The Brea-Hanno Student Exchange program is a long-standing arrangement between Brea, California, USA and Hanno, Saitama, Japan that has spanned over 30 years. Each year, Japanese students from the 9 junior high schools in Hanno are interviewed and vetted for the opportunity to visit Brea as part of an official student delegation. This competitive process leaves many disappointed by selects some of the brightest and most eager students from our sister city to get a taste of American life and Brea hospitality. High school students from Brea-Olinda High School are interviewed and vetted similarly, however we grant many more opportunities for students to travel. While Hanno students are allowed only one year of eligibility, Brea students are permitted to apply any of their 4 years at the High School. It is the desire of the Brea Sister City Association that all students in Brea be given the unique and life-changing opportunity to travel abroad and experience a different culture first hand. While our program works in cooperation with the Japanese language program at the high school as well as the Japanese Booster Club, there is no Japanese language requirement for applicants. Our program is open to all students at Brea-Olinda High School with consideration for Brea residents attending other schools if they are willing to accommodate the itinerary of the program.
With so many opportunities to travel to Japan, our delegation sizes tend to ebb and flow, and our numbers tend to be smaller than the 18 student delegation that we receive from Hanno each Winter. By sending fewer students than we are hosting, there is a need for additional host families most years. If you are interested in our program, becoming a host family is a wonderful introduction. Please consider taking in a Hanno student for their short stay over Martin Luther King Jr. Day Weekend. The only requirement to apply is that you have a student at Brea-Olinda High School.
Another opportunity for Brea citizens to visit our sister city in Hanno is to travel as a chaperone for our student delegation. As a chaperone, you will travel for only the cost of your plane ticket. While in Hanno, you will be placed with a host family for the duration of your stay, giving you the full experience of our cultural exchange. There will be some duties related to ensuring the Brea students’ safety and cooperation, however, for much of your stay, you will enjoy a separate itinerary with the opportunity to travel with your host family to other nearby cities and cultural attractions. You likely will never have such an affordable or personal experience in Japan (unless you already have friends or family who live there).