Spend your summer in Europe


Burke, Editorials Editor


The Sister Cities Association of Belvidere has been sending kids on their annual youth exchange to Europe for over ten years. Every summer, four teens from the Boone County Area are given a $1,500 stipend for travel expenses to go to either Schwieberdingen, Germany or Vaux-le-penil, France.

Students that go to France will stay in a town less than a thirty minute train ride from Paris. They have organized trips around Paris, as well as in the town of Vaux-le-Penil.

Students who go to Germany stay in Schwieberdingen, a suburb of the German city Stuttgart. There are organized trips to Strasbourg, France, as well as Hohenzollern, a Hogwarts-reminiscent castle which used be lived in by the family of the Prince of Prussia. “It was the most life-changing and eye-opening experience of my life,” says Jazmine Guzman (‘18), who went to Germany in the summer of 2016.

While abroad, the youth ambassadors are hosted by families in the sister city. While this may prove a challenging experience, many of the host families have adequate English skills, and many of the students come back with practical knowledge in another language.  

There is also the option to host foreign students on their exchange to the United States, following right after the arrival of the american kids back to the US. The foreign students in the US partake in activities all around Belvidere and Rockford, as well as a trip to Chicago where they visit Millennium Park, the Hancock Tower, and Water Tower Place.

Students interested in the exchange opportunity should keep close attention to the announcements – applications will open around the end of December, or the beginning of January.