International Exchange and Multicultural Programs
The mission of CA's International Exchange & Multicultural Programs (formerly known as the "Sister Cities Program") is to foster international understanding and to celebrate the diverse cultures of Columbia. CA's International Exchange Program's expanded its goals and objectives include developing new exchanges with Columbia's two sister cities, Cergy-Pontoise and Tres Cantos, and creating new Sister City relationships in other cities and nations. CA also develops multicultural programs, such as the International Book Club and Culture Cafés for the community.
Ghana Fest celebrates Columbia's New Sister City, Tema
The Columbia Association's "Tema Sister City Committee" invites the community to participate in Ghana Fest", a free cultural event to be held on Sunday, November 17 from 3:00 - 5:30 pm at Slayton House in the Wilde Lake Village Center in Columbia. "Ghana Fest" will celebrate Columbia's new African sister city relationship with the planned city of Tema in Ghana near the capital, Accra. The community is invited to an afternoon program of Ghanaian music, dance performances, drumming, speakers, art displays, and a sampling of delicious Ghanaian finger foods. The program will begin promptly at 3 pm. Following the program, refreshments will be served and a DJ will play Hip Life and Azonto music. African dress is encouraged. Slayton House is located at 10400 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia 21044. For more information, call Laura Smit, Program Manager for International Exchange & Multicultural Programs at 410-715-3162 or email: International@ColumbiaAssociation.org.
World Languages Café at Wegmans
Whether it is in English, en français, en español, or in Arabic, Farsi, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, or Russian, there can be a table with friendly faces and good conversation at Columbia Association's (CA) World Languages Café.
The World Languages Café provides monthly evenings of conversation and culture for people to speak a language they know or are learning, increase their fluency by speaking and listening, meet others who enjoy learning languages, pick up useful phrases to use when traveling - or even to recall a childhood language.
These gatherings are free and are appropriate for adults, as well as college and high school students (who should be in level 4 or 5).
They are normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month, but will move to the 3rd Wed in November and December due to Thanksgiving and Christmas falling in the 4th month. Fall dates are as follows: Oct 23, Nov 20, Dec 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Wegmans Café, located at 8855 McGaw Road in Columbia.
People are invited to come upstairs and join the language table of their choice, whether they want to drop in or stay the entire time. On their way up, participants can purchase a drink, snack or dinner to bring with them.
Language tables are hosted by native and/or fluent speakers** who will facilitate conversation; these gatherings are not grammar or vocabulary classes.
If we do not have a language table host for a language, we will still have a table where speakers of that language can get together to chat! If you would like to be a native speaker table host, please contact Laura Smit. We have guidelines for table hosts as well as conversation starters. For more information, contact laura.smit@ColumbiaAssociation.org or call 410-715-3162.
** While we do our best to have native speaker table hosts for each language, in some cases native speakers are not available due to illness, travel, or other commitments. In some cases table hosts will be "fluent speakers", not "native speakers." If a table host is not available, community members will still have a table to get together and speak with others learning the same language.
To find out if there will be a native or fluent speaker of the language you are interested in practicing, please contact Laura Smit at 410-715-3162 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Columbia's Sister Cities - International Exchange Programs
Experience a different culture and travel abroad! The International Exchange Program offers exchange opportunities for adults and teens with Columbia's three Sister Cities: Cergy-Pontoise (France); Tres Cantos (Spain) and Tema (Ghana). The annual summer Sister Cities High School Student Exchange is for high school students studying Spanish or French. For more information, visit columbiaassociation.org/teenexchange.
Cergy-Pointoise (18 miles outside Paris): The sister city relationship between Columbia, Maryland, and Cergy-Pontoise, France, was established in 1977 and just celebrated its 35th Anniversary. From October 19 - 27, 15 visitors from Cergy-Pontoise will be visiting Columbia as members of our 2nd annual Maryland Cuisine & Culture Program. In 2012, a group from Columbia experienced French cuisine and culture and stayed with host families in Cergy-Pontoise.
Tres Cantos (13 miles outside Madrid): The relationship between Columbia, Maryland, and Tres Cantos, Spain was established in 1990.
Tema, Ghana (16 miles from Accra): Columbia signed an Agreement with Tema in 2012 and activities and exchanges for youth and adults are in the initial stages. Community members with a sincere interest in Ghana are invited to join theTema Sister City Committee (a subcommittee of CA's International & Multicultural Advisory Committee.) The first event being organized to introduce the community to Ghanaian culture is "Ghana Fest" on November 17th from 3 - 6 pm at Slayton House in Wilde Lake.
Columbia is a member of Sister Cities International a U.S. nonprofit organization with a mission of promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation - one individual, one community at a time - through "citizen diplomacy." Sister Cities International was created at President Eisenhower's 1956 White House conference on citizen diplomacy. Eisenhower envisioned an organization that could be the hub of peace and prosperity by creating bonds between people from different cities around the world. By forming these relationships, President Eisenhower reasoned that people of different cultures could celebrate and appreciate their differences and build partnerships that would lessen the chance of new conflicts.
For more information about Columbia's Sister Cities and activities, please contact Program Manager Laura Smit at 410-715-3162 or email@example.com Sister Cities International
TYPES OF EXCHANGES:
- International Book Club: CA's International Book Club meets monthly to explore multicultural and international themes. All books are selected by participants. Through a partnership with Howard County Library, the book selections are reserved each month at the East Columbia branch. All books are in English. Some of the books read to date include: Things Fall Apart (Nigeria); The White Tiger (India) Finding Nouf (Saudi Arabia), Brick Lane (Pakistan/UK) Shanghai Girls (US/China); Into the Beautiful North (Mexico/U.S. Border); Mr. Pip (New Guinea); Bel Canto (Peru), and Cutting for Stone (Ethiopia). Upcoming Books are: Flower Net by Lisa See (China/U.S.) and The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson (North Korea). Meetings are held at 7:30 p.m. on the 2nd Wed of the month at the Columbia Archives. For more information or to join the International Book Club, please call Laura Smit, Program Manager, at 410-715-3162 or e-mail International@ColumbiaAssociation.org.
- International & Multicultural Advisory Committee (IMAC): The mission of the International & Multicultural Advisory Committee is to inform and advise CA staff and volunteers on community needs, interests and concerns as they relate to international exchange & multicultural programs. The goal is to enhance international understanding through people-to-people relationships. Members come from the community, with some members representing Columbia Villages and others being at-large members coming from Columbia/Howard County. Advisory Committee members assist in developing new projects, disseminating information, stimulating understanding and interest in other cultures and peoples, and offering volunteer assistance at events or programs.
To learn more about any of these programs, call Laura Smit, Program Manager, at 410-715-3162 or e-mail International@ColumbiaAssociation.org.
Programs for teens are also offered.
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