Hikone-Ann Arbor Student Exchange Program

  • Hikone 2018

    Celebrating 50 Years of Friendship! 

    Hikone, Japan and Ann Arbor, Michigan are celebrating 50 years of sister-city friendship in 2019. Be a part of the history and apply to be an Ann Arbor/Hikone Middle School Ambassador. 

    The Ann Arbor Public Schools is pleased to offer our sixth,  seventh and eighth grade students the opportunity to apply to be a student ambassador and host a middle school exchange student from our sister city in Hikone, Japan. Fourteen Ann Arbor middle school students will be selected as the 2019 Hikone Ambassadors.


    6th Grade Families may now apply as well. 

    The program begins in June 2019 and runs through October 2019. Students will take 4 classes in total on Japanese language and culture over the summer through the early fall. Activities include learning Japanese etiquette, sampling Japanese food, making paper cranes, and learning a bit about Japanese language, history and culture. The students and adult leaders become a close-knit group through this 4 month experience. 

    If accepted to the program, AAPS families will host their Hikone guests for one week in the fall, from September 30 - October 8, 2019. Guests will attend class with their AAPS student ambassador.

    In even numbered years (...2018, 2020, 2022...) the Hikone students come to Ann Arbor for a week in October and stay with local host families, but we then send the 14 AAPS students to Hikone, Japan in November. For the purpose of this program, even numbered years are called travel years and odd numbered years are called non-travel years. Even though the Japanese students come to Ann Arbor every year, we only send our AAPS students to Japan every other year, in even numbered years.

    We are currently seeking applications for 2019 (a non-travel year) for middle school students to host our Hikone guests in Ann Arbor. 

    Current 6th, 7th and 8th grade AAPS students are invited to apply to be a Student Ambassador to host for 2019. 6th and 7th grade students who host in a non-travel year may reapply the following year in a travel year. There are no guarantees of acceptance, however, in the following year. 

    If you are interested in applying, please download the application from the links below:

    Application Directions

    2019 Complete Application

    Teacher Recommendation Form

    Online Google Application

    NEW DEADLINE: April 15, 2019