The mission of CA's International Exchange & Multicultural Programs (formerly Sister Cities Programs) is to foster international understanding and to celebrate the diverse cultures of Columbia.
International Exchange Programs
School Student Exchange
Experience a different culture
and travel abroad! The International Exchange Program
offers exchange opportunities for youth and
adults with Columbia's sister cities — Tres
Cantos, Spain, and Cergy-Pontoise, France.
Since 1977, the Columbia Association has been offering summer exchange programs for high school students. Students
spend approximately two weeks during the summer
living with host students and their families to
experience Spanish or French culture, languages
and traditions in Tres Cantos, Spain, or Cergy-Pontoise,
France. After returning to the United States,
students host their Spanish or French student
counterparts for another two weeks. Group activities
are organized for participants, both abroad and
in the U.S.
Applicants must be high school students
who reside in Howard County and have completed
high school level three of Spanish or French or
have the equivalent language fluency by the end
of the academic year of participation.
The last Information Session for parents and teens to learn more about CA’s 2013 High School International Exchange will be onÂ Wed, Jan. 9,Â from 7 to 8pm in the CA Boardroom, 10221 Wincopin Circle, Columbia 21044. Most information about the exchange is covered in the video and the slides that can be viewed here online, but attending an info session is a great opportunity to talk to alumni of the program and ask questions about their experience.
Scholarships are available for Columbia residents who live on or work full-time on property subject to the Columbia Association assessment and whose household income is within the CA guidelines. CA's Income Qualified Application provides reduced rate qualifying information and is included at the end of the 2013 Application, or call Laura Smit at 410-715-3162 for more information.
Summer Exchange Chaperones
Adults over age 21 who speak fluent Spanish and French accompany each group of students to France and Spain. Chaperones live with host chaperones and later host them here in the U.S. HCPSS middle and high school Spanish and French language teachers are encouraged to chaperone the Sister Cities High School Exchanges. Chaperone plane tickets are covered, and food and housing in Spain or France is covered by the host chaperone. Chaperones must participate in both parts of the Exchange: in France or Spain and here in Columbia/Howard County. To apply to be a 2013 chaperone, please download and complete the Chaperone Application which is due by March 1, 2013. For additional information on being a chaperone contact Laura Smit at email@example.com or call 410-715-3162.
Watch Columbia Matters teen segment with Laura Smit, Program Manager
The sister city relationship between
Columbia, Maryland, and Cergy-Pontoise, France,
was established in 1977 and reaffirmed in 2002,
on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of
the relationship. The
Sister Cities Teen Advisory Committee:
This committee is made up of alumni of the Sister Cities Summer High School Exchanges with Cergy-Pontoise, France and Tres Cantos, Spain. The committee helps to promote and improve next year's Sister Cities Exchange. Meetings are held monthly at CA Headquarters.
International Youth Coalition: Are you a Howard County high school student interested in learning about the world's different countries, languages, and cultures? The International Youth Coalition (IYC) brings together internationally-minded teens for monthly meetings to develop fun and service-oriented projects to help make Howard County a more welcoming place for youth born in other countries. To join the International Youth Coalition, or for more information, please contact Laura Smit at 410-715-3162; international@ColumbiaAssociation.org. The International Youth Coalition is a collaboration between the Columbia Association, Glenelg Country School & some HCPSS high schools.
Young Artist Competition 2012
Youth as the Catalyst for Change
Columbia residents, ages 13 to 18, are invited to create an original art work illustrating their vision of this year's Sister Cities Young Artist Competition theme, Youth as a Catalyst for Change. What does that mean to you? The world today is more connected than ever. With the help of social media and innovative new methods of communication and mobilization of groups, change can occur at a faster pace than ever before. Throughout the world, this new generation of youth is harnessing this power to create change and promote progress. The 2012 theme is an opportunity for you to use artwork to express how communication, technology, and individual initiative can lead to dramatic social change. Submissions can highlight your experience with social media, how you are creating change in your community, or how global communication and exchange has had an impact on your life.
All two-dimensional artwork, no larger than 24" x 30" (60cm x 75cm), is accepted. Watercolor, oils, pastels, pen & ink, charcoal, photography, mixed media and collage, as well as computer-generated art are acceptable. All work must be two-dimensional Entries must be submitted by April 13, 2012 to the Columbia Art Center. Local winning art work will be entered in the Annual Young Artist Competition of Sister Cities International, in which 10 winning entries will receive awards.
International Day: Will not be held summer 2013. The event, first held in 1995, highlights
and celebrates the cultural and ethnic diversity
that distinguishes Columbia and provides an
opportunity to meet the visiting French and Spanish students and
chaperones from Columbia's two Sister Cities.
Students who have traveled to France and Spain provide information about the summer student exchange. Columbia International Day includes live music and dance performances representing a variety of cultures, international food and crafts vendors and children's activities.
Additional information will be posted here as available or contact dale.wasmus@ColumbiaAssociation.org. Visit ColumbiaCalendar.org for schedule of events.
Cafe:Culture Café is
an initiative created by International Exchange and Multicultural Programs that recognizes the many cultures from
around the world that make up Columbia's diverse
community. Community members including exchange students studying in Howard County schools volunteer to help organize, perform at and assist the day of these events. E-mail International@ColumbiaAssociation.org to get involved! Culture Café events are free and
open to the public.