Throughout the year, ASCA’s five Sister Cities propose a series of cultural and student exchange programs.

ASCA participates in a national program run by the American Cultural Exchange Service, a nonprofit organization contracted by the U.S. Department of State to promote global understanding through international educational exchange experiences.

Aachen programs include:

The Sister City relationship between Arlington and Aachen dates to 1994.
In 2017 we will celebrate 23 years of youth exchange!

Elementary School Family Exchange

The Aachen Committee annual series of elementary-school exchanges. The program promotes international awareness and mutual understanding through age-appropriate activities and out-of-classroom learning. Heidi Addison, an ASCA board member, coordinates this flagship program of the Aachen Committee. Students from Aachen, accompanied by at least one parent, visit Arlington in October, where they are welcomed by Arlington host students and their families. 5th-graders from Nottingham, Tuckahoe, and Rivendell Elementary Schools make the reciprocal visit to Aachen, where they are hosted by the families that had stayed with them the previous fall. The visit includes tours of the historic cathedral and town hall, a day at a German school, visits to Cologne and Brussels, sports games, group meals, and receptions.

Contact Heidi Addison

High School Exchange Program:

Outbound:  Arlington Students Travel to Germany

Next High School Exchange: July 7 – 25, 2018

Application deadline:  January 31, 2018

Arlington students and their chaperone travel to our sister city Aachen and Berlin, the German capital for the outbound portion of the exchange. During the two-week residence in Aachen the Arlington students are hosted in a German teenager’s home and will experience typical daily life in a way few tourists ever get to see. Each day will feature both organized group activities such as visits to nearby historical and cultural sites, sporting events, bicycling and a team-building rope climbing course. Students will get to spend ample free time socializing with new German friends and their families, especially on weekends.

Students spend the last three days in Berlin, where they stay in a youth hostel in the center of town, take bicycle tours, ride the U-Bahn, and visit the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Wall, German parliament, and some of the city’s most famous museums and galleries.

The estimated program cost of the trip is $2,400 and covers airfare, ground transfers, three nights of lodging in Berlin, daily excursions in and around Aachen and Berlin, and the chaperone’s travel expenses. The final amount will be determined when the number of participants and the cost of the flights are finalized.

View the Program Overview and Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.

For more about outbound program contact Katarina Skladony at

APPLICATION PACKAGE FOR 2018 Outbound Exchange to Aachen, Germany

All items listed below must be completed on or before the application deadline of January 31, 2018.

  1. Online Application Form You can complete at once or go back and update later before January 31, 2018.
  2. Confidential Online Recommendation Form Please provide the link to the form to one teacher/coach/counselor to complete on your behalf. We recommend you send the form several weeks in advance of the application due date.

The following documents should be emailed to

  1. Academic Standing / GPA Confirmation from School Counselor The completed form should be scanned and emailed by the Counselor to the address above.
  2. ASCA Exchange Rules and Regulations Form To be signed by student applicant and parent(s).
  3. ASCA Medical Information and Release Form To be completed and signed by parent.
  4. ASCA Media Opt-out Form (Optional) To be completed and signed by parent.
  5. ASCA Financial Aid Application Form (Optional) To be completed and signed by student applicant and parent requesting financial assistance.
  6. A photocopy of the photo page of the student passport.
  7. A photocopy of the medical insurance card (both sides).
  8. ASCA Family Membership Dues of $50. Please pay online at:  If you prefer to pay by check, email to get the mailing address. (Please do not send the membership dues to ASCA P.O. Box).

Inbound: German Students Visit Arlington

German students and adult chaperones visit Arlington for two weeks in October. Aachen students are hosted by Arlington high-school students and their families. On weekdays the German students tour the major museums and other cultural attractions in Washington, D.C. and learn about American life.  On weekends they participate in their host family activities. At the end of their stay in Arlington, they travel to New York City and spend last three days of their U.S. trip touring the Big Apple.

For more information about the inbound program contact Tom Skladony,

SisterBike Program

Fortunately SISTERBIKE began in 2001, so the numbers are easy – this is 2016, and SISTERBIKE XVI, our 16th tour. This year we tour Greece (country # 18) and on the planning board for XVII, we will bring our country total to 20 with Slovenia and Croatia. Portugal and Spain are being researched for XVIII.

Coyoacán programs include:

High School Exchange Program:

The Coyoacán Committee sponsored its first outbound student exchange in June 2015, students from Gunston Middle School, accompanied by one teacher and two other adults, visited our sister city of Coyoacán, Mexico. The Arlington students lived with host families and explored major sites of historical and cultural interest in Coyoacán and surrounding localities. The organizers used this pilot program to identify additional local schools as potential partners for future inbound and outbound student exchanges.

Dia de los Muertos:

The Coyoacán Committee helps organize the Arlington Arts Center’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), an event that takes place each year on November 1. The Day of the Dead celebrates the lives of loved ones who have passed away through music, dancing, traditional foods, and an art exhibition. The committee helps recruit artists who exhibit their works at the event.

We are currently working on the following programs:

  • Student exchanges at the elementary and middle school levels,
  • An annual tourist trip for citizens of Arlington to visit Coyoacán,
  • A women’s exchange,
  • An annual celebration in Arlington featuring local artists and musicians as well as those from Coyoacán,
  • An art exhibit comprised of Arlington and Coyoacán artists

Our committee is comprised of volunteers, and we are always looking to recruit new members to assist us in ASCA’s mission. If you are interested, please click here to let us know of your interest in becoming involved.

Reims programs include:

Middle School Exchange Program

Students and teachers from the College Schuman in Reims visit Arlington and are hosted by families representing five middle schools across the county. The visiting students spend two full days attending school with their host siblings and experience typical family life in Arlington’s special neighborhoods and communities. The group also visits the major tourist attractions of Washington, D.C.

High School Exchange Programs

The Reims committee organizes the exchange with Lycée Marc Chagall in Reims, France.

Lycée Marc Chagall Exchange

Traveling to France on the outbound exchange with Lycée Marc Chagall, Reims, France – March 22-31, 2018.

High school students taking French and interested in traveling to Reims during spring vacation should plan to attend a required meeting at the Westover Library on November 1, 2017 at 7:00 pm. Read the flyer for more information about the program.

Westover Library is located at 1644 N McKinley Rd #3, Arlington, VA 22205.

High school students living and attending school in Arlington may apply.  Our exchange will take place March 22-31, 2018.  A committee will select approximately 24 students to participate.  All interested students are encouraged to apply.

Estimated Cost: $2,000.

Application date for 2018 Exchange – November 1, 2017.  Paperwork and $800 payment due.

Upcoming meetings:

Inbound/Outbound Informational Meeting – October 3, 2017. If you missed this meeting, please email for information.

Outbound Exchange (for students who want to travel to Reims, France): Required Meeting for Parents and Applicants and Application Deadline – November 1, 2017; Westover Library, 7:00-8:00 pm.

Interested in hosting a student from France?

Students from Lycée Marc Chagall are visiting Arlington April 4-16, 2018. A big thank you to our host families, ASCA, and APS for support of this effort. If you are interested in hosting next year, please fill out an application here by November 1, 2017. Contact with any questions.

APPLICATION FORMS for Outbound Trips to Reims, France

You must complete all items listed below by the application deadline, Nov. 1, 2017.

Part I — Online Form — General Information & Essay.  You can complete all at once, or go back and edit.

Part II — Confidential Online Teacher Recommendations.Please provide the form link below to 2 teachers/coaches/counselors (past or present) to complete on your behalf. At least 1 recommendation must be from a French teacher.  We recommend you provide the link to your teachers 2 weeks before the application deadline.

Part III — Academic Standing / GPA Confirmation from School CounselorThe completed form should be scanned and emailed by the counselor to

Part IV — Application fee of $50. This fee covers the required family membership in the Arlington Sister City Association and is non-refundable. It is tax-deductible. Please pay online by November 1, 2017here.  Send a copy of your email receipt to  If you pay by check, be sure to put your student’s name in the memo line.

Part V – ASCA Exchange Rules and RegulationsPrint out and sign.  Applicants must print out and parents and students must both sign the ASCA Exchange Rules and Regulations form.

Part VI — Optional Financial Aid Application Form. If financial assistance is required, please print, complete, and scan the scholarship form and sent it back to This is not a form to complete online.

Final Paperwork & Payment Installments

Deadlines and a payment schedule will be announced at the first meeting.

Mon., Oct. 3, 2017 Informational Meeting & Application for Outbound/Inbound Trips March-April 2018
Wed., Nov 1, 2017 Required Informational Outbound Meeting for Parents and Students

Application and $50 nonrefundable ASCA membership due*

1st payment $800 to ASCA due (refundable if not accepted)

Copy of passport and other documents required

Wed., Nov. 8, 2017 Students notified of program acceptance via email on or around this date

Online pairing survey due

Wed., Nov 15, 2017 Financial Aid Applicants will be notified on or around this date
Fri., Dec. 1, 2017 Second payment due — $800**

Last day for full refund (less ASCA membership fee)

Copy of front/back med insurance card

Fri., Dec 15, 2017 Third payment due — appx. $400
Late February 2018 Required Pre-Departure Parent & Student Meeting
Thurs., March 22, 2018 Evening departure out of Dulles; parents must take students to airport
Sat., March 31, 2018 Early evening arrival into Dulles; parents must pick up at airport


Installment payments should be mailed to the Treasurer of the Arlington Sister City Association. Please write your child’s name and “Reims” in the memo line of the check.

ASCA Treasurer / PO Box 5677 / Arlington, VA 22205

You will also need to provide the following: 1) an online bio form for family matching with hobbies, dietary restrictions, etc.; 2) scanned copy of first page of your passport; 3) medical insurance card & digital photo.

Teacher and Student Collaboration via Skype:

Reims Committee member Katy Wheelock, a French teacher and department chair for world languages at Wakefield High School, continues an innovative online collaboration she began in 2013 with Francoise Fauquembergue, an English teacher at Lycée Chanzy from Charleville-Mezières in the Reims region. Students in their respective classes also shared videos through Google Docs in which they practiced their language of study and discuss how the lives of teenagers are both similar and different in France and the United States. In the summer of 2017, students from Arlington were able to visit at Lycée Chanzy, attend a special reception, and tour the campus and classrooms. Online collaboration will continue this year with French 4 students at Wakefield High School who will Skype, write letters and complete projects in conjunction with English students of the same age at Lycée Chanzy. This new 3-year project will culminate in Fall 2020 when the students from Lycée Chanzy come to visit Wakefield students who will be in their senior year.

Interested in hosting a student from France?

If you are interested in hosting an exchange student from Reims, France, please click here to view information and an application.

Special events:

The Reims Committee works with Arlington’s other sister cities to propose thought provoking events, panels and discussions on historical events, and/or current issues.

San Miguel programs include:

Miss Sister City:

English-Language Instruction:

The San Miguel Committee runs an annual English-language summer school in July for approximately 120 students in San Miguel. Mrs. Kim Crittenden, ESOL/HILT teacher at Abingdon Elementary School in Arlington, and Mrs. Arlene Rodriguez of San Miguel serve as principal faculty for the program. The municipality of San Miguel provides transportation for the teachers, lunch for the students, as well as a festive graduation ceremony at a local school. The San Miguel Committee also grants scholarships to four students selected by the teachers for outstanding academic performance.

Girls’ Soccer Tournament:

The San Miguel Committee organizes a one-day women’s soccer tournament in San Miguel during the same period as the English language instruction. Eight teams composed exclusively of girls compete in the event, which is designed to increase opportunities for girls and young women to participate in team sports in the country. This event also provides an opportunity for soccer coaches and players from Arlington—especially those working with girls’ teams within the Arlington Soccer Association—to transmit not only soccer skills but the civic values of inclusion and sportsmanship to their counterparts in El Salvador.

Ivano-Frankivsk programs include:

High School Exchange program:

The Ivano-Frankivsk Committee organizes student exchanges to bring Ukrainian high-school students and chaperones to Arlington for a ten-day visit in October. The visitors arrive in Arlington to be welcomed by host families. The itinerary in Arlington include a full day attending an Arlington public high school, football games and homecoming dances, and tours of the U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress, George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon, Luray Caverns, and many other sites. When possible the group also participates in joint activities with students from the Aachen and/or Reims Exchange programs as well as a meeting with members of the Arlington County Board.

Special events:

The Ivano-Frankivsk Committee sponsors film screenings and panel discussions regarding current issues and/or cultural Ukrainian events.

High School Homestay Exchange

ASCA Local Coordinator: Daphne Lathouras

The High School Homestay Exchange program is an opportunity for ASCA to host a student from one of our sister cities for a year or semester of high school in Arlington.

This is a wonderful opportunity to help a young person experience life and culture in the U.S. The program is at the heart of ASCA’s mission of creating bonds between people from our sister cities and the people of Arlington. In addition, the program benefits host families and local school communities. Students frequently report that their experiences are “life-changing”, and indeed they often make friendships that last a lifetime.

One of our sister cities chooses the high school student, who must be between the ages of 15 and 18 1/2 on the first day of school.

The sponsoring sister city must have an International Coordinator to interview the student and determine if the student will be a good fit for the program, conduct language testing to ensure that the student has English proficiency necessary to complete a semester or year in an Arlington high school (English Language Test for International Students – ELTiS) and assist the student and their family with the required paperwork. All fees are paid by the exchange student’s family.

A U.S. State Department-designated sponsoring organization that is endorsed by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) ensures that ASCA’s Local Coordinator is certified by the Department of State and adheres closely to the rules and regulations that are in place to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of each HSHE student. The sponsoring organization processes the J-1 secondary school student visa. Once the sponsoring organization approves the student for the HSHE program, the Local Coordinator recruits a host family. The sponsoring organization must also approve the host family. The Local Coordinator works with the local school to ensure that there is a place for the student in the school. Once the HSHE student is in the United States, the Local Coordinator serves as the liaison with the high school, provides oversight and support to the exchange student and host family, and includes the student in ASCA activities as appropriate.

As per Arlington Public Schools Policy, ASCA has one seat per year for a student from one of our Sister Cities. The student may attend one of the three comprehensive high schools. (25-4.1 APS Foreign Exchange Student Programs). In the past we have been able to split the school year between 2 students with each student staying in Arlington for one semester and not overlapping.

Sister Cities International is our sponsoring organization for the High School Homestay Exchange program.  General information about the program and SCI’s role as the sponsoring organization can be found here.

ASCA Policies

Application deadlines are based on the timeline provided by the sponsoring organization.

ASCA requests that our Sister Cities present formal requests for students interested in participating in the High School Homestay Exchange at the September meeting. At that time the board will confer and determine which student(s) will be accepted into the program for the following school year (ie – September 2017 is the deadline for students interested in the 2018/19 school year). The Sister City must have an International Coordinator in place to conduct the language testing and manage the paperwork for the exchange.

ASCA High School Homestay Program History

ASCA Local Coordinator: Daphne Lathouras (June 2013 – present)

Prior to June 2013 Jennifer Rohling Wright served as ASCA Local Coordinator

Academic Year 2013-2014

No applicants

Academic Year 2014-2015

Jo Henri Bertram (Aachen) fall semester – 10th grade – Yorktown High School

Annika Spering (Aachen) spring semester – 10th grade – Yorktown High School

(both students had participated in the Elementary Exchange and were hosted by their Elementary Exchange families)

Academic Year 2015-2016:

No applicants

Academic Year 2016-2017

Iris Bischofs (Aachen) fall semester – 10th grade – Yorktown High School

An applicant from Aachen has applied to spend the spring semester at Yorktown High School – application pending and ASCA must find a host family in the YHS district by January 10, 2017.

Academic Year 2017-2018

2 students from Aachen have expressed interest and ASCA has accepted their requests to participate in the program

Academic Year 2018-2019

1 student from Reims has expressed interest.