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BUGS and BUIRO collaborate for British Council’s 45 years in the Philippines

The Dean of Bicol University Graduate School, Dr. Maria Jane B. Mascariñas, and the Coordinator for International Mobility and Support Services of the BU International Relations Office, Ms. Abigail Jo M. Abainza, attended the British Council’s 45 years in the Philippines “Partners’ Gathering and Inaugural of the Study UK Alumni Awards in the Philippines” on February 16, 2024. They have witnessed how far the organization has reached when it comes to its programs in Arts, Education, GOJUST, and English and Exams. Furthermore, Bicol University has been highlighted as one of the trailblazers and champions of Transnational Education. 

BU welcomes 8 new foreign students; 6 BUeños embark on international engagements

Aside from welcoming the first-year, transferees, and returning students for the new academic year, Bicol University, through the International Relations Office, also embraced the arrival of eight foreign students from around the world and prepared for the departure of six BUeños on their international programs. 

Sharing this news on his Facebook post, Dr. Dimson M. Rivero, Director of BUIRO and Dean of BU College of Business, Economics, and Management (CBEM), announced the arrival of three inbound foreign students: Vilfred Jensen from Denmark, Frauke Sauthoff from Germany, and Hugo Durand from Canada, who were all accepted as Grade 11 – HUMSS International Students in the BU College of Education Integrated Laboratory High School, as part of the American Field Service (AFS) Exchange Students Program. 

Meanwhile, in CBEM, two foreign students from VIVES University of Applied Sciences, Belgium, were welcomed. One of these two foreign students, Irene Ginette Vanslambrouck is currently enrolled in BS Economics, and the other, Hannah Elisabeth Vrijdags is with the BS Entrepreneurship program. This student exchange program was made possible through a General Bilateral Agreement on International Cooperation between BU and VIVES. 

In another IRO-related program under the Southeast Asia Student Teacher Program, the university warmly welcomed Resya Putri Ananda and Trisaqina Yuan Najwa from the University of Lampung, Indonesia, and Sasikan Phonkiertkhiri from Lampang Rajabhat University, Thailand. They are enrolled in programs under the College of Education. 

On the other hand, six BUeños were bound for two international programs. Winkie Bernaldez and Gerard Vincent Chavenia from the College of Arts and Letters both qualified for the Global Korea Scholarship (GKS) program at Dongseo University, South Korea, for four months. 

Cydie B. Bigtas and Divine E. Nunezare are bound for Indonesia, while Ivan N. Palencia is bound for Thailand in a one-month immersion under the Sea Teacher Project or the Pre-Service Student Teacher Exchange in Southeast Asia. | by Arnold C. Noda, MPS I – BUCPRO

Photos from Dimson Moral Rivero/Facebook




BUeños return after a successful international student exchange program in Korea & Taiwan

Three Bicol University students return, having completed two international student exchange programs for the Global Korea Scholarship at Dongseo University, South Korea, and the Youth Elite Exchange Program under the New Southbound Policy International Study Program at National Quemoy University, Taiwan.

Summer Jan Forrest Untalan, spent nearly four months in South Korea, and John Olan Gomez and Francheska Iubelle Perez, both had the opportunity to stay in Taiwan for five months. Upon their return to the Philippines, the three shared their experiences on the international student exchange programs in Korea and Taiwan. They shared stories of both their cultural and educational immersion, stating that the programs provided them with an opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures, as well as to build relationships with people from different backgrounds.

Because the international exchange program provided full scholarships and covered all expenses, the students were able to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience with minimal financial worries, except for personal financial needs. They gained a unique perspective of the world and were able to expand their worldviews by immersing themselves into foreign cultures firsthand.

In an interview with the International Relations Office Director, Dr. Dimson M. Rivero, Summer shared his story with excitement while recalling the experience he had as an exchange student at Dongseo University. He left the country on August 25 of last year and returned on December 23.

One of Summer’s classes was learning the Korean language. He said that he has been familiar with the Korean language since 2017. “Ever since, mahilig ako manuod ng K-dramas, K-films, and K-pop music.”

At the BU College of Arts and Letters, where he is currently taking AB Communication, they were also taught Korean as part of their foreign language studies.

As a film student, Summer had the opportunity to experience the Busan International Film Festival. “It’s inspiring to meet passionate international directors and renowned actors.” This experience fueled his desire to pursue filmmaking after he finishes his undergraduate degree.

He also enrolled in Dongseo University’s subjects on filmmaking, music, and animation.

Summer was the only undergraduate Filipino student who underwent the GKS program. He further explained that being an exchange student in Korea comes with beautiful scenery, rich culture, and vibrant cities. He said that  Korea is more than what the bare eye sees, and this left him with a lasting impression and priceless experience.

Meanwhile, Olan and Iubelle also shared their takeaways during their stay at the National Quemoy University. Olan is from the BU College of Science, taking BS Computer Science, while Iubelle is taking BS Business Administration at the BU College of Business, Economics, and Management. They left for Taiwan last year on September 21 and came back on January 9, 2023.

The pair learned new languages such as Mandarin, Bahasa India, and Vietnamese. Through their exchange program, they were exposed to unique cultures and had the chance to learn different languages from their co-exchange students in Taiwan.

They had the opportunity to visit popular tourist destinations in Taiwan, including war memorials, museums, temples, villages, and other ancient and sacred buildings. They also visited corporations and establishments, like the Kinmen Ceramic Factory, where they had the chance of painting statues of lion gods.

As part of the student exchange program, they participated in international events, programs, and lectures that focused on Taiwan’s history. They also experienced Kinmen’s outdoor traditions, such as camping, sports events, and shooting games.

The Taiwanese cuisine was also a memorable experience during the student exchange program. Olan admitted that he particularly liked the Stinky Tofu because of its unique smell and taste, “with the side dish,” he added.

In addition to all of these experiences, Iubelle emphasized that the most crucial thing is how they learned to manage their time and money responsibly.

“We got to experience how to become independent, especially in managing our time and finances,” she said.

Olan and Iubelle spent Christmas and New Year’s in Taiwan because the exchange program didn’t end until January. Since Taiwan does not celebrate Christmas, Iubelle shared that their co-exchange students arranged a small party for them.

The international exchange program was an extremely rewarding experience for Olan and Iubelle. When asked about their key takeaways, the pair both agreed that it was learning the Mandarin language and doing outdoor activities.

“Dito sa Taiwan, iba ang Mandarin learning language. Mas madali mong maiintindihan if immersed ka talaga sa Taiwan,” Olan said.

Olan also received an excellence award as the outstanding student in the international exchange student program in Taiwan, representing NQU. Aside from Iubelle, another Filipino student from Caraga State University was also with them in the program.

“I was humbled by the experience… ‘yung nakita ko sa Taiwan, I hope I can also bring it here in the Philippines,” Iubelle said as her takeaways. She is referring to the hospitality of Taiwanese people, their well-preserved culture and history, and their love for their language.

Summer, Olan, and Iubelle were all grateful for the opportunity to participate as the university’s international exchange students. Without the support of the BU officials, their respective deans, and the BU IRO, headed by Dr. Dimson M. Rivero, the students would have never had this opportunity in the first place.

“I hope this experience can inspire other students. Dapat makita ng mga students that we can also travel the world, not because we are rich, but because we (Filipinos) have talent, we are intelligent, and we have the capability… Now that we have the opportunity, we have to grab it,” Iubelle said.

Additionally, Olan and Iubelle will be able to use this international exchange program to transfer their academic credits from Taiwan to Bicol University under their internship programs.

Photos from Summer Untalan, and Fracheska Iubelle PerezFran

BU-NQU Language Exchange Project commences; 20 BUeños to learn Chinese Mandarin

Tuesday September 6,2022


To enhance the teaching-learning practices while fostering cross-cultural understanding and communicative competence, Bicol University (BU) and its international partner, National Quemoy University (NQU), virtually inaugurated an interactive online Language Exchange Project on September 5, 2022.

The program will run for 15 weeks, or 30 hours, and will provide BU and NQU students an opportunity to learn Chinese Mandarin, and English for 1.5 hours each week of instructor lecture and 30 minutes of partnered conversation.

Two students from each of the following colleges were chosen: College of Arts and Letters, College of Industrial Technology, College of Education, College of Business, Economics, and Management, Institute of Physical Education, Sports, and Recreation, Institute of Design and Architecture, College of Engineering, College of Nursing, College of Agriculture and Forestry, and College of Social Sciences and Philosophy.

Through the BU Language Center and NQU Chinese Language Center, 20 students from BU and 20 students from NQU will participate in the Language Exchange Project. Present in the virtual opening program were Dr. Dimson M. Rivero, Director of the BU International Relations Office; Dr. Yvonne Yu-Fang Yen, Director of the NQU International and Cross-Strait Office; BU President Dr. Arnulfo M. Mascariñas; NQU President Dr. Chien-Min Chen; Dr. Irene R. Moral, Director of BU Language Center; Dr. Yu-Min Hsu, Director of NQU Chinese Language Center; Dr. Leticia M. Lopez, Dean of CAL; Dr. Chen Yu-Jie, Vice Director of the NQU Chinese Language Center; Dr. Baby Boy Benjamin D. Nebres III, Dean of the Office of Student Affairs and Services; and Prof. Indira Tabo, CAL faculty and the master of ceremonies.

Since October 2021, NQU has been the university’s foreign partner under the General Bilateral Agreement on International Cooperation. This relationship bore fruit with two BUeños who will participate in the NQU Youth Elite Exchange Program under the New Southbound Policy International Study Program. These students were John Olan Gomez, a third-year student studying BS Computer Science in CS, and Francheska Iubelle Perez, a graduating student majoring in management while pursuing a BS in business administration in CBEM.

Related stories:

Safe Travels! 3 BUeños set for international student exchange program in Korea, Taiwan

Watch the livestream here:

Screenshots via Zoom