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 work to implement across each sister city. However, we also allow the relationship with a sister city to grow to track the unique setting and interest between the communities. We also are responsive to those sister cities like Oaxaca, Mexico and Palo, Leyte, Philippines that are developing economies where 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 allow multiple approaches to these exchanges. Oaxaca invites a nearly 10-week summer exchange where high school students alternate 5 weeks in a family setting. Tsuchiura exchanges middle school students for an exchange of about 10 days with home stays and broader travel. Our collaboration with the BEAM Program at Gunn has introduced exchanges in Heidelberg where the focus is on collaboration on a business or sustainability project shared between the cities. Exchanges can be customized 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. These itineraries are announced, and our host cities supply a welcoming suited to be part of a family. When an itinerary is not offered, Neighbors Abroad can provide introductions to community members in each sister city that can help with stays, visits or other suggestions.
- 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. An emerging interest has been projects involving local governments, business and community members working on climate.
- Commerce. Neighbors Abroad knows that business and innovation is part of the culture of Palo Alto. A key partner is the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce. Visitors from our sister cities often are drawn to Palo Alto for business, and we strive to introduce cultural experiences as well. We celebrate our companies that have a footprint in or near any sister city, and would strive to bring them into our student education programs like BEAM.
- Charitable Work. Neighbors Abroad maintains ongoing charitable support within Oaxaca, Mexico and Palo, Leyte Philippines as well as supporting student when financial hardship prevents participation in exchange programs. In Oaxaca, these programs include supporting Alburgue Josifina orphanage, Niño a Niño children's education and life safety equipment for the firefighters. In Palo this includes ongoing support for our childrens library as well as supporting student scholarship. We are responsive to disasters knowing that Oaxaca and Palo are vulnerable to natural disaster.
- Local Community Festivities and Collaboration. Neighbors Abroad hosts multiple community events to bring the culture of the world to Palo Alto. These events also 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.