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Student Exchange Program
The Student Exchange Program is the heart and soul of the sister city's purpose: to offer fun and excitement for students and their families while getting a taste of foreign culture. It is an opportunity to make new friends and explore Japanese values, as well as provide students from our sister city with a better understanding of our own culture and what it means to be American. Since 1971, more than 120 young people have participated in the program.
The exchange lasts for two to three weeks, from late-July to mid-August. Each student stays with two different host families for about half the home stay period.
UPDATE 1/30/2023 - We are excited to report that, barring any unexpected developments in the public health policy world, the student exchange will resume in August 2023 with a visit from Tondabayashi students to Bethlehem. We will be looking for approximately six (6) host families, depending on the number of students that will be visiting, which is to be determined later in the spring. Each host family will be responsible for keeping a student for around 7-10 days. Please email us using the Application page to express interest!
During even-numbered years, Bethlehem students travel to Tondabayashi, which is near the city of Osaka. All expenses, except airfare and spending money, are covered by the city of Tondabayashi and their host families. Activities are provided at no cost to the students. Upcoming years include 2024, 2026, and 2028.
During odd-numbered years, families in Bethlehem host students from Tondabayashi. Host families are encouraged to include the visiting students in all their regular, summertime activities. Group activities are also planned for the visiting students, and host families and other community members are welcome to participate in most of these as well. Upcoming years include 2023, 2025, and 2027.
High school students in the Bethlehem Area School District - public, charter, or private - are eligible to apply.
Please see the Application page!
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