Student Exchange Program

Meet the 2017 Sister City Student Ambassadors! 

Sister City Ambassadors 2017
The 2017 Sister City Student Exchange ambassadors have been selected! 


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 will stay with host families for three weeks from mid-July to August.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be an ambassador for the Midland community through the Sister City Exchange Program,” says Justin Witt. “I am looking forward to gaining insight into Japanese culture through the experience of total immersion in daily life in Japan.” Adds John White: “I am honored to represent the Midland community and am excited to explore a different culture all the way across the world.”

After learning of her selection to the program, Sarah Brandstadt shared: “I cannot wait to represent Midland this summer in the Sister City Exchange while also learning about a new culture.”

2017 Student Exchange Update - Week 1

2017 Welcome Party for Exchange Students

July 31, 2017: It's been over a week since our 3 Sister City Student Exchange students landed in Handa, Japan, and they've already had plenty to write home about! You can keep up with the kids' travels during their stay via their blogs below. 


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: 2016 Handa Students in Midland

Slideshow: 2015 Midland Students in Handa