SCSCA Student Exchange Policies

  1. How does the student exchange program with our Sister Cities work?

  • Students interested in the scholarship to travel to our Sister Cities must submit a Student Exchange Application. SCSCA chooses 2-4 students for an exchange trip to Izumo, Japan each year and 2-4 students for a trip to Coimbra, Portugal and Limerick, Ireland every other year. Each trip is approximately 10 days long.

  • Hosting visiting students in your home is an important part of the Santa Clara Sister Cities tradition. Youth Commissioners should feel comfortable hosting students from different countries for short stays with their families to experience the diversity of cultures in our world and build lasting friendships with other students from Ireland, Japan and Portugal.

  • Each year, Middle Schoolers and 2 High School students from the City of Izumo visit Santa Clara in March, and then students from Santa Clara visit Izumo in the summer. The families of the students interested in traveling to Japan and are chosen for this exchange program are encouraged to host the students visiting from Izumo for a stay at their homes.

  • Families of students planning to travel to Coimbra, Portugal or Limmerick Ireland should plan to experience hosting a visiting exchange student (from any country) in their homes prior to being selected to travel to a Santa Clara Sister City.

2. What expenses will the SCSCA scholarship cover, and what will be the student’s out-of-pocket expenses?

  • The student exchange trip typically costs a total of around $2300 – $2400 per student, depending on the airfare. SCSCA pays $2250 towards airfare only for each student and the student is responsible for the balance of the trip cost.

  • Stipends, pocket money, gifts, transportation, airfare in excess of $2250 can be as much as $500

  • Amount paid by SCSCA toward the airfare (up to $2250)

  • Difference or the student out-of-pocket cost can be as much as $400-600*Students are strongly encouraged to bring gifts, typically costing around $25.00, to their host families. Customs vary by culture, and more information will be provided during orientation.

3. What are the student responsibilities in participating in the program?

The students going on the exchange trip should always remember that they represent our city, state, and country and act accordingly.

The students chosen for the program are also required to participate in the following activities.

  • Participate in the SCSCA fundraiser events like the February Tea Social, September Art & Wine Booth well as hosting activities.

    • Spend time with the students visiting from our sister cities and host visiting students in their home

    • Attend and be available for a minimum of two orientation meetings (two hours each) to prepare for the trip

    • Make a trip report presentation at a Santa Clara City Council meeting

    • Continue involvement with the SCSCA and help other students going on the future exchange trips

4. Before going on the trip, the student and his/her guardian(s) will be asked to do the following:

  • Obtain travel insurance

  • Obtain a valid passport immediately if not current. Passports should be valid at least 6 months after last day of the trip.

  • Sign a No-Alcohol/Student Travel Behavior contract

  • Submit a signed (by all guardian(s)) and notarized copy of a consent for the student to travel.

  • Sign liability release document