Bringing the World Together, one Friendship at a Time


carwash 1_newThis summer, amid wishes of bon voyage from friends and family, 32 high school students will undertake some serious globe-hopping to promote good will and cultural understanding through the Tempe Sister Cities’ Student Exchange program.
Twenty of the students attend either Marcos de Niza or Corona del Sol high schools. All the student participants will enter their senior year in the fall and have been matched with a family with a child of a similar age living in one of Tempe’s Sister Cities.
In the structured program, the students from Tempe will stay with the international host family for five weeks. This will be followed by a reciprocal visit from their international “brother or sister,” who will come to stay with the local student’s family for five weeks.
Tempe Sister Cities Board Member Dave Robertson has a daughter who went to Ecuador while in high school. She is now a sophomore at University of Arizona and introduced her parents to the program. This summer, the Robertsons’ son Jack, a Corona student, will travel to Germany.
“The Student Exchange is a great way for American young people to have exposure to kids who have grown up in other countries and cultures,” said Robertson. “The students actually live in the family’s home and experience their daily life.”
The motto of the Tempe Sister Cities program—to encourage international friendships—seems to stand in stark contrast to the violence reported nearly every day in the news. But, since 1972, the Tempe program successfully has offered 777 students the chance to learn about the culture of another country in one of the eight sister cities worldwide.
Each student is responsible for earning some funding to pay for the trip, so the Sister Cities sponsored a car wash, which was held on Saturday, April 27, at a Low’s service station at McClintock and Elliot. During the fundraiser, students and their parents worked side-by-side. In between vehicles, students shared insights of their upcoming trips.
Sean Ewen, a Corona student, will be one of four students who will visit Lower Hutt, New Zealand. He has already been in touch with his family via social media.
Jameson Langlois, a Corona student, will travel with Diego Reyes, a Marcos student, to Trollhattan, Sweden. Reyes looks forward to a summer with “cooler weather,” while Langlois hopes to connect with Swedish relatives.
Everett Johnson, a Corona student, is “excited to go to Regensburg, Germany and meet my new sister.” She also has connected with her via social media.
Johnny Osgood, a Corona student, “Can’t wait to go to Carlow, Ireland and meet my brother, who is also a Johnny.” Other students will travel to Skopje, Macedonia; Zhenjiang, China; and Beaulieu Sur Mer, France.
In addition to the student exchange, the Sister Cities program offers an educator exchange; Dawn Milovich, a teacher at Corona del Sol, is participating.
“During my 10 years at Corona, I have taught Honors Freshman English, Family Consumer Sciences (Culinary, Early Childhood Development, Life 101, Aspire to Teach) Dance and Health. Now, I am a fulltime counselor at Corona,” said Milovich.
When on exchange, educators fully participate in scheduled activities and in family-living activities. Sister Cities has designed the educator exchange as a professional learning experience.
“I will be traveling to Beaulieu Sur Mer, France, which is between Nice and Monaco on the coast,” said Milovich.
“I will spend my days at different schools observing students learning in the French education system. I will see many grade levels and content areas.
“Additionally, I will visit museums and other cultural attractions, while living with a French educator and her family. One of the benefits of the exchange program is to live with a family to learn as much about the culture of the country in which you are visiting.”
When on exchange, educators fully participate in scheduled activities and in family-living activities. Sister Cities has designed the educator exchange as a professional learning experience.
Currently, Milovich is hosting Isabelle Hoessly, the French educator, who she will stay with. During her visit, Hoessly has visited several schools as well as enjoyed a weekend trip to Sedona.
Milovich and Hoessly have daily discussions comparing the similarities and differences in teaching practices between the U.S. and France.
For more information about the Tempe Sister Cities programs, visit its website at



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