Lismore and its Japanese sister city, Yamato Takada, created the first sister city relationship between Japan and Australia in 1963. Fifty-five years on they are still celebrating this bond as Lismore City Council calls for students and host families to be part of the 2018 Sister City Student Exchange Program to Japan.
‘Travelling on the student exchange program or taking part as a host family is life-changing,’ Sister City Advisory Panel Chairperson Neil Marks said.
Recalling a previous visit to Yamato Takada Neil said he had spoken to a woman at one of the temples they were visiting who had been to Lismore as a student who had wonderful memories of the experience.
‘A lot of long term friendships have bee created as a result of these lists,’ continued Neil.
Council is now calling for nominations from secondary students to participate in the exchange program and is seeking nominations from interested people to host students from Yamato Takada when they come to stay in Lismore.
Students who go to school in the Lismore City Council area who are in years nine and ten are encouraged to apply through their schools.
The students must pay for the costs of the exchange program that will take place in September and though there is no funding for disadvantaged students to go Neil highlighted that many of the schools had fundraised to assist students to access the program.
‘It is a great experience,’ said Neil.
‘But it is not a holiday. Students attend school and a range of events during the twelve day exchange program.’
They are also looking for host families for visiting students from Yamato Takada and Neil highlights that ‘as a host family, you may not travel overseas, but hosting a student is an incredibly joyful experience. Our Japanese guests are always so gracious, and having the chance to share cultural understanding, language and history is unforgettable.’
If you are interested in either hosting or applying to be part of the exchange program complete the online nomination forms. The closing date for nominations is 30 April.
For more information, please phone Sister City Student Exchange Program Coordinator Michella Wade on 1300 87 83 87.