Sister City Student Exchanges
General Exchange Information
The Battle Creek Area International Relations Society, a committee appointed by the mayor of Battle Creek, oversees cultural exchanges with Battle Creek's Sister City, Takasaki, Japan. The student exchange offers the opportunity to stay with a Japanese family, visit area tourist attractions, and represent the City of Battle Creek at the annual Takasaki Summer Festival (includes shrine carrying pictured above).
Any student attending school in the Battle Creek area is eligible to apply. Teachers and administrators working in the Battle Creek area are also encouraged to participate. Adult chaperones and translators assist the delegations in both countries.
High School Ambassador Exchange
The International Relations Committee sends four high school students and a teacher to Japan each summer as part of its High School Ambassador Exchange Program. The Battle Creek area delegation hosts a Japanese delegation in Battle Creek, then travels to Takasaki, Japan, as part of a 20-day summer exchange. The exchange period falls within the last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August.
Questions about the program are welcome any time. Call Jacob Schacht in the City Manager's Office at 269-966-3378.
Takasaki is located in Gunma Prefecture, around 120 kilometers (75 miles) northwest of Tokyo, about 50 minutes via high-speed train or 2 hours by car. Population totaled around 375,000 in 2017. Takasaki became established as a city in 1900, although the region was bustling throughout the feudal days of the Edo period (1603-1868).
Today, a busy city center is surrounded by farmland (many rice fields) and a lush forest with mountains on the horizon. Takasaki is famously home to the Daruma doll, a good luck symbol in Japan. Takasaki residents are known for their warm-hearted, polite nature.
Battle Creek’s sister city relationship with Takasaki began in 1981. Takasaki has four other sister cities, but Battle Creek remains its oldest connection.
Check out the brochures below or Visit Takasaki's English website for more information.
2019 Exchange Information
- Battle Creek high school families will host Takasaki students July 21-31.
- Battle Creek High School Delegation will depart on Aug. 1, returning on Aug. 11.
Battle Creek Area International Relations Committee
c/o City Manager's Office
PO Box 1717Battle Creek, MI 49016
NEW THIS YEAR! The student financial contribution to the Takasaki exchange program is $500. There is a new volunteer component to assist students interested in lowering that cost. Organizers will reduce the cost by $10 for every hour of volunteer service. If a student volunteers 50 hours (and documents it), their contribution is zero.
Students can volunteer until the Takasaki delegation's arrival on July 21. Any volunteer activity is acceptable, as long as it does not benefit a family member -- such as organized volunteer work by a nonprofit or club, and yard work for a neighbor. Each activity must be verified with the signature of the coordinator or recipient.
See the documents below to get started -- there is a list of initial, organized volunteer opportunities, and a form to track student activities.