In cooperation with the Sister Cities Committee in Asahikawa, the Bloomington-Normal/Asahikawa Sister Cities Committee has sponsored a home-stay junior high student exchange singe 1985.
Each year, a group of students is selected from the Bloomington-Normal area to travel to Asahikawa for approximately two weeks. The size of the group is typically limited to no more than 15. The trip usually takes place in June. On the trip the students stay with host families, tour cultural, historic, and recreational sites. This program offers students the opportunity to see another culture up close and personal. The group is chaperoned by two or three adults, usually including at least one member of the Sister Cities Committee.
Prior to departing, students and chaperones meet on a regular basis for training classes. Participants learn basic language skills, such as how to say simple phrases ("Hello, my name is...", How much does this cost?", "Can you tell me how to find..."). The classes are also used for the sampling of Japanese foods and to learn about international travel procedures.
An informational session will be held on Sunday, January 21, 2018 from 2pm - 3pm at the Central Illinois Regional Airport (second floor conference room 1). Parents and students interested in participating in the 2018 trip should attend the session. Please use the 2-hour short-term parking closest to the airport. If you are unable to attend, but would like more information, please contact Toyoka Nishihara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018 Junior Ambassador application: Click to Download
Each year, around the end of March, we host junior high students from Japan for approximately one week. For some students, this will be their only chance to visit America. The students will stay with host families and get a glimpse at typical American life. During the weekdays, the committee arranges activities such as visiting local schools, WJBC, Artful Design, Beer Nuts, Bloomington and Normal City Hall, Upper Limits, a trip to Springfield, and a trip to Chicago. In the evenings and on weekends, the students spend time with their host family. We also host a welcome party and farewell party for all of our students and the host families just like the committee in Asahikawa does when our students visit.
Ten students will be visiting March 25 - April 2, 2018. We are in need of host families for 6 girls and 4 boys. Interested families should complete this form and email it to Cindy Hansen. For specific questions about hosting, please call Cindy Hansen at 309-664-2917.