The Michigan-Shiga Student Exchange Program is designed to promote friendship and understanding among Japanese and American high school students. For the 2012-2013 program, tentatively, Michigan participants will travel to Japan from June 26, 2013 to July 12, 2013 and host a Japanese student from August 29, 2013 to September 15, 2013.
In 1968 Michigan and Shiga Prefecture in Japan became sister states. Through that partnership many exchanges have taken place involving teachers, community members and students. Michigan currently has 16 sister-friendship cities within Shiga Prefecture. The Michigan-Shiga Student Exchange Program was initiated by the Michigan Department of Education and the Shiga Board of Education in 1990.
“In a global economy, education is especially important. In Michigan, we are excited to be educating citizens of the world. The cross cultural exchange our young people experience at the Japan Center for Michigan Universities is important for us both.”
- Governor Jennifer Granholm, July 26, 2005
- A designated number of high school students, currently in grades 9 to 11, are chosen to represent the State of Michigan.
- Shiga students of similar age are selected and then paired with the Michigan students of similar age and experience.
- During the summer the Michigan students spend two weeks in Shiga, Japan. Each stays with a Japanese student and family, attends school and participates in their daily lives.
- The Japanese students come to Michigan for two weeks in September, each staying with the family of the Michigan student who stayed with him/her during the summer and will be attending school with him/her.
- Students should be open-minded, flexible, willing to accept new challenges and ready for rewarding experiences.
** The Michigan-Shiga Exchange Program is aligned with Iowa State University’s Targeting Life Skills Model, encouraging development of the following areas:
Learning to Learn
- Grades 9-11 for the 2012-2013 school year
- Documentation of strong standardized test scores: PLAN, PSAT, ACT, or SAT
Fifteen students are selected through a committee selection process during a weekend orientation at MSU. While previous study of Japanese language is helpful, it is not necessary in order to participate in the program.
For the 2012-2013 program, applications are due February 1, 2013. No money should be sent with the application.
- After applications are reviewed, selected students and parents must pay a $130 deposit for an over-night orientation on March 8 and 9 at the Kellog Conference Center.
- Those choosen as participants from those who attended the orientation must pay an initial program payment of $1,700. This includes a trip deposit of $200 and the $1,500 program payment. Remaining students who attended the orientation will be placed on an alternates list.
- This program fee does not include airfare. There are new entry safety procedures upon entering Japan, these can be viewed at here.
- Airfare to and from Japan will be covered by the applicant; flight information will be provided at the orientation.
- The $200 travel deposit will be deducted from the plane ticket cost.
- Michigan students will depart from and return to Capital Region International Airport in Lansing.
- Families of selected students must host a Japanese student for two weeks in September. Michigan families must arrange to both meet their Japanese students and attend the Farewell Reception in Lansing.
- The high school attended by the Michigan student must be willing to welcome a Japanese student to its classes for two weeks in September.
- Previous study of Japanese language on the part of the applicant is helpful, but not necessary.
Program costs do not include transportation to and from Japan. In addition, parents/guardians are responsible for picking up and dropping off the students from the Lansing Region International Airport.
Spring Orientation for 2012-2013
Selected students attend an extensive orientation session to prepare them for the cultural changes they will experience while abroad. A $130 orientation fee is required for attendees. This orientation session, held on March 8 and 9, 2013, will include lessons in Japanese culture, culture shock, teambuilding, and lessons in advanced or beginning Japanese. At the conclusion of the orientation, the Michigan-Shiga Student Exchange Committee selects the 15 participants who will travel to Japan.
MICHIGAN-SHIGA STUDENT EXCHANGE
Chaperone and Committee Member Application
Trip to Shiga, Japan: (Tentative)
Thursday, August 28th – Sunday, September 14th, 2014 (Japan to MI)
The Michigan-Shiga Student Exchange Program permits 15 Michigan high school students to visit Shiga Prefecture, our sister state in Japan, where the students live two weeks in the summer with Shiga high school students and their families. While in Shiga the Michigan students attend school with their host students, and the chaperones visit each of the host schools. The Shiga host students then live for two weeks in September, living with the Michigan students and their families, also attending school. More details about the program are online at http://gifted.msu.edu/programs/michigan-shiga-exchange.
This program offers a unique opportunity for the two chaperones to visit and experience Japanese high schools and to visit a number of towns in Shiga prefecture, which surrounds beautiful Lake Biwa. Chaperones will have their round-trip flights paid for as well as their hotel stay and meals throughout the two weeks in Shiga. However, attending meetings in Michigan and all other miscellaneous expenses are not covered.
This is a wonderful experience, but it is a working trip and not a sightseeing tour. Each year two chaperones accompany the 15 Michigan high school students to Shiga. We prefer having one male and one female chaperone.
CHAPERONE REQUIREMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The chaperone must be
- A current resident of Michigan
- Involved in education (grade 7 – 12)
- Must be willing to assume responsibility for the students
- Physically fit; i.e., able to tolerate high heat and humidity and able to walk several miles/climb up three flights of stairs in non-air-conditioned settings
- Independent and self-reliant
- Able to cope with unexpected problems while maintaining a positive attitude
- Committed to the program 24/7 for the full two weeks
- Participate on the program committee for two years; about 4 meetings per year in East Lansing
- Be able for two years of summer travel to Japan
Helpful background experiences
- International travel
- Japanese language and cultural experiences
- Leadership with teenagers
Helpful characteristics of chaperones
- Open-minded and sensitive to cultural differences
- Excited about experiencing a new culture, including eating unfamiliar food
EXPECTATIONS OF CHAPERONES
Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to the following:
- Travel to and from Japan with the Michigan high school students in June/July
- Ultimate responsibility for the Michigan students while in Shiga, including when the students are staying with host families for two weeks
- Visitation of up to 15 high schools in Shiga
- Visits with Shiga officials, including giving brief speeches
Required committee meetings for two years:
- Student selection – A Saturday in February each year
- Student/parent orientation –a Friday night and all day Saturday in early March
- De-briefing within two weeks following trip to Japan
- August committee meeting
- October committee meeting
- Duties related to the exchange experience:
- Attend December planning meeting
- Attend Student Selection Committee Meeting in February
- Attend Orientation in March
- Send bi-monthly e-mails to program participants and their parents
Come to the GATE Office in June for pre-travel meeting
- Travel and Shiga portion – two weeks in late June, early July; communicate daily with the GATE Office keeping Director informed of any situations that need attention. Take photos of students on first day, at schools and at closing event. Forward photos on a regular basis to parents and GATE Office. Maintain accurate financial records during trip.
- Return financial report and any funds to GATE Office within two weeks of return to Michigan. Attend debriefing meeting at this time.
- August planning meeting in East Lansing
- Shiga delegation’s day of courtesy visits and sightseeing in Lansing –
Attend activities on first Friday after the Japanese students and chaperones arrive in Michigan
- Assisting in the hosting of the chaperone activities during their visit over one of the weekends in September
- Moderate the Farewell Celebration for Shiga students in Lansing area last Saturday of Japanese stay in MI in September.
- Attend October Planning Meeting in East Lansing
Please submit the following information electronically to email@example.com.
Applications are due by January 15, 2013.
Place of employment
Current position and number of years in that position
Name and title of supervisor
Social security number (for routine background check)
Name, title and contact information for two references
Please attach a brief essay of 1 to 3 pages to express:
- Your interest and enthusiasm for being a chaperone for the Michigan-Shiga Student Exchange Program
- The ways in which you meet the requirements and recommendations listed above
- Your ability to fulfill the responsibilities detailed in the Expectations of Chaperones
Accepted applicants will be contacted to attend an interview with the committee in February in East Lansing on the MSU campus.
Considerations for Travel
Students should apply for their passport when completing their application.
Due to the changes in the US laws, the processing time for passports has greatly increased. Passport forms are available at most post offices and can also be downloaded from the internet. If you already have a passport, make sure it is valid until at least six months after your return date. In order for any student to travel, they must have their passport information submitted to our office 48 hours prior to departure.
Student Supervision Abroad
Two chaperones will be selected from a pool of well-qualified high school teachers from Michigan to supervise the students’ activities while they are abroad. The chaperones will spend the two weeks traveling to different high schools around Shiga, visiting with Japanese educators, and checking in with Michigan students. Chaperones are also always available by cell phone for students in case of an emergency. The role of the chaperone is designed to allow the students the highest degree of freedom and independence in their experience while lending support and assistance in their time abroad.