Sister City Student Exchanges

Group in Takasaki 2015
Are you interested in other cultures? Like to travel and make lasting friendships? High school students, as well as educators at any level, in the Battle Creek area school districts are invited to apply for the Battle Creek Takasaki Ambassador Exchange Program.

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, Japan

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.

Takasaki Brochure


Lucky Takasaki


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.
Drop off applications for high school ambassadors, as well as for teacher chaperones, in Room 206 at City Hall (10 N. Division St.) or mail them to the following address. We will take applications until spots are filled.
Jacob Schacht
Battle Creek Area International Relations Committee
c/o City Manager's Office
PO Box 1717
Battle Creek, MI 49016

Volunteer opportunities

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.

Contact Jacob for additional information at or 269-966-3378.


Takasaki trip to Mackinac Island 2015