Student Exchange Program

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

NEW: 2023 Sister City Student Exchange Now Underway! 

After a three-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, the Midland-Handa Sister City Student Exchange is excited to be back in action as we host three students from Handa, Japan: Mei, Wakanna, and Sorata! Our students arrived on July 24, 2023 and have been busy soaking up Midland and Michigan life with their 9 host families. Check out a few photos of what they've been up to:

A group of host families pose at MBS International Airport with their students and handmade signs

The students leave Midland and return to Japan on August 14, 2023. We'll miss them!

We'll be looking for Midland students interested in a 3-week exchange experience in Handa for the 2024 program, so check back frequently and be on the lookout for updates in early 2024! 

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