Our exchange programs aim to foster cultural exchange and understanding between the Sister Cities of Berkeley, California and Sakai, Japan

Student Exchange

We have a history of student exchanges dating back to 1967. In 2016, the BSA initiated a new exchange program, sending high school students to Sakai to stay with host families, and in turn, hosting students from Sakai during their visits to Berkeley.

Goodwill Visits

Every five years BSA organizes a tour to Japan, which includes a four-day host family visit in Sakai and two weeks exploring other areas of the country. Families from BSA also host goodwill visitors from Sakai in their homes and help guide them around Berkeley.

Artist Exchange

The BSA supports ongoing cultural dialog with the artists of Sakai and Berkeley, and hosts collaborative exhibitions in both cities.


Every Spring a marathon runner from Berkeley travels to Sakai to run in the Senshu Marathon.

Kindergarten Art

Young artists annually exchange charming artwork to share and exhibit in both Sakai and Berkeley.

Pen Pal program

A new exchange program under development for 2021

Photography Exchange

Berkeley High School photography students annually exchange their original digital photography pieces with students from Sakai, Japan.

Girl Scouts

The Berkeley-Sakai Girl Scout Exchange is a unique program started in 1990 for Girl Scouts to cultivate international friendship and unity. Every 4 years, a group of girls from the San Francisco Bay Area go to visit Berkeley's sister city of Sakai, and in the 2 years between, Girl Scouts from Japan visit and stay with Girl Scouts in California.  They learn Japanese words, phrases, customs, and culture. Girl Scouts never hold a girl back because she might not have the money.  They are learning to be the world leaders of their generation!