Four students who are part of the Sister Cities Student Exchange Programme were guests of honour at a special event in Antrim last week.
Students Matthew Audley from Ballyclare Secondary School and Ruby Irvine from Ballyclare High School, along with American students Cassie Hancock and Jacinda Shelton, were welcomed to the barbeque at Antrim Castle Gardens by Deputy Mayor John Blair and local councillors.
The young people got the opportunity to share some of the many memorable experiences they enjoyed during the council-run exchange programme.
Matthew and Ruby jetted off to Gilbert, in Phoenix, Arizona in June, returning home with the American students, who stayed in the borough until August 1.
The students experienced the highlights of the borough and Northern Ireland through a number of planned activities, including volunteering with a youth group in Antrim, visiting Stormont and venturing up the Antrim coast to the see the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
Speaking on the evening, Councillor Blair commented: “I’m delighted to extend a very warm Northern Irish welcome to Cassie and Jacinda and it seems that despite the rainy July, they are enjoying what our beautiful borough and country have to offer.
“This year sees the student exchange programme celebrate 15 years and during this time I believe that a spirit of friendship and partnership has developed between our communities, leading to a greater understanding of our respective cultures.
“I hope all four students here tonight have been enriched from this exciting experience.”
For further information about the Sister Cities Student Exchange Programme contact Antrim and Newtownabbey Council on 028 9034 0000 or 028 9446 3113.