Chula Vista Seeking Youth Ambassadors for Japan Exchange
By Mario A. Cortez
The City of Chula Vista’s International Friendship Commission is looking for youth ambassadors for its sister city exchange with Odawara, Japan this August.
The Commission opened up its application process to select four Chula Vista residents, ages 18 through 23, to participate in the 2018 exchange program for young professionals and students.
Selected applicants will spend two weeks in Odawara with a host family, from August 2 through 14, and return with their respective guests, who will be in Chula Vista through Aug 26. Chula Vista’s participants will receive a $1,000 travel stipend toward airfare provided by the City.
The selected participants flying to Japan will get to stay with a host family, get to know how Odawara’s City government is run, and see the operations of municipal agencies such as the fire department and the local city council. Participants will also get to attend social and cultural events and be treated to a welcome and goodbye dinner.
While in Chula Vista, Japanese guests will also be participating in similar activities, such sitting in during official City functions, engage in community service, and attend festivals as Chula Vista’s annual HarborFest and a Padres baseball game.
Lynnette Tessitore of the Chula Vista International Friendship Commission, the City agency in charge of the exchange, said to La Prensa San Diego that Chula Vista and Odawara have had a sister city agreement for almost 35 years and this exchange encompasses mutual interests such as technology, education, arts, and innovation, among others.
She said that Chula Vista’s long history of Japanese immigrants to the area was a factor in striking this agreement.
“The City struct this agreement based on the large Japanese history here in Chula Vista, so the agreement was looked into and then we found and a mutual interest in having an agreement,” Tessitore said.
The sister city agreement went through the national Sister Cities organization and was finalized in 1984.
Tessitore also added that there is much to learn from the trip for the potential participants.
“They get to interact with their peers of similar age with whom in this day and age they will be connected with through the global economy and we hope that both sides see their similarities and differences, and understand these differences and learn from each other,” she stated.
Program applications applications are available online at https://www.chulavistaca.gov/residents/cultural-
arts/odawara-application. Those interested must complete the online application.
The commision will be reviewing applications until April 11 at 5 p.m.
The City of Chula Vista also holds sister city agreements with Cebu, Philippines and Irapuato, Mexico.
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