The 2023-24 Digital Pen Pal Program

Here at Sister Cities of Long Beach, we promote bilateral dialogue, which brings the global community closer. The Digital Pen Pal Program is our effort to connect college students from Long Beach with students from our nine (9) sister cities. Our goal is to create citizen ambassadors who understand the need for cross-cultural understanding and friendship.

If you are accepted to this program, you will have an opportunity to learn things you never would in a traditional classroom. Those who are part of the program will be paired together with students from two (2) sister cities in a triangular pairing based on common interests, and will have the chance to communicate on suggested topics with each other through various digital platforms.

Communications between trio will last for three months, leading to an awards ceremony where students can present a final project which summarizes their experiences in this program. Students will also have the opportunity to win up to $1,000 in scholarship. Last year we awarded $5,000 in total scholarships to nine participants!

The Digital Pen Pal Program was born out of the pandemic in 2020 by our Long Beach-Qingdao Committee in partnership with the Qingdao University of Technology and with generous support by the Port of Long Beach and the Qingdao Port. With a record number of participants last year, we are looking to expand this year across all of our Sister City Committee. The program is completely online, 100% free, and open to college students of any major or background. The deadline for application submission is September 30, 2023.

For any questions regarding the program, please contact the project manager Rene Giron: [email protected]

The Amazing Qingdao

Meet Our 2022 Winners!

Individual Winners

Individual 1st Place

Li Teng documented the blossoming friendship between her and her pen pal. Their correspondence gradually transformed both of them and the mission of cultural exchange was realized.

Individual 2nd Place

Wang Ning collaborated with Chloe Kwan and traced their journey together this summer.

Individual 3rd Place

Interestingly, Chloe Kwan also won recognition while forging friendship with her pen pal, Wang Ning

Team Winners

Team 1st Place

Fang Xiao Rong and David Lizarraga shared their pen pal experience with the world and how two strangers became friends.

Team 2nd Place

Mira & Kayla put together a well-organized and beautiful presentation of their shared experience at the digital pen pal program.

Team 3rd Place

Yang Meng Hua and Myles Wright formed a great team and brought the two port cities closer together.