A group of students from Abashiri, Japan will be arriving in Port Alberni on Wednesday, Jan. 9.
Every two years, Abashiri sends a student delegation to Port Alberni in order to further the relationship between the two Sister Cities. This year, the delegation is made up of nine students in elementary and high school.
After a short ceremony to meet their host families, the students will spend three full days forming friendships, visiting local landmarks, sharing their culture and taking part in a pot luck meal with billet families.
The cities of Port Alberni and Abashiri were officially declared Sister Cities in 1986. A student exchange program followed, and a group of almost 80 students from Abashiri visited Port Alberni. The Port Alberni/Abashiri Twinning Society recently celebrated 30 years with another exchange.
Twinning Society director Dave Grant says the society will be attempting to get a delegation of Port Alberni students to send to Abashiri in July.
“We’re trying to enlighten Port Alberni about the Twinning Society, and trying to get some more interest,” he said. “We want to keep our relationship going.”
Many of the former students still communicate back and forth with their host families, said Grant, and Abashiri’s Port Alberni Fanclub keeps an active presence on social media.
The Abashiri delegation will arrive on Wednesday evening and will depart on Sunday morning, Jan. 13.