February 28, 2024

Unfolding Opportunities: UB Preps Students for Japan Cultural Exchange Program

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Engaging with other countries and learning about their culture is an immense privilege that the University of Baguio is delighted to be able to bring to its students. Whether it’s short-term academic exchange or long-term cultural exchange, there is something for everyone seeking to expand their horizons and learn about the world beyond the Philippines.

One of the programs that allows the university to send students abroad is a partnership program with Nagasaki Wesleyan University (Chinzei Gakuin) that endeavors to introduce the students to the rich culture of Japan. Through ten months of cross-border cultural exchange, university students are able to experience Japanese culture firsthand while also advancing their academic studies. Every year, two students are chosen to participate in the exchange program, representing not only the University of Baguio, but the Philippines as international exchange students who are also expected to share their own culture and experiences to the students of NWU.

In partnership with the Linkages Office, the university is proud to be preparing another batch of exchange students who will be flying to Isahaya, Nagasaki in Japan to participate in the exchange program. A general orientation was arranged to give them an overview of what to expect during their stay, providing a comprehensive rundown on how to get ready for the trip and how to adjust to life in Japan after their arrival.

Last year’s exchange program participant, Ms. Elize Rose Bautista, made an appearance during the orientation to give her testimonial on how her experiences with NWU and the cultural exchange program. The opportunity to study abroad and learn firsthand about a different culture had profoundly impacted not just her career, but also her day to day life.

Spending time in Japan has honed more than just her Japanese language and academic skills; her stay also honed her independence, teaching her a whole myriad of essential life skills that she continues to make use of in her everyday life.

“Interacting with people from different parts of the world is really interesting, because we all had something to share or bring to the table. Besides our academics, we also had classes wherein we learn the culture of Japan. We had classes in Ikebana, which is flower arranging, Calligraphy, and even Japanese Tea Ceremony. (…) 

The exchange program has honestly really impacted my life in such a good way and I even made lifelong friends because of it. Besides my studies and social life in Japan, I really had time to reflect and improve on myself.”

– Elize Rose Bautista, 2023 NWU Exchange Student

Mr. Melglenn James Lonogan, though not present during the orientation, also conveyed his sincerest appreciation for the opportunity to be able to study abroad. Like Ms. Bautista, he also learned a whole litany of life skills that extend far beyond the reach of the classroom. From education to daily life, Mr. Lonogan’s stay in Japan has expanded his worldview and life experiences, allowing him to grow and develop as an individual.

“(…) My journey as an exchange student has been a profound chapter in my life, marked by invaluable experiences, personal growth, and enduring connections. From navigating unfamiliar cultures to embracing diverse perspectives, every challenge and triumph has contributed to a richer understanding of the world and myself. (…)

This journey has not just been about studying abroad; it has been a journey of self-discovery, strength, and embracing the unknown. The exchange experience has not only expanded my academic horizons but has left a mark on my personal and cultural identity, shaping me into a more open-minded and globally conscious individual. Everything I acquired from this program would not be put to waste and will definitely be one of my most life-changing experiences.”

– Melglenn James Lonogan, 2023 NWU Exchange Student

Far beyond just a chance to go abroad, the cultural exchange program is a chance for students to be able to spread their wings and experience life from a different perspective. It is a chance to further their education and to make lifelong friends with other students not just from Japan, but from different parts of the world. As the students are exposed to different life experiences and lessons, they experience personal development that will remain with them throughout their lifetime.

The University of Baguio warmly congratulates this year’s chosen participants. May the journey ahead be filled with exciting new experiences and the chance to learn and grow as individuals.

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