Exchange Programs

The Edmonds Sister City Commission has two different exchange programs with their City Sister of Hekinan, Japan: 1) Student Exchange 2) Adult Exchange. More information on each program below.

Student ExchangeWeb Poster 

For the past 24 years during the last two weeks of July, the Edmonds Sister City Commission has sent a student delegation, along with 1-2 chaperones, to Hekinan, Japan for a 13-day homestay. In addition, for the past 24 years during the first two weeks of August, Hekinan has sent a student delegation, along with their chaperones, to Edmonds for a 13-day homestay. To be eligible students must: 1) be between the ages of 14-18 at the time of the exchange 2) be in good standing in their classes (at time of application submission) and 3) be able to host a Hekinan student during the Hekinan student delegation stay in Edmonds. Students are responsible for their airfare, $350.00 to go towards chaperone airfare, and their own spending money. Chaperone desired skillset: 1) certificated teacher, school administrator, or interest/knowledge of Japanese culture/language 2) experience leading groups of students 3) able to fulfill the time commitment for the trip, orientation meetings and presentation to the Edmonds City Council after the trip. Over the years, this remarkable program has enriched the lives of hundreds of Edmonds and Hekinan students and their families, along with dozens of area teachers who have acted as chaperones. The application process for the student exchange opens every year in late October and runs through mid-February. The application process for chaperones opens every year in October and runs through mid-January. During that time, links to the application packets for both are posted here or are obtainable by calling the Mayor's Office at 425.771.0247.

Host family opportunities: The Commission is always looking for great host families for our adult exchanges that take place during special anniversary years. Host families play a very important role in our exchange program and enable us to continue this 24+-year tradition. If you and your family would like to experience this cross-cultural interaction, please let us know by contacting the Commission.

Adult Exchange
Since formation of the Edmonds/Hekinan Sister City relationship in 1988, over 1,000 people have traveled between the two cities. Typically, delegates stay in homes providing them with opportunities to meet residents and business owners and experience the respective cultures first-hand. Adult exchanges generally take place every 5 years or on significant anniversary dates, i.e., 5-year anniversary, 10-year anniversary, etc. Other adult visits have also occurred on significant anniversaries of either City, such as the 125th anniversary of the City of Edmonds. In 2018, Edmonds and Hekinan celebrated the 30th anniversary of their Sister City relationship. The next scheduled adult-exchange is in 2023.

Sister City Contact 

City Staff
Carolyn LaFave, Exec. Asst. to the Mayor

Sister City Commission

Current Openings

Office of the Mayor
425.771.0247 (phone)
425.771.0252 (fax)