March 15, 2023

A Perspective of a Foreign Dental Student Studying at the University Of Baguio

A perspective from Temitope Nabeelat Mudasiru, an SOD student and president of the UB International Student Association.
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I am a Dentistry student, but not just a dentistry student. I’m an international student from Nigeria, and with a Muslim origin. I moved to the Philippines in the year 2015, and being that I was away from my parents, things was entirely different because I felt home sick.

As an international student moving to a foreign land, things were not that smooth sailing at first because of the cultural differences and the language barrier. What made things a bit close to home was thanks to University of Baguio having an organization that caters to the international students enrolled.

I got to make my little family from the international students’ organization and school of dentistry. I made a lot of wonderful friends and even got to learn about the Philippines as a whole and came to understand everyone and their diverse cultures or costumes.

It was noted by many that the presence of international students brought diversity to universities and in doing so it helped internationalize the university experience for all students.

That’s part of the reason why I joined ISA, after 6 years of being a student officer that represents the international organization, I finally got the opportunity to lead. Leading is not easy but I hold on to thought that this is mainly for creating a ground for my fellow International students to feel at home the same way I felt, and to help  introduce the Filipino students to various cultures, different ways of thinking and operating.

On March 1 of year 2023, I had the opportunity to partake in the international student’s week, that was held at the University of Baguio’s gym. At the event, for the first time there was a Quranic prayer playing for the call of Muslim invocation. There was also a beautiful lion King song performance of the “circle of life “that was resonating in the Gym from the choir of UB voices. That created a huge sense of home for a lot of Muslims and other nationalities that were attending that day. We also had the opportunity to show case our national costumes on stage and introduce some common foods from our places. I learned a lot that day, starting from the different Cordilleran costumes and their beautiful dances. I got to witness Chinese calligraphy and the Thailand national giving thanks culture.

According to an article I read, studying abroad from respective home countries can be difficult. There is some sort of fear of meeting new acquaintances. Noticing there are different people with different beliefs, it can be seem as something new.

Hence, International students in the Universities think they feel isolated from the local students mainly because the two parties have different beliefs on many things. There is also culture shock between the local students and international students and sometimes it’s because of the nosebleed. Both local and international students experience a communication barrier and even fear. That’s why, majority student population in the university often spend their time with other people who are in the same country as they are, I was guilty of that at first.

I appreciate the fact that University of Baguio is trying to help the international with that and creating that fun learning environment for us all.

In conclusion, there are many tough challenges in life and being an international student is one of them. All it takes is a brave step forward and opening more space in our minds so we could let new things in.

Article by: Temitope Nabeelat Mudasiru, DMD-School of Dentistry President, UB International Student Association

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