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.
Outbound: Arlington Students Travel to Germany
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 by a German teenager 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.
Next High School Exchange: July 8 to 26th, 2017
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 our Aachen High School Exchange flyer
- Chaperone information here along with the expectations agreement for chaperones.
For more about outbound program contact Kristen Walters and Katarina Skladony,email: AachenArlingtonExchange@gmail.com
Required Documents for Student Exchange Application
- Arlington Sister City Youth Exchange Application (to be completed and submitted online)
- Commitment to Act as Host Family, Student Behavior Expectations and Parental Permission, and Medical Information and Release (to be printed, completed, signed, scanned, and emailed to AachenArlingtonExchange@gmail.com)
- Verification that Student is in Good Academic Standing (to be printed, completed, signed, scanned, and emailed to AachenArlingtonExchange@gmail.com)
- At least one letter of recommendation from a teacher, school administrator, employer, or other community leader who is well acquainted with you (to be signed, scanned, and emailed to AachenArlingtonExchange@gmail.com)
- A copy of the identification page of your passport (email to AachenArlingtonExchange@gmail.com)
- A copy of your health insurance card, front and back (email to AachenArlingtonExchange@gmail.com)
- Head shot photo of student applicant (email to AachenArlingtonExchange@gmail.com)
- $50 application fee, not included in the program fee, payable to Arlington Sister City Association, is due with application and covers the ASCA family membership required for students participating in the outbound trip.
Optional Document for Student Application
- ASCA Scholarship Application including a personal statement noting your interest in the program and why you are applying for the scholarship (to be completed, printed, signed, scanned, and emailed to AachenArlingtonExchange@gmail.com)
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 two exchanges:
- Bishop O’Connell and Lycée Jean XIII Exchange
- Lycée Marc Chagall Exchange
Bishop O’Connell – Lycée Jean XXIII Exchange
This exchange alternates between inbound and outbound portions in successive years.
In October the inbound portion of the Bishop O’Connell-Lycée Jean XXIII high-school exchange, in which students plus chaperones from Reims are hosted by Arlington students and their families. The students selected classes at Bishop O’Connell High School and tour extensively in Washington, D.C. and the local area. Highlights of the exchange included a potluck dinner, attending a Bishop O’Connell football game, and visiting George Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon.
The outbound portion of the exchange happens the following year.
Lycée Marc Chagall Exchange
Traveling to France on the exchange with Lycée Marc Chagall, Reims, France – June 23- July 7, 2017.
If you are interested in TRAVELING TO FRANCE on the exchange with Lycée Marc Chagall, Reims, France, it will take place June 23- July 7, 2017.
Students from Lycée Marc Chagall are visiting Arlington Oct. 12-26th. 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 contact ArlingtonReims@gmail.com
High-School students who would like to travel to Reims in 2017 should apply now! A committee will select up to 24 students to travel June 23-July 17, 2017. While there, students will live in the homes of students at Lycée Marc Chagall, a public school in Reims. Their time will be spent visiting the school, touring the region, and participating in the daily life of their host family. Students will be encouraged to share this experience with their French class in the fall. Click here for more general information about the application, including eligibility and deadlines.
Estimated Cost: $2,400 — Payments are made in installments.
Deadlines: There are only 24 places available for the 2017 Exchange. Complete application packets will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications are due Oct. 28, 2016.
You must complete all items listed below.
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.
Part III — Academic Standing / GPA Confirmation from School Counselor This is the only form you need to print. The completed form should be scanned and emailed by the counselor to ArlingtonReims@gmail.com
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 also tax deductible. Please pay online by Oct. 28 Send a copy of your email receipt to ArlingtonReims@gmail.com
Final Paperwork & Payment Installments
Installment payments for the $2,400 should be mailed to the Treasurer of the Arlington Sister City Association. Please write your child’s name in the memo line of the check.
ASCA Treasurer / PO Box 5677 / Arlington, VA 22205
By March, you will need to provide the following: – Bio form for family matching with hobbies, dietary restrictions, etc. – Scanned copy of first page of your passport & 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 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.
Required Documents for Student Exchange Application
If you are interested in hosting an exchange student from Reims, France, please click here to view information and an application.
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:
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.
The Ivano-Frankivsk Committee sponsors film screenings and panel discussions regarding current issues and/or cultural Ukrainian events.
Homestay Exchange Program
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.
ASCA is working with sponsoring organization Forte International Exchange Association for the 2016/17 school year.
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
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:
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.