Columbia Association offering student exchange trips to France and Spain in summer 2017

October 19, 2016
Parents and teens interested in learning about the annual summer Sister Cities High School exchange program with Columbia’s sister cities in France and Spain are invited to attend one of five informational sessions hosted by Columbia Association (CA).

The sessions will take place on:

  • Thursday, Nov. 10
  • Wednesday, Nov. 30
  • Thursday, Dec. 8
  • Tuesday, Jan. 10
  • Wednesday, Jan. 25

All sessions are scheduled to be held from 7 to 8pm. at CA Headquarters, 6310 Hillside Court, located off Stevens Forest Road near the county vehicle emissions inspection station.

Each session will include teen and parent alumni, as well as Laura Smit (program manager for CA’s International Exchange and Multicultural Programs), all of whom will speak and answer questions about the month-long program.

Teen participants spend approximately two weeks of cultural and linguistic immersion during the summer in one of Columbia’s European sister cities: Cergy-Pontoise in France or Tres Cantos in Spain. During this time, they are hosted by the family of a French or Spanish student. After returning to the United States, students will then host their French/Spanish counterparts for another two weeks. Throughout the trip, there are organized group activities for the participants, both abroad and in the U.S.

This year’s participants will depart with their respective chaperoned groups for France or Spain at the end of June. The program then runs through the end of July.

The program fee is $700 for Columbia residents and $850 for nonresidents, excluding airline tickets. Airline tickets in summer 2017 will range from $1,200 to $1,500 per participant. Applicants must be high school students residing in Howard County and must have completed high school level three of French or Spanish by the end of the current academic year (or have the equivalent language fluency).

There are excellent scholarships available for Columbia residents who qualify. The application deadline is Feb. 17. Applications will be online in mid-November at teenexchange. For more information, contact Laura Smit at 410-715-3162 or

About Columbia Association

Columbia Association (CA) is a nonprofit community services corporation that manages Columbia, Maryland, a planned community that is home to approximately 100,000 people and several thousand businesses. Additional information about CA is available at

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