Apply for the Sapporo Summer Institute

The Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association and Oya no Kai [SSI Sponsors] have opened up the application process for the 2023 Sapporo Summer Institute, which will take place during the summer of 2023. Applicants must submit all required documents in order to be considered.

Applicants will be compete for 16 positions as a junior cultural ambassador between the cities of Portland, Oregon, USA and Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. At this time, the SSI Sponsors are encouraging all current students within the Portland Public Schools’ Japanese Dual Language Immersion program to apply, including current seniors.

Apply here!

Important Dates and Deadlines

  • December 30: Application period opens
  • January 23: Application deadline
  • February 1: Participants announced
  • February 3: Deadline to confirm participation (additional documents will be made available at this time)
  • February 10:First payment due (based on $3500/student budget)
  • February 28:Second payment due
  • March 31:Third payment due
  • TBD: Airline tickets purchased and proof of international insurance required
  • April 30: Fourth payment due
  • May 31: Fifth payment due

Application Questions

Please note that while most information will be collected via JotForm, personal references are to be submitted separately via email:

Applicant Information

  • Recent Transcript (via JotForm upload)
  • Personal Reference #1 (submit via
  • Personal Reference #2 (submit via

Personal Reflection Questions (via JotForm)

  • Why would you like to participate in this program?
  • Being in Sapporo, you will be required to work closely with your group members, host family, schools, staff etc. Japanese culture is known for being collectivistic. You will be in such a society for two weeks. How do you evaluate yourself as a team player? Please provide an example from prior experiences that exemplifies how you effectively collaborated with a team or group of people*
  • While you are in Sapporo, you will be in a new environment and encounter unfamiliar situations where you might need to deal with challenges. Describe a prior experience in which you entered a new environment and dealt with a challenge.
  • What strengths will you bring to this program and sister city relationship? In other words, why should you be selected to represent the City of Portland?

Selection Process

This year, there are up to 16 spaces available for participation in this exchange. Only applicants meeting the criteria to participate will be accepted, even if that number totals less than 16.

Below is an explanation of how each element (listed below) of the submission will be weighted so it is important that each student ensures that all elements of the application process are complete and submitted on time. Each element will be ranked 1-5 (weakest to strongest) with an aggregate of all element scores as the overall score. The overall score will be used to determine if they are among the 16 selected.

Application Weighting (30 points total):

  • 1/6 Japanese language skills (grade + self assessment): 1-5 points
  • 1/3 Junior Ambassador potential (community references): 1-10 points, two references @ 1-5 points each
  • 1/2 Personal motivation and essay (student): 1-15 points, 4 questions @ 1-3 points each+optional 3 bonus points

After You Apply

Step 1: PSSCA will perform initial review of applications and score applicants on the weighting basis above.

Step 2: If more than 16 candidates are identified, PSSCA will consult with Oya no Kai on next stage of candidate review. Any ONK board member with a student in this phase of the applicant pool must be recused from the process to ensure there is no conflict of interest.

Step 3: If there continues to be challenges in the selection process, JDLI high school teachers will be asked to provide further insights on applicants.

Step 4: SSI sponsors will inform all applicants of the status of their application.

Step 5: For those selected, they will have two business days to respond with confirmation of their participation in the 2023 SSI

Step 6: For those not selected, more information on alternatives will be made available soon.

For Successful Candidates

If selected, junior ambassadors will have a number of additional requirements to fulfill prior to departure for Japan:

  • Valid passport
  • Verification of Covid vaccination status
  • Maintain payment schedule (as proscribed by SSI Sponsors)

If applicable, financial aid is available and can be applied for by filling out the financial aid form (available soon)

Participants will be required to participate in a series of cultural classes held by the SSI sponsors to prepare them for the activities.

Any questions or comments on this process can be directed to