International Cultural Exchange is a program designed to involve North American schools and organizations with the Colombian culture. Since 2007, PCT Colombia has brought more than 25 groups to different regions in Colombia. Stanley Middle School (CA), Maple Grove High School (MN), and McCallie School (TN) have travelled multiple times over this period.
The components that make our exchange program to Colombia a successful experience are 1) the excellent host schools and host families that receive the students in each community allowing for opportunities to start friendships and test language skills, 2) the activities that allow students to experience unique aspects of the local culture, 3) excursions that draw out historical, social and environmental context of the special iconic regions of Colombia, 4) and the opportunity to participate in social service projects. Social service can last one day or more, depending on the group. It will be coordinated with an existing organization that needs support in specific areas.
Groups have ranged from 4 to 25 students mainly from middle and high schools. We have also managed programs made up of university students, adult groups and elementary school children with their parents. After 5 to 10 days living with a host family, the group may choose to spend 3 to 5 days traveling to an important cultural region of Colombia. It is not a requirement to choose one of the excursions. And, it is not a requirement to interact with a host school and families. Accommodation may be organized using the host component or by lodging in hotels.
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