The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) and the Council for Teaching Filipino Language and Culture recently kicked off a new virtual exchange program for students and teachers.
Connecting young people across the globe, the Dalawang Baybayin (Two Shores) Intercultural Exchange Program partners schools in San Diego County with schools in the Philippines to provide students and teachers with authentic opportunities for meaningful interaction and collaboration in world languages.
“Truly, language is a bridge that brings together people and cultures who are separated by thousands of miles,” said Rizalyn Cruz, president of the Council for Teaching Filipino Language and Culture. “We hope this is one of the many ways we can collaborate with each other … and deepen everyone’s understanding of the cultures, traditions, and experiences of the other.”
The Consul General of the Philippines Edgar Barrairo Badajos also joined the meeting to address the group.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Philippines, Badajos shared, describing the importance of the long and interwoven history of intercultural understanding between the two countries. The U.S. is also home to the largest number of Filipinos outside of the Philippines.
Speaking about the Dalawang Baybayin program, he said, “This program helps to perpetuate an even greater cultural understanding between our peoples.”
In the 2020-21 school year, SDCOE, with the Consulate of Spain in Los Angeles, created the Dos Orillas Intercultural Exchange Program with the goal of expanding intercultural understanding and global competence and promote engagement and communication.
“Together, we’ve created a collaborative framework for a virtual, intercultural exchange that supports our San Diego County students as global citizens,” explained Dr. Paul Gothold, San Diego County superintendent of schools. “Students gained global competency and cultural proficiency, and really learned how to connect and have empathy for each other’s experiences."
Both programs provide partner teachers in different countries to together plan engaging activities and provide authentic opportunities for students to interact and practice their language skills and cultural understanding.