ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Since 1978, Lakewood Sister Cities has sponsored a High School Student Exchange program with Sutherland Shire south of Sydney, Australia. Our exchange program is a unique "twin" program where the American student is paired with an Australian student & family. The Australian spends the first semester in the USA with the American student and family, then both students return to Australia for the second semester.
Applications are accepted from students in grades 9 & 10 in January each year.
Over the years, this student exchange has developed into one of the most successful programs in the Jefferson County school system. Our exchange is unique in that it is reciprocal and based upon the partnership between an American and an Australian student.
To start, the American student and family participate in an application and interview process to be selected. Upon and following selection, the student and family are paired with an Australian student and family. The Aussie student arrives in July to spend six months living with the American family and attending Jeffco schools. Then, both students leave in January to spend six months in Australia, living with the partner's family and studying at a high school in Sutherland Shire. This is a real student exchange, where an American teenager can host a foreign student and then become one in six month’s time. The Exchange Program is well supervised on both sides with many planned activities, and you can find information about our Sister City exchange organization on their website.
Students that want to apply for the Student Exchange Program must meet and maintain several requirements.
Have a current GPA of 2.75 or better.
Be enrolled in a Jefferson County High School and be a Jefferson County Resident.
Be in grade 9 or 10 to travel the following year in grade 10 or 11.
Be prepared to assist in promotion and recruitment of the program the following year.
Be sure, this is not just a student exchange. This will involve your entire family. Lakewood Sister Cities is a volunteer organization made up of folks just like you - parents, families and students from previous exchanges. So, the families of the applicant must also meet and maintain several requirements.
All families MUST:
Be willing to host an Australian student the first semester of next year.
Be able to participate in all of the required events of the next 1-1/2 years.
Be able to provide transportation for the student to all of the required events.
Be willing to head a committee to organize events for the exchange group.
Be resilient, flexible, accommodating, and tolerant in the strangest situations!
Interview Meetings (3)
6 Toastmasters/Parent Planning Meetings
Aussie Arrival Orientation
Group Meetings I & II
Southwest Trip (Aussies only)
Liaison Weekend (Aussies only)
Americans Arrive in Australia
Liaison Weekend to Nelson’s Bay
Australia Outback trip (Americans only)
Presidential Debutante Ball
Great Barrier Reef Trip (Americans only)
Yanks Arrive Home
End of February
Late June or early July
September and November
September or November
Late December or early January
May or June