To commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United States (US) and the Philippines (PH) exchanges, Cebu Normal University (CNU) hosted the U.S.-PH Exchanges Roadshow at the Tandang Sora Hall yesterday, May 19, 2023.
The External Affairs and International Linkages (EAIL) headed by Director Dr. Naila Beltran and the CNU – Tourism Society (TourS), in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines and the U.S. Department of State, spearheaded the event to witness the promotion and strengthening of the U.S. Government exchange programs and opportunities.
In her opening speech, Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) Dr. Gwendelina Villarante described the beauty of the U.S.-PH relationship and the exchanges that brought possibilities for both countries.
“We will witness the exchange of ideas, the blending of culture, and the forging of life-long connections as participants engage in academic programs, professional internship[s], cultural exchanges, and entrepreneurial ventures. They will not only enrich their own lives but contribute to the development and progress of both our nations,” she said.
Moreover, the Deputy Cultural Attaché of the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines Pauline Anderson proudly pointed out the 350 exchanges happening every year and highlighted the US’ high investment in the Philippines’ education.
“We are schooled that there are three pillars of our relationship…I go to bed and I think three pillars…those are friends, partners, and allies,” Anderson added.
In an interview with Ang Suga, Math Circle Mayor Hon. Niño Rey L. Armas expressed his joy in joining the event and shared that it was “beneficial” on his part.
Public Engagement Specialist of the U.S. Embassy of the Philippines Helen Vallejos directed the discussion on the plethora of programs and exchange opportunities and underlined the specifications of each program, such as the age requirement and application process.
Vallejos accentuated the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) as the U.S. Government’s most featured program in liaison and leadership training in Southeast Asia and the Fulbright program that offers scholarships.
“Don’t be intimidated by the idea of trying to apply, don’t be afraid of rejections. The first step is for you to just start applying [and] unless you start doing that, you won’t really get a hang of how to do your applications,” Vallejos reminded.
Meanwhile, YSEALI Professional Fellowship Alumna Atty. Aliko Garganera; Fulbright CHED Alumnus Arch. Neil Andrew Menjares; and Fulbright CHED Alumnus Mr. Adrian Perez Del Monte graced the event as speakers in the panel discussions and narrated their struggles in applying and their life abroad.
“Be truthful sa imohang narrative…for example, these are your goals in life, make sure na they are truthful and pwede siya mabuhat ba, dili nga you are aiming for the biggest stars. Maybe start from simple na mga pangandoy nga achievable,” Del Monte said.
Meanwhile, YSEALI Alumni and Tourism Faculty Member Ms. Clareziel D. Ladringan conveyed how important the event was for students to experience the opportunity to live abroad fully funded by the government.
“I can say that no amount of heartbreak can equate to the gains you will gain once you join the fellowship. I can say it’s a life-changing experience for me to be able to go to these programs,” she shared. §
Words by Aldwin Villacrucis
Photos by Angeline Cediño
Photos by Angeline Cediño