1. What are the dates for each exchange?
Each exchange differs in dates and every year they are not the same. For the most accurate timeline look at the application for the program you are interested in. If you need more information you can call the Sister Cities Office at (859)258-3137.
2. Is there a chaperone for the high school exchanges?
There is a chaperone for the Newmarket, County Kildare, and Shinhidaka exchanges, but the Deauville exchange is too lengthy for a chaperone. The flight to France is direct, however, and the students are picked up at the airport by members of the Deauville Committee.
3. How much does the exchange cost?
Other than the $50 application fee, the cost will be between $1,800 and $2,000, depending on current airline prices. Upon acceptance, a $200 non-refundable deposit is due to Sister Cities at the first orientation in January. Once the airfare is found and held by the travel agent, payment will be due to Sister Cities. If necessary, payment plans can be arranged. However, the full amount of the airline ticket will be due at least 90 days from departure. There could also be a transportation surcharge for local tours. Scholarships are available on a financial need basis – the scholarship application can be found on the website.
4. What are some other costs we may incur?
Other costs include spending money for gifts, souvenirs, et cetera, and obtaining a passport.
5. When are the interviews for the exchange?
Interviews will be scheduled either mid-November or early December. Interviews will last about 45 minutes per family. If possible, both parents/guardians should attend the interview. Sometimes, it will be necessary to conduct an in-home interview.
6. What should I expect at the interview?
A panel of committee members interview prospective students and their parents/ guardians separately. There can be up to five committee members in an interview, so don’t be scared. The interview begins with the student and we ask questions about your motivation for the program, if you have any previous travel experience, what type of student you would like to be matched with, etc. We look for maturity, flexibility, resilience, and general character traits that will ensure you are a successful candidate. We will also ask a few questions in French for those applying to programs in France to get a better understanding of your conversational French. When interviewing parents (only for the high school exchanges), we want to be assured that the parents understand the commitment they and their student are undertaking.
7. What is provided while abroad?
For the high school exchanges, accommodation and meals will be provided by the host family. The same is expected of the American host family that is hosting an exchange student.
8. Does Sister Cities provide transportation to the airport?
No, that is the responsibility of the participant.
9. What if I/my child gets sick while abroad?
Your host family or the Sister Cities committee in the other country will take care of anyone who gets sick. We ask that you check with your insurance company before you depart to make sure you are covered for international expenses.
10. Are there group activities planned by Sister Cities?
Yes, both in Lexington and overseas the committees will plan 4-5 group activities.
11. Can we travel out of state with our exchange student?
Yes, but we ask that you get the parent's permission especially if you plan to fly.
12. Can I call/email/text my child while they are abroad?
Yes, but we ask that this is only done occasionally. The students are there to immerse themselves in the language and culture of another country, it is best to be present in the moment.
13. How does the committee decide how to match the students?
We gather information from their application and their interview and try to match based on: common interests, age & gender (if you have specified you cannot host a student of the opposite gender, you will not be expected to), and other specifications such as pet allergies.
14. If we don't like our match can we change it?
No, we expect the students to be able to adapt to the situation even if they are not become fast friends with their counterpart.
*For other specific questions or concerns please email Lexington Sister Cities at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at (859)259-3137 (office hours are Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm)