Immerse Yourself in the Culture!

High School Student Exchange Program

For more than 40 years GESCA has been organizing a high school student exchange program between high schools in Ebetsu and high schools here in the Gresham area that offered Japanese: Gresham High School and Reynolds High School.  Unfortunately, Reynolds recently stopped offering Japanese.  After we chose students from Gresham HS in March 2020 to go to Ebetsu this summer, the COVID-19 pandemic struck.  The exchange is on hold for a year.  We hope to be able to send students to Ebetsu in the summer of 2021.  That would coincide with the delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Studying in Japan

GESCA sends high school students to Ebetsu every summer and hosts high school students from Ebetsu every winter.

Students must meet the following criteria to go to Ebetsu:

  • Be a full-time student in good standing at Gresham High School or Reynolds High School and in their Japanese language program.
  • Have the equivalent of two years of Japanese language studies.
  • Be able to travel to Japan from approximately mid-June to mid-July.
  • Be able to pay airfare approximately two months before departure.
  • Note: partial scholarships may be available.

Interested students need to submit the following required forms:

Completed applications are due at the end of February.

Please hand them into your Japanese language teacher.

Questions?  Contact GESCA at

Hosting a Japanese Student

Each year GESCA selects families to host students from Ebetsu for one month, from early January until early February.

Criteria include:

  •        Having a student at home who is studying Japanese.
  •        Willingness to share your home with an extra youngster who should be treated as a member of your family.
  •        Ability to offer a separate bed if not a separate bedroom.

Those interested in hosting should contact their Japanese language teacher or GESCA at

NEW in 2020: College Student Exchange Program

At the banquet at Persimmon in November 2017, when we celebrated the 40th anniversary of our sister-city relations, a chance encounter led to a new exchange program. 

Yoko Sato, a Japanese instructor at Mt Hood Community College (MHCC), met Yoshie Kimura of Ebetsu.  Their friendship grew, and less than three years later, MHCC has begun an exchange with Sapporo Gakuin University in Ebetsu. 

Due to COVID-19, the first “exchange” is being held online in 2020. 


See what’s happening at MHCC:

For more details contact Yoko Sato at