Cultural Student Exchange Programs

A cultural learning experience

TCAPS offers many student exchange programs that provide students an intercultural experience by integrating students into the everyday life of their host families and into the classroom activities of host schools. The programs allow students to experience another culture while applying their language skills.


TCAPS graduates will be able to learn, adapt, live and work well in our global economy and society. —TCAPS Strategic Plan – Global Competency Commitment


Exchange programs include:

German American Partnership Program

TCAPS high school students learning German have the unique opportunity to participate in a short-term exchange at our partner school the Kaspar-Zeuss Gymnasium in Kronach, Germany. This exchange is known as the German American Partnership Program or GAPP, and the Goethe Institute and US Department of State help sponsor it. The program is designed for German and American students to exchange and experience another culture, while applying their language skills. The students from Germany will come to the US, live with our families, and attend school; we in turn will do the same. This is an incredible opportunity for students to have the chance to experience German culture and enhance language skills by living with a family, attending school, and participating in educational field trips in and around Germany.

Exchange Information

The GAPP educational field trip typically takes place in late June and lasts approximately 3-4 weeks. Students attend the Kaspar-Zeuss Gymnasium, a university prep high school, for a minimum of two weeks. A typical school day for our students consists of shadowing their host brothers and sisters, giving presentations about the Grand Traverse region to classes in German and assisting in English classes. Our students also have the opportunity to participate in regional excursions to learn more about Franconia. Then in September of the same year, German students and teachers travel to Traverse City and stay with host families and attend West Senior High School for two weeks. While here they participate in field trips and learn about our region alongside our students.

If you are interested in more information regarding the program, please contact GAPP coordinator Kerry LaBonte at If you would like to support the program please donate now.

About Kaspar-Zeuss Gymnasium

Kaspar-Zeuss Gymnasium is located in the heart of historic Kronach, Germany and has approximately 1000 students in grades 5-12. This university prep high school offers two educational paths one focusing on the natural sciences and technology and the other in languages. Along side these offerings Kaspar-Zeuss also offers art and sport classes.

About TC West Senior High School

Traverse City West Senior High is located just outside of Traverse City, Michigan. TC West serves approximately 1,700 students in grades 9-12 and has many academic offerings. West is well-known for its music programs, advanced placement classes and its athletics. There are many different extra-curricular activities available for students.

Japan Student Exchange Program


Japan Middle School Student Exchange

TCAPS, through the Traverse City and Koka Sister City program participates in an 8th grade exchange program with sister city, Koka, Japan. The purpose of this program is to promote friendship and understanding between Japanese and American middle school students. Exchanges are usually for one week. Students stay with middle school host families and attend school with their host family student. External LinkLearn more about the Japan Middle School Exchange Program 

Mexico Summer Global Service Trip

This Global Service trip to Guanajuato, Mexico differs from other global travel and exchange programs in that it is open to ALL students regardless of their previous world language exposure, and that it focuses on community service work. It will have particular benefits to students studying Spanish but is open to all, and would benefit all. This trip will provide students the opportunity to both grow as productive citizens of their world, while increasing their global competency through language study, volunteering, and living with host families to experience another culture.

For this trip students will travel to Guanajuato, Mexico to become immersed in the language and culture, as well as participate in service projects at Buen Pastor, an orphanage for girls, and Corazon Canino, a dog refuge for wounded street dogs. Students will also attend classes with students their own age in a school in Leon, Mexico and may teach teach English to those Spanish speaking students studying English there.

Students will attend language classes in a total immersion language school, La Escuela Mexicana. This school teaches to all levels - those with no previous experience in Spanish to upper level students who want to increase their proficiency and review already learned skills. Some cultural opportunities, side travel, and sight-seeing will be included in the itinerary, including a side trip to San Miguel de Allende to ride horses in Coyote Canyon. Students will attend musical performances and attend exhibits at local museums.

If you are interested in more information regarding the program, please contact the Global Service trip leader, Catherine Hansen at

Netherlands Student Exchange Program

About the Program

This program offers TCAPS students the unique opportunity of a short-term exchange with partner school Ulenhofcollege in Holland, a region and former province located on the western coast of the Netherlands. The program is designed for Dutch and American students to exchange and experience another culture.

The students from Ulenhofcollege will come to the U.S., live with our families for about one week, and attend school; our students in turn do the same. Students from TC West Senior High School will spend nearly two weeks in Holland over spring break. This is so much more than a normal European field trip. Most visitors to Holland have the opportunity to explore castles in the Dutch countryside, visit the Anne Frank house, and tour the canals of Amsterdam. While TCAPS students will do all of those things, they will also be able to experience things that very few visitors to Holland are able to experience. TCAPS students will have the opportunity to truly experience the culture of this beautiful country by living with a Dutch family and attending school. 

Spain Short-Term Exchange Program

Spain Tour and Home-Stay Experience

Traverse City Area Public Schools offers high school students in grades 9 – 12 learning Spanish the unique opportunity of a short-term exchange at a partner school in Spain. Students who are not learning Spanish may participate in the tour portion and will return to Michigan at the end of the ten-day guided tour.

The program is designed for Spanish and American students to experience another culture, while applying their language skills. The students from Spain will come to the US, live with our families, and attend school; we in turn will do the same. This is an eye-opening, life-changing opportunity for students to experience Spanish culture and enhance language skills by living with a family, attending school, and participating in educational field trips in and around Spain.

If you are interested in more information regarding the program, please contact the Spain Group Leader, Tamara Batcha at


Host Families Wanted

Want to explore the globe without leaving home? Open a window to the world by hosting a student from Europe, Latin America or Asia. Be part of an unforgettable experience. Contact Kristel Rodriguez Peacock at 231.933.1766 or rodriguekr@tcaps.netPDF DocumentView the host family brochure.

Becoming a Host Family

Hosting a student can be an incredibly rewarding experience! Extend your family in a second culture. Students and families who engage in this international exchange program will broaden horizons and become friends with those who grew up in a different country, speak a different language, and have different habits and expectations. Providing a home for an international student enriches intercultural perspectives for your family as well as your visiting student. For more information, contact Kristel Rodriguez Peacock at 231.933.1766 or

Why Host a Student?

  • Promote mutual respect and understanding among people from around the world
  • Sharing other cultures allows us to appreciate each other
  • Build life-long international friendships
  • Learn about international customs, traditions, language, and culture – without leaving home
  • Prepare your family for tomorrow’s global world

What Does it Cost?

When volunteering to be a host family through the TCAPS International Exchange Program, your obligation is to provide meals and lodging for your new family member. Visiting students will participate in the school lunch program and take TCAPS regular bus transportation to and from school. International exchange students will have spending money of their own for souvenirs.

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