The Southern California city of Redlands has three sister cities: Hino, Japan, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and Linli, China. Hino became Redlands’ first sister city in 1963, followed by San Miguel de Allende in 1967.
Redlands and Hino have exchanged students since 1988. Each city alternates host responsibilities, which means students from Hino return to Redlands next summer. Cencirulo hopes students participating this year will become host families as the program continues.
An on Sunday March 12, sixteen Redlands’ teens boarded a plane bound for Hino, Japan.
It is the largest group of students the Redlands Sister Cities Association has sent to Hino to experience the life and culture of the Japanese people through its student-exchange program.
Along with two chaperones, those selected to be a part of the experience will spend much of their spring break exploring Hino and neighboring communities, including Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara, said Roy Cencirulo, RSCA president.
“One of the things they will be doing is spending time at Hino junior and senior high schools to see what the Japanese education system is like,” he said, adding the students also will dabble in judo, tea ceremonies and tours of popular historic sites. “They’ll all be staying with individual families in Hino, and one of the things I found out during my last visit in January is (Hino has had) more interest in the past on their side.”
About 30 families applied to be host families for participating students. Sixteen were selected to take part, as were two others hosting chaperones Stephanie Lao and Alan Leach.
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To learn more about the exchange program or the RSCA, go to www.redlandssistercities.com.