Aspen Sister Cities
ASC map with flags


The Aspen Sister Cities mission is to share ideas and cultures through the international exchange of students and community members from Aspen and its sister cities. The Aspen Sister City Committee is a non-profit organization run by a Board of Directors. The committee meets at 5:00 p.m. the second Thursday of every month in the Pearl Pass room at Aspen City Hall, and the public is invited.

For more information about our Sister Cities,visit our website: Aspen Sister Cities Website

City of Aspen Flag:

In 1993, Aspen Sister Cities was asked to develop a flag for the City of Aspen based on an Aspen logo developed by Herbert Bayer in the early 1940's. Through a resolution, Aspen's City Council will be readopting this originally designed flag to which Aspen Sister Cities owns the copyright. Since the Aspen High School sponsors the Aspen Sister Cities (ASC) student exchange groups to Garmisch, Germany and Queenstown, New Zealand; organizes summer language institute programs in Bariloche, Argentina; and receives individual students from Abetone, Italy; ASC is donating a City of Aspen flag to the Aspen High School. We'll be excited to see it flying proudly.

High School exchange program opportunities


Aspen Sister Cities and Aspen High School work together to create a well-balanced program for eligible high school students who are interested in experiencing an international exchange. Students must be in good academic and behavioral standing at their school.

In order to apply and participate in the Aspen Sister Cities High School Student Exchange Program, student applicants must be enrolled in Aspen High School during their 9th, 10th, or 11th grade year. Additionally, students must maintain enrollment at Aspen High School throughout the exchange cycle in order to be eligible exchange participants.


There are two high school 2-week exchanges. Between 9-12 students are chosen for each program. While staying with international host families, our students experience school days, everyday family life, and historical/cultural programs relevant to each city and region.

Chamonix, France (host: Fall 2024, travel: Spring 2025)

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Queenstown, New Zealand (travel: Summer 2024, host: Winter 2025)


Chamonix, France - Students will host in October and travel to Chamonix in March/Spring Break (dates subject to change).

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany - is offered every other year. Students will travel to Garmisch-P in March/Spring Break and host in April (dates subject to change).

Queenstown, New Zealand - is offered every year. Students will travel to Queenstown in June and host in January.

TENTATIVE TIMELINE for application process (Garmisch-P and Queenstown)

  • Sept: Online applications and essays are due, and interviews conducted
  • Oct: Acceptance letter sent, all deposit fees of $500 due
  • Nov: Preparation meetings for hosting Queenstown
  • Jan: Host Queenstown group
  • Feb: Preparation meetings/classes for Garmisch-P travel
  • March: Travel to Garmisch-P - during and around Spring Break
  • April: Host Garmisch-P group
  • May: Preparation meetings for Queenstown travel
  • June: Travel to Queenstown
  • July: Ducky Derby Fundraiser begins (participation required), student sale of paper envelope duck sales or online ducks
  • August: Ducky Derby Fundraiser
  • September: Begin the next round of Student Exchanges


An international student will stay in your home for approximately 10 - 12 days. You are expected to provide sleeping arrangements, meals, and a nurturing family environment. You must also be prepared to deal with emotional issues that sometimes occur as a result of an international student being away from home (homesickness, cultural differences, and language barriers). However, support for emotional and health issues is available around the clock by program coordinators and Aspen Sister Cities liaisons. Aspen families need to be prepared to support their own children with strategies for independence and resilience while they are traveling internationally.

Each host family is responsible for getting their visiting student to school each day, packing any sack lunches that might be necessary, and taking care of the international student during non-school hours. This includes after school and weekends and families are free to structure this time however they see fit. Families are encouraged to give small gifts to their visiting students and provide minimal internet time so that students can contact home.

Each Aspen family (participating student and parents) is required to attend all planning meetings and help organize activities for hosting international students. Each family will volunteer for at least one task to complete as part of their obligation to the program.

Passports should be obtained or updated at this time. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of the trip return. Establishing a United Mileage/Rewards account is also recommended. In order to receive mileage points, be sure the name on the student's United account matches their legal passport and/or birth certificate name.


Aspen students are expected to represent Aspen, their respective schools, and the United States as ambassadors, and they must be committed to this process throughout the year. Keeping up on schoolwork and making good choices both in school and out in the community is part of this commitment. Additionally, students will learn about cultural traditions and behavioral expectations in their preparation classes so that they can be gracious visitors in a foreign environment. Students who are ready and willing to experience new environments and unique experiences, and who are independent are well suited for the Aspen Sister Cities international exchange program.

Students must make the Sister Cities Exchange Program a very high priority for an entire year. From the first organizational meeting through the last obligation as a host family, students must plan to be involved and committed. This sometimes means making hard choices between this program and other extracurricular activities such as sports practices, music lessons, school plays, and family functions. It is important to think through all of these variables before committing to the program since there is a non-refundable deposit.


After acceptance to the program, students must understand, sign, and return the program academic and behavior contract along with a non-refundable participation fee of $500 and a $500 deposit, which includes a two-year membership to Aspen Sister Cities.

Each student must raise a minimum of $450 through the Ducky Derby Fundraiser by selling ducks. This money helps defray the cost of hosting students in Aspen and sometimes covers extra travel expenses. In order to motivate students through Ducky Derby fundraising, Aspen Sister Cities will refund or credit any monies earned over $400 according to the following ranges: $401-$1000 student receives 50% of funds, $1001-$2000 student receives 60% of funds, $2001-$3000 student receives 70% of funds, $3001-$4000 student receives 80% of funds.  Any funds earned beyond the trip fee and other student exchange expenses are donated back to the Sister Cities program.

The actual program expenses vary year to year based on flight, transfer and other expenses.  Aspen Sister Cities committee expects that each student will raise at least $350 on their own to contribute toward the family trip fee expense.  Scholarship money is available and all requests must be made in writing. Scholarship applicants need to use the required Francesca MacPherson Scholarship Form that is available from the Aspen High School front office and submit the necessary supporting documents by the program application deadline.


Jill Sheeley, Queenstown Liaison, Garmisch-P Coordinator

Betsy Ann Anastas, Garmisch-P Student Coordinator

Jane Larsen, Chamonix Students Coordinator