First-ever student exchange trips to Ghana offered by Columbia Association in summer 2017

November 30, 2016
The first-ever high school student summer exchange between the community of Columbia, Maryland, and its sister city of Tema, Ghana, will take place in 2017. Interested teens and their parents are invited to learn more at one of three information sessions hosted by Columbia Association (CA).

The sessions are scheduled for 7-8pm on Monday, Dec. 5; Tuesday, Dec. 13; and Wednesday, Jan. 4, all at CA Headquarters, 6310 Hillside Court, located off Stevens Forest Road near the county vehicle emissions inspection station.At each information session, Laura Smit (program manager for CA’s International Exchange and Multicultural Programs) and several members of the Tema Sister City Committee, who are familiar with Ghana and Ghanaian culture, will speak and answer questions about the month-long exchange program.

Teen participants will spend approximately two weeks of cultural immersion during the summer in Tema, where they will be hosted by the family of a Ghanaian student and participate in organized group activities alongside an adult Ghanaian-American chaperone. After two weeks, the American students will return to the United States, and they will then host their Ghanaian counterparts here for another two weeks. The American and Ghanaian teens will participate in all of the activities planned for the visiting French and Spanish students, as well as the American students who traveled earlier in the month to visit those sister cities.

The 2017 participants will depart with their chaperoned groups for Ghana 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 be approximately $1,500. Applicants must be in grades 10-12 and must be residents of Howard County. There is no foreign language requirement as English is the language of education and government in Ghana (there are also more than 70 tribal languages).

Scholarships are available for Columbia residents who qualify. The application deadline is Feb. 17. Applications will be online in early December at For more information, contact Laura Smit at 410-715-3162 or

CA’s International Exchange and Multicultural Programs foster international understanding and celebrate the diverse cultures of Columbia. The goals of the International Exchange Program include developing new exchanges with Columbia’s four sister cities and creating new sister city relationships in other cities and nations. CA also develops multicultural programs for the community such as the World Languages Café, Culture Fests and the International Book Club. For more information, go to

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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