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Mayor and Deputy Mayor celebrate 21 years of Sister Cities Student Exchange Programme with Students

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Mark Cooper and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Rosie Kinnear, invited the eight participants to a BBQ at Antrim Castle Gardens and Clotworthy House to celebrate 21 successful years of the programme. 

The Sister Cities Student Exchange Programme sees students from Antrim and Newtownabbey travel across the Atlantic Ocean to stay with students and their families in Gilbert, Arizona, and return to host them in the Borough.

Local students Lucia McIlroy and Natalia Dzieciatko from Antrim Grammar School, Niamh McAllister from St Louis Grammar School and Matthew Byrne from St Malachy’s College were accompanied by their host students from Gilbert, Arizona: Kyaira Carter, Jagoda Gliniak, Amara Manning and David Wang.  All were welcomed by the Mayor, Councillor Mark Cooper and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Rosie Kinnear alongside the Chief Executive, Jacqui Dixon and Elected Members to discuss their experiences of the programme.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Mark Cooper, was delighted to welcome the students from Gilbert, Arizona, to the Borough;

“This is the 21st year of the Sister Cities Exchange Programme, and each year we see the wonderful impact this programme has on the young people involved, expanding their knowledge of new places, experiencing new cultures, growing their confidence and forming long-lasting friendships. I am confident that they will continue to benefit from this experience in years to come.

“I would encourage any young people who are interested in participating in the Student Exchange Programme in future to get in touch with the Council so we can keep you updated on next year’s programme. It is a truly life-changing experience.”

In June, the four Antrim and Newtownabbey students embarked on their journey to Gilbert, spending a fortnight there before returning with their Gilbert Exchange Partners, to spend another two weeks showcasing the best the Borough has to offer. They enjoyed exciting activities with their host families and also engaged in volunteering work with Parkrun in various locations across the Borough.

For further information on our Student Exchange Programme with our Sister City Gilbert, Arizona, please contact business@antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk