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Byron Shire
June 4, 2023

Exchanging students with Lismore’s Sister City

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Brandon Yee with a gift from his Yamato Takada Student Exchange. Photo supplied.

This year Lismore City Council is looking forward to celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Sister City relationship with Yamato Takada this year as well as resuming the Sister City Student Exchange Program after it was postponed in 2019 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The exchange will run from 26 September to 10 October during school holidays. The program provides Lismore secondary students the opportunity to experience Japanese culture and cuisine while being ambassadors for their city and school.

Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg emphasised the importance of the Yamato Takada Exchange Program in providing unique and valuable experiences for young people.

‘Through this program, students have the opportunity to make new friends, connect with people from different parts of the world, and build bridges between different cultures.

Oldest Sister City relationship in Australia

‘This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Sister City relationship between Lismore and Yamato Takada, making it the oldest Sister City relationship in Australia. It will be a very special exchange program this year and I encourage all eligible students to apply for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Council established a Sister City relationship with Yamato Takada on 7 August 1963 through the efforts of Father Paul Glynn. Father Glynn, who had been working in Yamato Takada, collaborated with businesses in his hometown of Lismore to raise funds for the construction of a kindergarten in Yamato Takada. Through this collaboration the Sister City relationship developed.

Former exchange program participant and current Sister City Advisory Group member Brandon Yee said his experience with the program has had a profound impact on his life.

‘The exchange program was a very valuable experience for me. It has forged my future career as a language teacher and helped me to understand where my passions lie.

An incredible opportunity

‘This year I became a member of Council’s Sister City Advisory Group. I hope to inspire more students to take up this incredible opportunity and continue to be an ambassador for this important sister city relationship.’

Mr See said that if you have any passion for Japanese culture or just want to go out and see the world, he highly recommends this experience. ‘It’s not just a holiday, it’s getting to know the culture on a deeper level and experience everyday living. You can’t put a price on that.’

As part of the exchange program, Yamato Takada students will be visiting Lismore in July/August. Council is currently seeking Host Families to house these students during their visit, providing them with a warm welcome and an opportunity to experience Australian culture. 

Additionally, Council is seeking a chaperone to accompany the Lismore students during their trip. We encourage anyone interested in hosting or chaperoning to apply as soon as possible, as applications close on 9 June 2023.

To access the application forms for Student, Chaperone, or Host Family Applications, please visit https://yoursay.lismore.nsw.gov.au/expression-of-interest-student-exchange

For further information, please contact Lismore City Council on 6625 0500 or email [email protected].

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