APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED FOR SISTER CITY STUDENT AMBASSADOR EXCHANGE PROGRAM
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (January 8, 2013) - High school juniors residing in St. Petersburg are invited to broaden their cultural horizons by applying to serve as one of St. Petersburg's Student Ambassadors to Takamatsu, Japan, this summer. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2013.
Following interviews by the city's International Relations Committee, a citizen group charged with cultivating relationships between St. Petersburg and cities around the world, one or two students will be selected to experience Japanese life and culture while living with host families in Takamatsu. During their three-week visit, Student Ambassadors will meet with local government officials, including Takamatsu's Mayor; attend high school; and participate in daily activities with their host families. Previous Student Ambassadors have tried their hand at Japanese cooking, honed noodle-making skills, practiced Kendo, attended sporting events, and visited some of the area's historic landmarks.
Upon their return to St. Petersburg, the Student Ambassadors will share information about their visit to Takamatsu with City Council and IRC members, as well as with schools, civic groups and others interested in the cultural exchange program.
To apply, students must be a resident of St. Petersburg and have completed their junior year. Along with the official application form, available at http://www.stpete.org/irc/ambassadors.asp, students should submit an original essay and introduction letter to their host family. In addition, a class photo; copy of their high school transcript, including verification of honors and/or activity involvement; an introduction letter to the host parents written by the applicant's parents and two reference letters, including one from a school faculty member, must accompany the application. All students meeting eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply, regardless of their financial situation.
Applications may be hand-delivered to the Marketing and Communications Department, City Hall, 175 Fifth St. N., or mailed with a postmark of 5 p.m., Friday, March 15. Applications submitted via e-mail will not be considered.
While all international travel arrangements, costs, including round-trip airfare and insurance and home stays are complimentary, students should be prepared to cover personal living expenses abroad, including local transportation, visits to local attractions, restaurant meals or other incidentals.
Since the program's inception, 46 students have visited Takamatsu as Student Ambassadors. Past participants have used the experience to pursue studies in International Relations, Japanese studies, and International Business, while others have deepened their understanding of world cultures.
Host families are also needed for late July-early August when St. Petersburg welcomes students from Takamatsu for two weeks during the annual student exchange. Families of current and previous applicants and ambassadors are encouraged to participate in the Sister City relationship by serving as a Host Family.
Since becoming a Sister City in 1961, St. Petersburg is believed to have one of the longest continuous relationships in the organization, commemorating its 50th anniversary with Takamatsu in 2011. Following official delegations to both cities, a new Sister Schools relationship was developed last year for younger students and featured a virtual Bonsai Exchange between students at Perkins Elementary and Kinashi Elementary in October.
For more information on St. Petersburg's Sister City relationship with Takamatsu, Japan, and its Student Ambassador exchange program or to be a Host Family, visit www.stpete.org/irc.