Exchanges provide the foundation for sister city relationships, bridging differences between nations through city-to-city partnerships and educating on a local level. These exchanges take many different forms, from elementary school pen pal project to frequent delegation and commercial tours—during 2011 and 2012 tours to Merida, Treviso Province, Xiamen, China; Perpignan, France and Tel Mond, Israel were open to members and guests. On the culture side there were musical performances involving the Key Chorale during the groups visit to Dunfermline, Scotland, as well as groups like the Tel Mond Singers, the Dunfermline Strathspey Reel Society Fiddle Orchestra or Hamilton’s John Laing Singers concerts in Sarasota. Art exhibits and artist exchanges to China and Italy and Sarasota combined with member and community citizen opportunities to enjoy international festivals such as a Polenta Fest in Italy, golf in Scotland, plein air painting in Perpignan, France or learn about Maya Culture in Mexico.
Teacher-student opportunities are frequent. Currently a “Sustainability through Renewable Energy & Aquaculture” project is planned for 2013 which involves many of our Sister Cities along with State College of Florida, New College, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and area High Schools, including Riverview, Pine View, Cardinal Mooney, Booker, Sarasota, Sarasota Military Academy, and the Out-of-Door Academy.
In addition, home exchanges for students and families are popular throughout the sister city network.