Sister City

Hawkesbury's Sister City Association - " Building Friendships between People and Nations" Background

In 1984 the Hawkesbury Shire Council, led by President Bruce Brown, formed the Hawkesbury Sister City Association (HSCA). Its aim was to live up to the pledge of the Father of Sister Cities International, American President Eisenhower, to never repeat the tragedy of war. Mr Brown was a catalyst for the affiliation of sister cities within Australia as second President of Australian Sister Cities Association (ASCA) and contributed to that organisation from its earliest days in Alice Springs. He has been an example of the strong and consistent support that the HSCA has received from the Hawkesbury's local government. In addition to being a life member of ASCA, Mr Brown along with Jean Peare, Yvonne Whalan and Sue Machon have been recognised with life membership to HSCA for their tireless contribution to this organisation of international and community friendship.

The first sister city relationship began in 1984 with Temple City, California which lies in the shadows of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and is one of 85 cities which form Los Angeles County. The second sister city relationship and most prolific in terms of student exchange is with Tamba, Japan which was established in 1988. Tamba is located in the heart of Japan's most historical preference Kyoto and has an agricultural base similar to the Hawkesbury.

Since 1988 over 190 students have been exchanged between Tamba and the Hawkesbury through a 5 week home stay program. The student exchange program with Temple City started in December 2000 and since then approximately 48 students have been involved. Each year 6 Hawkesbury students are selected for Japan and another 6 for America approximately 6 months prior to departure, this time allows for the group to develop a strong bond together so that they can share in each others joy and talents as well as being pillars of support to anyone who feels a little homesick while away. In addition the program also focuses on group dynamics and cultural differences between Australia, Japan and America. Time is also given for discussion on the host family environment, housekeeping, dress code, considering the host families expectations, homesickness, problem solving, airport procedures and general knowledge questions on Australia and the Hawkesbury.

In an effort to support our charter on top of the student exchange program, the HSCC has organised exchanges between sporting teams and adult groups. It is our hope that in 2005 our adult program will be expanded by encouraging adult interest groups such as walking, quilting, gardening and pottery groups to visit their counterparts in Japan and America.

Key Experiences of our exchange students

Students staying in Japan can look forward to:

Attending a Japanese school, covering Japanese language, Japanese Calligraphy, art and assisting in English classes.
Home stay with a Japanese family.
Hiroshima via the Shinkansen (Bullet Train).
Kyoto (Ancient Capital of Japan).
Traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

Students staying in the USA can look forward to:

Attending an American school.
Home stay with an American family.
Universal Studios.
Rose Bowl parade.
The exchange student's experience does not end upon return to Australia. The lessons and memories of the students while away will remain with them forever and along the way these experiences are shared with members of their family, friends and school mates.

Timetable for exchange program

Students wishing to travel to TAMBA should apply for selection in November for a May departure returning in June the following year. Students interested in TEMPLE CITY should apply for selection in August which departs in December returning in January.

At the time of selection, students must be in either Year 9 or Year 10. This student "exchange" program is reciprocated when 6 students from Japan and 6 students from the USA arrive in the Hawkesbury and are home hosted by our students who have recently returned from their stay in Japan or the USA. The incoming Japanese and American students stay for approximately 5 weeks between July and August.

Association Meetings:

The association meets on the second Monday of each month at Hawkesbury Council Chambers, 366 George Street, Windsor and committee members also make themselves available for farewells, welcoming ceremonies and student training workshops.

For more information please contact:

Yvonne Whalan, The Secretary
1018 East Kurrajong Rd
EST KURRAJONG NSW 2758 or phone: (02) 4576 3304 

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