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CA’s 2019 Sister Cities High School Summer Exchange: Learn More on Tonight

Howard County high school students who are interested in visiting Spain or France next summer are invited to find out about the program at our next information session for teens and parents on Thursday, November 29 from 7-8pm at Columbia Association Headquarters, 6310 Hillside Court. Students who participated in last year’s Sister Cities High School Summer Exchange Program will be in attendance to share their experiences.

The monthlong summer exchange program with Columbia’s sister cities in Europe allows Columbia/Howard County high school teens to spend two weeks of cultural and linguistic immersion in July 2019 in Cergy-Pontoise, France, or Tres Cantos, Spain. Teen participants will spend two weeks living with a host family in France or Spain (departing at the end of June 2019). Upon returning to the U.S., the American teens then host the French or Spanish student they lived with for two weeks.

The program accepts high school sophomores, juniors and seniors in Level III and above of Spanish and French (and native speakers). The fee is $700 for CA residents and $850 for nonresidents. Airplane tickets are purchased by CA and reimbursed by participants. Airfares will range from $1,000 to $1,400 per ticket. There are excellent scholarships available for Columbia/Howard County residents who qualify.

To read an article featuring high school students who participated last year talking about their experience, click here.

Student alumni at Atholton High School were also interviewed by their school newspaper, the Raider Review. Here is an excerpt from the full article.

Imagine: You are on top of the Eiffel Tower, sipping a warm cup of coffee under the stars, and munching on a nutella crepe in the summer heat. Or, wait – you are gazing at the magnificent Royal Palace of Madrid while you speak Spanish with a native! You can experience these things and more by participating in the Columbia Association Sister Cities Program.

This year, six French students at Atholton went to Cergy-Pontoise, France, with Sister Cities. They stayed there with their French student’s family for two weeks, and then they brought their student back to the states to live at their house for two weeks. One participant, junior Zoe Shi, went to France for her Sister Cities destination, where she roomed with Flavie. “It expands your outlook on the world and it’s way cheaper than taking a normal vacation to to country,” she said.

If you can’t make the information session on November 29, there will be three more opportunities to find out about the program:

  1. Tuesday, December 11

  2. Wednesday, January 16

  3. Thursday, January 31The application packet is online at The deadline to apply is February 15, 2019. For more information, contact Laura Smit at 410-715-3162 or

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