By Mike Baños
Editor at Large
THE Cagayan de Oro Secretariat of the Cagayan de Oro-Norfolk Sister Association has extended the applications for its first student exchange program to Wednesday, 28 February 2018.
The first Cagayan de Oro High School Student Summer Visitor Exchange Program which will have its initial run on July 1-15, 2018 in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.
“We extended the deadline to the end of the month to ensure that we don’t miss out those who need to know about the program, and prepare their documents,” said Imam Rae D. Gatuslao, head of the Cagayan de Oro sister cities secretariat. “Although from our end we started the information campaign early January, disseminating and cascading the info from the schools to their own constituents (parents/teachers/students) took quite awhile.”
The student exchange program is an initiative of the sister cities relations of Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines and Norfolk City, Virginia, USA, aimed at bringing the youth from both cities closer together in a brief yet rich summer program that promotes cultural awareness, and intercultural understanding.
The high school students will stay with “host siblings” who would allow them to experience family life in an American setting, hone their interpersonal skills, and cultivate life-long friendships.
The first visit will accommodate six students from Cagayan de Oro. The Norfolk Sister City Association has prepared an itinerary which will provide delegates opportunities to appreciate a new culture as well as our own on a fresher and deeper level.
The delegation will visit parks, monuments, museums, and historical and cultural sites like the Norfolk Naval Station, considered the largest naval base in the world, and the Mermaid Factory, where they will have a hands-on experience creating their own version of the Norfolk Visitors Bureau’s mermaid icon.
A visit to the Philippine Embassy Washington, D.C. is also in the itinerary.
Qualified to apply for the program are high school student in any public or private school in Cagayan de Oro, who have not yet graduated from high school; not below 15 years of age and above 18 years old during the program; must have good communication skills, and possess intermediate or above average verbal English capability; mature enough to handle life away from family and friends, a resident of Cagayan de Oro, and a Filipino citizen.
The student must have the potential to benefit from the experience and commit to be a part of the sustaining mechanism of the CDO-Norfolk Student Visitor Exchange Program.
Those interested to apply may send their applications to the CDO-TRADE & INVESTMENT PROMOTIONS CENTER, 3rd Floor, New Legislative Building City Hall Compound, Gen.., N. Capistrano-Archbishop Santiago Hayes Streets, 9000 Cagayan de Oro City.
They may also call the office at (088) 857-3057, or email their applications to: email@example.com. They may also download the form from the city government’s website at www.cagayandeoro.gov.ph.
Cagayan de Oro became the 7th sister city of Norfolk in 2008. The official signing of the twinning agreement on June 18, 2008 by then Norfolk City Mayor Paul Fraim and Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Constantino “Tinnex” Jaraula was the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Square, the “Liberator of the Philippines” final resting place.
CDO’s 800,000 population plus four universities and several colleges compliment 40,000 Filipinos living in Hampton Roads and Norfolk’s educational facilities.
From a historical viewpoint, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and his PT boat crew that carried him from Corregidor landed in Cagayan de Oro in March 13, 1942, where he was whisked to nearby Bukidnon and then airlifted to Australia on March 17. On October 20, 1944 he fulfilled his “I shall return” promise to the Filipinos by leading US forces in their final drive to liberate the Philippines from Imperial Japan.
Like Norfolk, Cagayan de Oro is a seaport city. The MacArthur Memorial Marker in Barangay Macabalan marks the spot where the General landed in 1942 in his breakout to Australia with an imposing MacArthur “Wheeler” cap-shaped kiosk and where Norfolk’s Mermaid “Golden Lady” can be viewed.
Since the twinning agreement was signed, delegations from Norfolk have visited the city twice, and Cagayan de Oro has also reciprocated such visits in 2014 and 2016.
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