STUDENT EXCHANGE

Applications close 28th February 2020

Teen Cultural Experience Program

1.   Participating in the Program

To participate in the program delegates MUST be in Year 9, 10 or 11 (in the year of the visitation) plus representatives MUST live and/or attend school in Hawkesbury City.  If you who meet this criteria you are welcome to apply for the HSCA Student Cultural Experience Program.

The family of Hawkesbury cultural experience delegates are required to host an inbound representataive if requested by HSCA.

Delegates selected as part of a Hawkesbury Student Cultural Experience Delegation will visit either Temple City in California or Kyotamba near Kyoto during September / October.

Prior to the delegate visit all representatives are required to attend sessions to prepare them for their experience of being a Cutlural Experience Representative.  A session overview will be given to delegates and their parents at the first information session.  The sessions will cover many aspects of the visit including international travel, living in another country and being an ambassador for your City.  Additional sessions are held for delegates going to Japan covering Japanese language and culture.  It is compulsory for ambassadors to attend their sessions, and on a couple of occasions a parent / guardian is also required to attend.  Failure in attending sessions or completing tasks may result in representatives being withdrawn from the program.

Families are required to host an inbound delegate.  Prior to host families being selected, representatives of HSCA will visit homes to discuss hosting an inbound  student.  HSCA provides advice and assistance to host families including a booklet with 'helpful hints' on hosting a representative.

2.  Application / Selection Process - applications for 2020 will open on 3rd February 2020 and close on 21st February 2020.

  • Submit an application form -
    • Application forms are completed and lodged electronically.
    • Click here to download an application form from the HSCA website.
  • All applicants will receive a phone call advising if they will progress in the selection progress, and appropriate students will be told the time of their Pre-Selection Meeting and interview.  It is compulsory for representatives progressing to attend both the Pre-Selection Meeting and interview.  At least one parent/guardian must attend a short information session that will coincide with the start of the Student Pre-Selection Meeting.
  • At the Pre-Selection Meeting applicants will interact with their peers and some members of the HSCA.
  • The final stage of the Selection Process is the individual interview.  All students who attend an interview will be advised of the outcome of their interview as quickly as possible - within a couple of days.


3. Important dates

 

03 February - applications open
17 February - information evening, 7pm
21 February - applications close
29 February - activity pre-selection day 10.30am - 4.30pm
08 March - pre-selection interviews - times to be advised
July/August - hosting of inbound students - 4 weeks - dates to be advised
September/October - outbound students travel to USA or Japan - 3-4 weeks - dates to be advised


4. Commonly asked questions
Q—How much will it cost?
A—Ambassadors are responsible for their own costs. Due to ever changing airfares it is difficult to determine the exact costs.  We estimate it will cost no more than $2000 - $2500 for the airfares and travel insurance. Other costs include, passport, gifts, personal spending money. During their visit the delegates will be taken on excursions by the sister city organisation who will cover the costs of these excursions including travel, entries and meals.

Q—How can delegates participate in the program?
A
—Return a completed application form by the closing date. 

Q—Will I automatically get an interview?
A
—No.  The applications will be shortlisted.  Applicants will be advised if they will continue onto the selection process or if their application has not been successful.

Q—How does the selection process work?
A
—Representatives on the shortlist will attend a meeting/workshop along with other applicants. Members of HSCA will run activities and get to chat with the students applying for the program.
The next day individual interviews will be held with each applicant having a meeting with the selection panel.

 
Q—How will delegates cope with being away from home for such a long period of time—and in the case of Japan, in a non-English speaking country?
A
—Prior to departure delegates are required to attend sessions run by the Hawkesbury Sister City Association which cover all aspects of being a cultural experience representative.  These sessions are specially devised to aid students prepare for their cultural experience and also provide an opportunity for representatives in the delegations to get to know each other. There are additional sessions in Japanese language and culture for delegates visiting Kyotamba to ensure they will have some understanding of basic Japanese language and culture prior to their visit.

 
Q—What is involved with hosting an inbound representative?
A
—The cultural experience program is designed for representatives to experience the lifestyle and culture of another country. As such, hosting a representative is like having another child in your home for a month. Delegates are expected to participate in the everyday family lifestyle and do chores / help around the house. While it is great if you can take your representative sightseeing, it is also important that they experience the everyday things, like going to Saturday sport, family occasions, grocery shopping, etc. Host families are required to provide a safe environment with a comfortable place for delegates to sleep and keep their personal belongings, provide them with meals, including lunch at school. During weekdays the representatives will either attend school or the Hawkesbury Sister City Association will take them on excursions. When the Association takes the delegates on excursions HSCA provide and pay for the representatives’ travel, entries and meals. An itinerary detailing these excursions will be provided prior to their arrival. In addition the Association will hold a meeting with host families, visit the home of each host family and provide a booklet with hints on hosting.

 

Q—I have concerns about hosting an inbound representative?
A
—The HSCA Cultural Experience program is run by a team of volunteers.  To facilitate the hosting of inbound representatives, HSCA require families of outbound delegates to home host an inbound representative.  Prior to organising the hosting roster, representatives of HSCA will visit all the homes of our delegates to discuss both hosting and your childs participation in the program.  At this time we can talk about any concerns you have.  Occasionally HSCA will not ask a family to host because of a particular family circumstance.

 

Q—What country will my host representative come from?
A
—If your child is going to Kyotamba, then you will host a delegate from Kyotamba; and if you child is going to Temple City, then you will host a delegate from Temple City. 


Q—I have lots of questions about my child going overseas, and about hosting a representative. How can I get more information?
A— Hawkesbury Sister City Association holds an information night to provide more information and answer any questions parents or students may have about the exchange program. 
ALL ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND - so if you are unsure if you want to apply, or you want to find out more about the program and meet some of the volunteers who run it come along.

HSCA recommends and strong encourages applicants and parents to come to the information evening.


5.  Contact Details
If you want to get more information please checkout the Hawkesbury Sister City Association Inc FaceBook page.

You are also welcome to telephone or email the Association Secretary Bridget on 0425 232 413 or secretaryhsca@gmail.com; or Association President Nicole on 0415755089, email presidenthsca@gmail.com; or any member of HSCA.

** All information is subject to change at any time **