Takeo Program Information
SWF’s Takeo Program offers a variety of activities. Many Sebastopol students, families, city officials and citizens have had the unique opportunity to gain rich cultural experiences through the program, whether in Takeo or in Sebastopol. They have created lifelong friendships bridging the Pacific Ocean and become part of the people to people diplomacy movement.
Middle School Student Exchange Program
This program is offered to 7th or the 8th grade students (at the time of application) attending a middle school in Sebastopol or living in Sebastopol.
Each group cycle lasts 2 years; in the first year, Takeo students visit and stay with their Sebastopol counterparts, and in the second year, Sebastopol students visit Takeo. They homestay at each other’s houses for approximately 10 days in spring, experiencing their respective cities, cultures and lifestyles.
A typical exchange group consists of approximately 18 student ambassadors per city.
Sebastopol and Takeo student ambassadors are paired with one another or matched in small groupings.
Adult Delegation Travel and Hosting Opportunities
Occasionally, Sebastopol and Takeo organize/ host a delegation consisting of adult citizens. Most of the adult delegations travel with the student exchange group. When an adult delegation visits Sebastopol, they homestay at Sebastopol citizen’s house.
University Student Program
Sebastopol World Friends has a unique partnership with the Global Initiative Center of Kagoshima University of Kagoshima, Japan. We host a group of Kagoshima University students approximately once a year. The students learn about civic engagement, volunteerism, education system, and Sebastopol’s community building effort through the curriculum that SWF creates and their homestay experience.
For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
History of the Takeo Program
1985 Sebastopol, California, and Yamauchi, Japan, signed a sister city charter as members of the Sister Cities International. Shortly after that time, Sebastopol World Friends began organizing regular cultural exchanges between the two cities in collaboration with Yamauchi World Friends.
1988 The first Yamauchi middle school student group visited Sebastopol in August.
1993 Sister-school charter was signed and a two-year visitation cycle was established.
2008 Yamauchi Town, Kitagata Town, and Takeo City merged to form new Takeo City.
2011 New sister city agreement was signed in Sebastopol by the mayors of both cities.
2011 SWF received grants from Sister Cities International and the Japan Foundation to organize a Sustainable Development study tour. Eight citizens from the Sebastopol community visited Takeo to learn their best practices in the field of sustainable development.
2012 In response to our community’s interest in sustainable development, SWF hosted a delegation of five college students studying fair trade at Kagoshima University in Kagoshima Prefecture on Kyushu Island, Japan.
2015 “Takeo City Avenue” street sign was installed in downtown Sebastopol to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the sister city relationship.
2017 From the success of hosting the Kagoshima University group, a new program was developed in collaboration with Kagoshima University Global Institute Center. SWF has hosted several student groups through this program since then.
2020 A student group’s scheduled visit to Takeo had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
2023 Student ambassadors of the 2020 student group finally got to travel to Takeo after waiting for 3.5 years and successfully completed the cycle.
2025 SWF will celebrate the 40th anniversary of this sister city relationship with Takeo.
Sister City Agreement Signing Ceremony in 2011, Sebastopol
Sustainable Development Study delegation visiting Saga Prefectural Office in 2011
Takeo City Avenue sign in 2015
Want more information?
Have questions about the Chyhyryn Program, please get in touch. We’ll be happy to help.