Student Exchange Program

Student Exchange Program

NOTICE REGARDING COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the evolving quarantine measures and travel restrictions in both Australia and Japan, Penrith Council has decided to cancel this year’s Student Ambassador Program with Fujieda, Japan. Please note the information evening on 25 March has also been cancelled.

If applicable we encourage you to reapply in 2021 (applications will open Feb 2021).

Please contact Council’s International Partnerships officer if you have any further questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About the Exchange

The annual reciprocal Student Ambassador Program with Fujieda City, Japan is the major program run by the Penrith International Friendship Committee (PIFC) and Penrith Council. This program gives young people (15-19 years old) who live or go to school in Penrith City and young people from Fujieda City the opportunity to live with an Australian or Japanese family for 3 weeks and experience a different lifestyle and culture. As members of the student delegation they also undertake the role of ambassadors for their respective cities. When the Japanese students visit Penrith, the PIFC assists with host family placements, and organises an interesting itinerary for them including excursions, days at school with host brothers/sisters, and free time with host families.

Information Night

The information night on Wednesday 25 March 2020 has been cancelled.

Apply for 2021

Applications for 2021 will open in February 2021.

Past participant comments

“I loved every aspect of the program especially being able to meet and stay with the Japanese students. The homestay aspect was definitely one of my favourite experiences, my family was extremely accommodating and was a pleasure to be around. The members of the Fujieda Council who accompanied myself and the other Australian students were very friendly and made every day fun and unforgettable.”

Lilian Neal, 2015 Student Ambassador.

"In this program I had the opportunity to be an ambassador for Penrith, both here and in Japan, and I had a wonderful time in the process. Hosting a student here and then staying with them in Japan was an amazing experience; meeting new people, making new friends and learning an entirely new culture. By participating in this program, I have developed into a more mature person and am more aware and appreciative of the different cultures in our world. Best of all though, I’ve made lifelong friends. I highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to learn new things and travel the world. In all honesty, I would do this all again and recommend my friends to do the same."

Chloe Anshaw, 2016 Student Ambassador.

“Traveling to our sister-city Fujieda on exchange in 2017 was one of the best experiences of my life. I had the incredible opportunity of learning and experiencing Japanese culture, meeting new people and making lifelong friends. I learnt that despite our cultural differences, our values, sense of humour and love of life is the same. This trip has helped me become more independent, culturally aware, and part of a Japanese family. I cannot wait to go back to Fujieda to see them again!”

Laura Jelovic, 2017 Student Ambassador.

“There were a multitude of aspects about the exchange program that I loved, making it hard to choose the experiences that I liked. For me, what stood out the most is the idea of meeting new people from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures, and the lifelong friendships that have been established during the 6 weeks together. I loved these two aspects because it has changed the way that I see the world, and has also heavily impacted on my social and academic character.”

Chris Angelo Martin, 2018 Student Ambassador.