THROUGH THE INITIATIVES of the Linkages and International Affairs Office (LIA) and the San Beda English and Literature Society (SBELS), San Beda University (SBU) hosted the students of Konan University last February 28, in an effort to bridge cultural gaps through language and literature with students who speak a different language. 

The exchange began with a conference on Intercultural Understanding, Sensitivity, and Communication, presented by Dr. Brent Allen Jones from Konan University. This was followed by a Focus Group Discussion, where 20 students from SBELS and Konan University participated in discussions regarding the Filipino and Japanese culture, hosted by the San Beda University’s LIA. 

SBELS and LIA had thrown open the doors of opportunity to all curious minds yearning to explore the depths of intercultural communication. In their pursuit of promoting cross-cultural awareness, they have requested students who were eager to learn, from all batches and programs, to partake in this enriching experience. 

According to SBELS President Jom Vicente, “the activity aimed to strengthen and develop connections with other universities while nurturing the linguistic and literary excellence of the department’s students.” 

Vicente recalled the Focus Group Discussion to be the highlight of the event. Chosen students from SBELS and Konan University conducted this discussion focusing on the current educational landscapes, communication, and promotion of cultural coordination and cooperation between the two countries.  

The discussion primarily tackled the points that were presented by Dr. Jones, guiding the students to understand what it is like to get accustomed to foreign languages and be one with the culture of universities outside of the Philippines. This led to the discussion of intercultural understanding, sensitivity, and communication across the two nationalities. 

The exchange also enabled the exchange students to adapt to the culture of San Beda University through different activities, including language learning, lifestyle adjustment, and multicultural discussions. The students from both universities were able to build a sense of bond and amusement as they shared each other’s thoughts and experiences.  

Vicente assessed the event to be a success in achieving its goal of promoting intercultural understanding and sensitivity among the attendees, as the willingness to learn and understand each other was the driving force for this exchange to be successful.  

Vicente hopes there will be more collaborations between SBELS and LIA in the future, perhaps sending some of their students to be delegates as well. Overall, the event served as a shining example of the power of language to break down barriers and bring people together.  

(with Rizian Veniz Balleta)

Photo courtesy of SBELS