Student Goodwill Ambassador Exchanges

Our committee has been running student exchanges for around 25 years with Kurashiki. (2015 was the 23rd exchange) Every year there is an exchange programme with 14 students being selected from schools all over the Christchurch region.

The programme consists of 2 stages, the inbound and outbound. The inbound stage is held in late July, where 14 students from Kurashiki, will come to stay in Christchurch for 2 weeks and enjoy various activities around Christchurch.

Each Kurashiki student is paired with a Christchurch student, and the buddies look after each other in both stages of the programme. While the Kurashiki students are here they stay with their Christchurch buddies, and when we go to Kurashiki in late September our students will stay with their Kurashiki buddies. While the Kurashiki group is here, we take them around to visit the local attractions and they learn as much as possible about life in New Zealand. Likewise when we are in Japan, the Kurashiki City council takes us to the local attractions and we learn a lot about life in Japan. There are also a few days in the programme for the students to go to school and experience school life in each other’s country. This is always a lot of fun and really different for all the students.

The main purpose of this programme is to promote friendship and understanding between our two cultures and countries, which is exactly what the sister city relationships are based on. The Christchurch-Kurashiki Sister City committee has a wealth of experience running this programme, and other programmes and projects aimed at promoting friendship between New Zealand and Japan. The committee has seen that by giving the youth of each country a chance to make real and lasting friendships, it is the best start for positive future inter-cultural relations.

All the participants in the programme are guided and taught the various differences of each culture and are shown that both cultures share the same important values, but the expression of these values is sometimes different.  

The details of the programme change slightly every year, but in general they follow the following format.

  1. All students aged 13~15 years old in October are all eligible to apply
  2. There is no requirement to be studying Japanese, but you must have a strong interest in Japan
  3. The cost will be approximately $3600 (this depends on the year a little)
  4. You need to have the support of your school
  5. All schools in the greater Christchurch area are able to participate
  6. There is a strong expectation that students are able to act as ambassadors at all times

usually cut-off dates for applications are at the end of Term 1, so ask your school's Japanese teacher or international department for an application form. If they don't have one, contact us directly and we'll help you out.