Michigan/Shiga Student Exchange Program

The Michigan Department of Education and the Shiga Board of Education initiated the Michigan-Shiga Student Exchange Program in 1990.  The program was originally operated out of the Michigan Department of Education, then Clinton County RESA and the Office of Gifted and Talented Education at Michigan State University, and since 2014 it has been operated by the Michigan Shiga Sister State Board and Lansing Community College. 

Each year the program offers 15 high school students an opportunity to travel to Shiga Prefecture in late June/early July to live with a Japanese family for two weeks.  During their home stay the Michigan students attend school, participate in cultural and family events, increase their awareness of the Japanese culture and build lifelong relationships.  In early September, the Michigan students welcome their Japanese host students to Michigan.  During their two weeks in Michigan, the Japanese students also attend school and participate in school and family activities while experiencing the culture here and extending the bonds between the two families.  Two English Language instructors and a school principal accompany the Japanese students.  The Michigan students are chaperoned by two experienced K-12 school teachers who are members of the Michigan-Shiga Student Exchange Program Committee.

Application Considerations for Michigan Students

  • Students and parents must attend the orientation meeting in April, held in Lansing at Lansing Community College.
  • Michigan students will depart from and arrive at Capitol Area Regional Airport in Lansing.
  • Families of selected students must host a Japanese student for two weeks in September.
  • Michigan families must arrange to meet their Japanese students and attend the closing reception in Lansing at Lansing Community College.
  • 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.
  • The cost per student is $1,065.00 not including airfare $2001.40* to be paid after acceptance into the program.
    *Airfare may be subject to change due to fluctuations in flight costs.

2014 Application Form (PDF)

2014 Application Form (MS-WORD)

2014 Program Brochure


How the Program Works

  • Fifteen high school students, currently in grades 9 to 11, are chosen to represent the State of Michigan.
  • Fifteen Shiga high school students are selected and paired with the Michigan students, based on similar interests.
  • During the summer the Michigan students visit Shiga, Japan for two weeks. Each stays with a Japanese student and family, attends school and participates in their daily lives.
  • The Japanese students travel to Michigan for two weeks in September. Each stays with the family of the Michigan student who stayed with him/her during the summer and attends school with that student.
  • Applicants should be open-minded, flexible, willing to accept new challenges and ready for rewarding experiences.

Timeline 2014

4/04, 2014 Applications must be postmarked by this date
4/14, 2014 Michigan candidates notified of their status via e-mail
4/26, 2014 Orientation for candidates and parents in Lansing
6/26, 2014 Michigan students leave Michigan for Shiga, Japan
6/27, 2014 Michigan students arrive in Shiga
6/27, 2014 Michigan students meet their Shiga host families
7/11, 2014 Michigan students depart Shiga
7/14, 2014 Michigan Students arrive in Michigan
8/28, 2014 Shiga students arrive and meet Michigan families at Capital City Regional Airport in Lansing.
9/13, 2014 Farewell Reception in Lansing for Shiga students and their host families
9/14, 2014 Shiga students leave for Japan