A Springfield sister city, Pitesti, Romania, will play host to a small group of students from the area in the coming weeks as part of an exchange program that saw Romanian students visit Springfield earlier in the summer.
Project Jericho, with the help of fundrasing efforts by the city of Springfield and 20 donors, will be sending five local students along with four chaperons to Pitesti from Aug. 17 to Aug. 25.
The students were handpicked by the leaders and staff of Project Jericho. The staff evaluated different criteria for the students, including their commitment to Project Jericho as well as their number of years being involved with the program.
“We have some students that were chosen that have been involved with us for seven years,” said Kayla Snyder of Project Jericho, “but we do have some that have been with us for as little as a year.”
Another thing the staff was looking for was a passion for the arts and willingness to learn, especially because one of the main focuses of this trip is to learn about Romanian art and culture.
The students have been preparing for the trip with weekly meetings that include them working on different projects such as small egg shell mosaics as gifts for their hosts as well as braided bracelets as gifts for the other students they meet in Romania. The group has also been putting some touches on a performance piece for a show they will be participating in once they get to Romania.
Along with the their own work, the students have been to city commission meetings and have received special presentations from Mayor Copeland.
“This can be seen as a life-changing experience,” said Snyder.
A lot of the students haven’t flown before, so not only will they be getting international flight experience, but according to Snyder, they will be gaining the knowledge of how to conduct themselves professionally when representing themselves and the United States. They will also be picking up the knowledge of new art forms that are traditionally Romanian.
After the students return, they will hold a photo show at Un Mundo on Sept. 6 to share their stories and experiences from the trip.
Snyder says that if Project Jericho keeps getting continued support, they would be open to participating in more exchange programs like this one.