ISUFST welcomes 6 exchange students after month-long cultural experience in Thailand

The Iloilo State University of Fisheries Science and Technology (ISUFST) joyfully welcomed back six exchange students who have just concluded a month-long academic and cultural immersion program at Phranakhon Rajabhat University (PRNU) in Bangkok, Thailand. The senior education students arrived at the Iloilo International Airport at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, March 13, marking the end of their enriching journey.

The returning students, hailing from the College of Education (COE) at both the Main-Poblacion and Dumangas campuses, are Christine Marie De Asis, Julliane Eunice Casco, Jessa Duller, Jehn Princess Gamarcha, Chinee Baisa, and Jean Bela-ong. Notably, Student Exchange Danvic Deoric of Main-Tiwi COE returned home earlier after two weeks to attend a major family event. Upon their arrival, the group enjoyed a breakfast at their favorite Filipino fast-food chain, a taste of home they had missed during their month in Bangkok. Afterwards, they were transported back to their respective campuses by the school van.

This international exchange program, unanimously acclaimed by our trailblazing pre-service teachers as a valuable and enriching educational and career investment, exemplifies ISUFST’s dedication to boosting global competitiveness and nurturing intercultural awareness among its students. The collaboration with PRNU provided the students with a platform to engage in academic excellence and cultural exchange, embodying the vision of ISUFST’s President, Dr. Nordy Siason, Jr., towards internationalization.

Prior to their departure in January, the students, along with their parents and guardians, attended a Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS). This convo provided them with essential travel tips, cultural insights, and academic guidance to prepare them for their journey. They flew to Thailand on February 13, accompanied by Dean Sunny Gabinete and Prof. Rex Paulino, who also had their work immersion and presented their research at PRNU with the Thai audience.

The program offered the students opportunities to participate in the 14th International Conference at PRNU, engage in collaborative learning, and immerse themselves in Thai culture. This experience expanded their academic knowledge, fostered global perspectives, and enhanced their cultural understanding and interpersonal skills.

To further enrich their newly acquired learning experiences, the six will soon participate in a focused group discussion and debriefing session to be organized by the Office of International Affairs and Linkages. This aims to deepen their understanding and reflection on the insights gained during their exchange.

ISUFST’s initiative, a first of its kind in Region VI post-pandemic, not only signifies a milestone in the university’s efforts towards internationalization but also highlights the importance of cultural and academic exchanges in today’s global education landscape. The university anticipates that the experiences and learnings gained by these students will enrich the ISUFST community and inspire further international collaborations. (Herman M. Lagon)