Student Exchange Memuro, Japan

Thank you for your interest in the Tracy Sister City Youth Exchange Program to Memuro, Japan.  Created over 25 years ago to promote friendship and cross cultural understanding with our Sister City in Memuro, the Youth Exchange Program has proven to be a wonderful experience for more than 200 Tracy area 8th grade students. Listed below you will find a quick overview of the program and Memuro, Japan.  

Introduction to our Sister City- Memuro, Japan

Memuro is a small, agricultural community of  about 20,000 people located on the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan. It is a very safe and scenic town.  We have found over the many years of friendship that the people are warm, genuine, and are wonderful host families.  

Trip Details:  Each year the program sends up to ten Tracy “Youth Ambassadors” and two chaperones to Memuro for a nine-day stay (including travel time).  Six of those days are spent with a Japanese home stay family.  In addition to the home stay experience, students will have the opportunity to tour local area museums, shrines, schools and shopping areas.  Students are selected in November through an interview process, and the trip usually occurs in June.  Students participate in bi-weekly mandatory cultural classes in the preceding months in order to prepare them for their visit. 

Costs and Expenses:  While the Sister City Association of Tracy reserves the group airline tickets for the trip, each family is responsible for the cost of their own airline ticket.  Ticket prices vary each year.  As such, we strongly encourage the parents and students to actively fundraise in the months preceding travel.  In addition to the tickets, other costs include but are not limited to the following: obtaining a U.S. passport, inexpensive host family gifts, spending money in Japan and new shoes to be used when visiting Memuro schools.

Cultural Classes:  Prior to the trip to Memuro, students must attend cultural classes approximately twice a month, each class lasting two hours.  The class schedule is determined by the students and parents at the first ambassador meeting.  These classes are mandatory.  Classes are taught by a member of the Sister City Association.  Language, Japanese customs and culture are emphasized.  A dance is also taught which is later performed at the ambassadors' “Sayonara Party” in Japan.  We realize many students have various other athletic and school commitments, but it is imperative that students attend these classes.  

Fundraising:  Parents, family, friends and local community support are crucial to the success of the trip.  While the students are attending cultural classes, the parents meet and discuss fundraising opportunities.  As a target goal, we try to raise at least $5000 to cover all ground expenses for students and chaperones (meals while at airports/tours, two nights hotels in Sapporo).  The parent group is responsible for handling all fundraising money with bank account setup strictly for this purpose.  If the parent group raises more than enough to cover these expenses, any leftover money is then divided equally and dispersed to the families and chaperones.