as they participate in the program. Travel accommodations are provided by the committee and there is no cost to participate - the only out-of-pocket cost to traveling students is the spending money they bring for food, gifts, and entertainment. Everything else is provided!

Hear It Firsthand: Sister City in the News

Wondering how the Sister City Student Exchange impacts our students' and host families' lives? Check out these news pieces for more information.

Midland Daily News: Sister City Journey Can Be 'Life Changing' (January 2019)

A screenshot of the Sister City Commitee article in the Midland Daily News Opens in new window

Click the image above to read an article on the Sister City Student Exchange published by the Midland Daily News on Monday, January 7, 2019.

What Should I Expect?

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

Slideshow: 2018 Handa Students in Midland