AFS exchange students immerse with USL community

The University of Saint Louis welcomed and hosted students from Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Japan for their mid-stay orientation held on November 24-26, 2022.

As part of the Student Learning Journey of the participants under the AFS Intercultural program, the eight foreign students who are currently conducting their exchange studies in Laoag City and Nueva Vizcaya immersed themselves in the Louisian community and toured around Tuguegarao City.

The three-day event gave the students an opportunity to develop their intercultural effectiveness, reflect on their journey, and understand the culture of the Philippines.

A short cultural exchange program in which both foreign and Louisian students engaged in a cultural immersion through cultural presentations, recreational games, and conversational talk exchanges highlighted their stay on the USL campus.

At the end of the intercultural program, Rei Otsuki from Japan and Mike Kluck from Germany shared their thoughts on their immersion experience with the Louisian students.

“I enjoyed this day. Of course, I was a little bit nervous because I didn’t know most of them. But all of them are really kind and funny. They made me happy. So, this day was a really good day,” remarked Rei Otsuki.

Mike Kluck remarked that his experience with USL students was exciting and energizing. “Filipinos can dance very well… It was one of the highlights of my Philippine exchange experience,” he happily shared.

James Benedict Tan, a USL Grade 11 student, also shared his thoughts. “It was a great experience. A very diverse experience. And this encourages me to become an exchange student as well, though I know it will be extra challenging. Evidently, I enjoyed learning intercultural skills from this activity.”

AFS Philippines is currently hosting 47 participants placed in various communities across the Philippines. Eight students placed at Saint Mary’s University and Northwestern University are now in the fourth month of their exchange studies in the country.

The AFS students are Lone Anna Sauder, Mike Kluck, and Johanna Kueuper from Germany; Rei Otsuki and Yoshino Yosui from Japan; Cantini Aurora and Attilio Tennis Iapichino from Italy; and Irma de Broe from Belgium.

Ms. Dana Louise Bautista, AFS Coordinator, led the event together with Mr. Samuel Damayon, Dean of SMU’s Student Affairs and Services, and Prof. Agustina Dancel-Matias, Acting Dean of NWU’s Office of the Student Affairs.

Rev. Fr. Renillo H. Sta Ana, University President; Dr. Emmanuel James P. Pattaguan, Vice President for Academics; Dr. Rina M. Reyes, Vice President for Administration; and Mr. Kyle S. Espiritu, Director of University Communications and Multimedia Productions and the coordinator for this activity, welcomed and gave encouraging messages to the students.

The AFS Intercultural Program is a leading study abroad program for secondary school students that provides intercultural learning opportunities, helping them gain skills to succeed in a global economy and make a positive difference in the world.

In conjunction, the event also denotes the university’s continuing thrust towards internationalization.