The annual PTSCA Summer Youth Exchange is one of our major programs that invites students from Tulancingo to live with families in Pleasanton for a month.* After that month, a Pleasanton youth from each host family goes to live in Tulancingo for a month. The number of great experiences and long term friendships that have developed from the program since 1985 has amazed everyone. The youth are our Pleasanton Youth Ambassadors, but once they have visited another family they often call each other 'brothers' and 'sisters.' Most of our Ambassadors would agree that living with another family in another country is a life changing experience.
There are no fees or financial obligations to the PTSCA when students apply or participate in the exchange. The only major expense for the exchange youth or family is the airfare. We have informational meetings in in the first few months of the year (we are still taking applications for 2016) with details about the program. Usually the students are interviewed in March or early April and within a few weeks we ask the ambassadors to commit to the program for the following summer. The youth from Mexico usually arrive the weekend after the Pleasanton school year ends.
We are often asked "Is it safe?" While every country has it's difficult places, some parts of Mexico, especially near the American border, in recent years had newsworthy problems with drug related violence. Fortunately, Tulancingo is located in an area away from both the major resorts and the border areas. You can learn more about Tulancingo on this site. Each year 60-80 adults and youth travel between the cities, during 30 years over two thousand trips have been made without incident. We hope and expect safe travel to continue and the members of both city's organizations are dedicated to making sure our exchanges and visits are both safe and culturally interesting. Tulancingo is a modern city with iPhones and Android smartphones, WiFi in most houses, cathedrals, universities, shopping malls, even an Office Max! Most of our youth ambassadors are surprised how 'like home' it is.
* This year the program is three weeks in each city while we explore the changes in the school schedule.