Teacher / Student Exchange Program

Getting to know each other, one student at a time.

Pribaseball-playersor to the pandemic, multiple exchanges took place each year between students and teachers as a part of our sister city program. All in-person exchanges have been put on hold due to pandemic travel restrictions, but we look forward to we can resume this annual tradition of friendship and education.

In the fall, Hanamaki sends student delegations to Hot Springs. The students stay with host families, visit area schools, attend sporting events, and learn what life is like as an American teenager.

Each year the Hot Springs National Park Sister City Foundation accepts applications from Garland County students in grades 8 – 11 to be a part of a student delegation that travels to Hanamaki each summer. Some scholarships are available, with an annual Cherry Blossom Festival being held to raise funds for the scholarship fund.)

In addition to student delegates traveling to Hanamaki for educational exchange, a small delegation of Garland County educators take part in an educational exchange each year. The program, sponsored by the Hot Springs National Park Sister City Foundation, invites teachers and administrators to apply for a scholarship to represent Hot Springs in traveling to our sister city. Teachers homestay, learn about the history and culture of Hanamaki, and visit area schools. The teachers are then able to bring back best practices to share in their classrooms and with other teachers and administrators in their home schools.

Sister school relationships

The following schools have sister school relationships and many take part in arts, video, and student exchanges each year.  

  • Sasama Daini Elementary School and Fountain Lake Elementary School
  • Hot Springs Middle School and Hanamaki Junior High
  • Jessieville Middle Schools and Ohasama Junior High Schools
  • Lakeside High School and Hanamaki Higashi High School
  • Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and Arts and Hanamaki Kita High School

For more information about how you can be involved in hosting guests or traveling to Hanamaki as a student or teacher delegate, email director@hotspringssistercity.org.

Sister Cities International

Sister Cities International facilitates partnerships in 140 countries on six continents between 600 communities in the United States with similar municipalities abroad. Sister Cities International represents citizen diplomats who work tirelessly to promote the organization's mission of creating world peace and cultural understanding through economic and sustainable development programs, youth and education projects, arts and culture, and humanitarian assistance.