These are the official sister cities of Palo Alto! Each is about the size of Palo Alto, but extremely different in completely different parts of the world. Each Sister city has a unique and captivating history, and, whether they have been an official sister city for seven years or for over 50 years, they each have a rich relationship with Palo Alto - a relationship founded in the mutual interest in learning about each other and about the world.
At Neighbors Abroad, we maintain several common themes of engagement that we implement across each sister city. However, also allow the relationship with a sister city to grow to track the unique setting and interest between the communities. We are responsive to sister cities like Oaxaca, Mexico, and Palo and Leyte, Philippines, which are developing economies. Our charitable efforts bring welcome impact.
- Student Exchange. Allowing international students to experience Palo Alto and equally send students from Palo Alto to experience a sister city is one of the strongest missions of Neighbors Abroad. We offer multiple approaches to these exchanges: Oaxaca invites a nearly 10-week summer exchange where high school students alternate 5 weeks in a family setting and Tsuchiura exchanges middle school students for an exchange of about 10 days with home stays and broader travel. Furthermore, our collaboration with the BEAM Program has introduced exchanges in multiple sister cities through collaboration on a business or sustainability project shared between the cities. Exchanges are customized to the specific sister cities, as they have been with Albi.
- Adult Travel. We know that students are not the only ones who grow from the exchanges. Typically, one to two trips per year are organized to celebrate a milestone in a sister city, while our host cities offer a warm, family welcome. Neighbors Abroad provides introductions to community members in each sister city that helps with stays, visits, or other needs.
- Sustainability and Government. Sustainability is a core value of Palo Alto and creates a rich form of engagement. In parallel to our sister city relations, several sister cities maintain a Smart City Partnership operating between the local governments. Broadly, Smart Cities apply innovative technologies to increase the quality of life and an emerging interest has been projects involving local governments, businesses, and community members working on climate.
- Commerce. Neighbors Abroad knows that business and innovation is part of the culture of Palo Alto, so one of our key partners is the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce. Visitors from our sister cities are often drawn to Palo Alto for business, but we strive to introduce cultural experiences as well. We celebrate our companies that have a footprint in or near any sister city and strive to bring them into our student education programs like BEAM.
- Charitable Work. Neighbors Abroad maintains ongoing charitable support within Oaxaca, Mexico, and Palo and Leyte, Philippines. We also support students when financial hardship prevents participation in education or student exchange programs. In Oaxaca, we support the Alburgue Josifina orphanage, Niño a Niño children's education, and firefighter life safety equipment. In Palo, we support the children's library, as well as student scholarships. In both Oaxaca and Palo, we are responsive to disasters, knowing that Oaxaca and Palo are vulnerable to natural disasters.
- Local Community Festivities and Collaboration. Neighbors Abroad hosts multiple community events to bring the culture of the world to Palo Alto and raise money for the charitable work. Neighbors Abroad does not serve this mission alone and relies on partnerships with community organizations, such as our Kiwanis and Rotary service organizations.