Selected Josenian senior high school students are set to visit Japan for cultural and academic immersion while their Japanese counterparts will also visit Cebu for the same purpose in the very near future.
This came after USJ-R President Rev. Fr. Cristopher Maspara, OAR signed a student exchange program agreement with Toyo University Ushiku Junior and Senior High School represented by its principal Mr. Ryuji Endo at the conference room of the Basak Campus last Sept. 26.
“In this era of globalization, cross-border education and Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) integration, this cultural exchange program is a welcome development for our university,” said Fr. Maspara during the agreement signing.
“This will truly be an enrichment in the lives of the students. It will open a lot of opportunities for them to learn and understand other cultures and societies,” he added.
The immersion program will last for two weeks, with participants to be provided with foster homes by the host school, said Mrs. Nila Garcia, principal of USJ-R Senior High School.
Exchange students will be allowed to participate in host school’s cultural and sporting events and after-school clubs and will be toured around famous cultural and tourist spots.
In USJ-R, among the suggested activities prepared for Japanese exchange students are: nature conservation efforts, immersion with the locals, and visit to special economic zones, historical sites, exporter’s manufacturing plants and social welfare facilities, among others.
Cooperation and global peace
Toyo University Ushiku Junior and Senior High School is located in Ushiku City in Ibaraki Prefecture, in the northern Kantō region of Japan.
The school has strong international linkages, with American, Chinese and Vietnamese students coming over every year for exchange programs, said Mr. Endo. They also send their students to Australia, New Zealand and Thailand for the same objective annually.
Canadian Mr. Glenn Serviss, an English teacher at Toyo Ushiku High School who also signed as witness to the agreement, said they were impressed with USJ-R when they first visited the school in March this year.
“The campus is big, there’s a lot of facilities. We spoke to quite a few students and teachers and everyone was so friendly,” he said. “The staff were very enthusiastic about doing exchange program with Japan and we were too.”
Once they returned back to Japan, he said, they will iron out details like when will the first batch of Japanese students be sent to the Philippines and vice versa.
Mr. Endo lauded cultural exchange programs as they are a way to “enrich and strengthen the bonds between schools and nations.”
“There had been dark periods in the history of our countries,” Mr. Endo said, “and as I reflect on them, I believe that through cooperation, we can contribute to global peace.”
Fr. Maspara echoed Mr. Endo’s sentiments saying: “I am confident that this collaboration will be sustained by the shared passion of the collaborators in their mission to educate, equip and prepare the youth not only for their future but also for the future of our respective countries.”
Also present during the forging of alliance were Rev. Fr. Emilio Jaruda Jr., OAR (USJ-R Junior High School Principal who also signed as witness to the agreement), Mrs. Nera Puyo (Academic Coordinator of USJ-R SHS) and Mrs. Ana Lea Davide (prefect of discipline of the USJ-R SHS). PR
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