On August 21, 2019, Prof. Karen S. Santiago, PhD, Associate Director of the Office of International Relations and Programs, presented UST’s Internationalization framework and strategies, on the occasion of the 27th Association of South and Southeast Asian Catholic Colleges and Universities (ASEACCU), held in Sogang University, South Korea.

For the students, the institution, the global community

Santiago underscored that internationalization activities redound to benefits for three main sectors: the students, the institution, and the global community.

With the intercultural fluency and soft skills development that students acquire comes a network of international contacts that can jumpstart a career in the international arena and true global citizenship. Such entry into the global workplace of equipped students can bring in the benefits of diversity to the workplace and society, which can become more open and inclusive. Ultimately, such openness to cultures and backgrounds, coupled with the mutual benefits people derive from one another, can redound to peace and order, which are an indirect but desired effect of people living together in harmony.

Talking about the benefit to the institution, Santiago noted that internationalization has aided in the goal of continuous quality improvement, for it, among other things, encouraged discussion and knowledge sharing, attracted talents to the University, created a positive impact on various accreditation efforts and even world rankings, as well as opened doors for scholarships, grants, and exchange opportunities through the enhanced networks the University was able to develop.

Filipino delegates to the 27th ASEACCU Conference

How UST does it

Santiago also enumerated UST’s five main internationalization programs, namely Student Mobility Programs, Faculty Diversity, Transnational Researches, Transnational Education, and Internationalization at Home.

For Student Mobility Programs, student exchanges, summer schools, leadership training, discovery tours / academic visits, and research attachments through internships, clinical rotation, and service learning are done.

Apart from sending its students abroad, UST also receives students for mobility programs, for English Language Courses; Tropical Biodiversity and Urban Environment Community Immersion / Internships; Participation in Joint Conferences; and exchange programs funded by the ASEAN International Mobility of Students (AIMS), European Union Support for Higher Education in the ASEAN Region (EU-SHARE) and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development (SEAMEO-RIHED). For the period of 2014-2017, South Korean students accounted for the largest cohort of inbound students, at 22%, with China coming in close at 21%.

Faculty diversity is seen through the slew of Visiting Lecturers and Professors (e.g., from the Linnaeus University – Sweden), Joint Thematic Conferences, Join Scientific Activities, and Joint Research Supervision (e.g., Bioanalytical Nanotechnology School – Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain).

Currently, Transnational Research has led to at least three global projects, namely the collaboration among Lille 1, CARRTEL, INRA (France); University of Shiga Prefecture (Japan) and National Taiwan University; and the University of Santo Tomas to extend the knowledge base on the effect of global changes, especially climate change, on freshwater plankton.

Currently, there are two researches funded by grants from the Newton Fund of the British Council, namely, the Eco-Social Surveying: Mapping Social Assets, Urban Greenery, and the Connections between Them in Rapidly Changing Cities (between the UST College of Architecture and the University of Reading School of Architecture); and the Affordable Near-Patient Tests for Infectious Diseases in the Philippines (between the UST College of Science and Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and the University of Cambridge).

For Transnational Education, five programs are currently running: 1) 3+2 BS Engineering; 2) 5+1 MS Engineering (both with the Catholic University of America); 3) 1+1 Dual MS Chemical Engineering, major in Metallurgical Engineering (with Curtin University – Australia); 4) Dual PhD in Built Environment / Architecture (with the University of Reading – United Kingdom); and the Master of Public Health (International) (with the University of Leeds, with which UST has an articulation agreement).

Finally, Internationalization At Home is how UST integrates “international, intercultural, or global dimensions in the teaching and learning that takes place in the campus,” done through learning a foreign language; interaction with international students through the Buddy System, tutorials, cultural activities, and joint activities, as well as integration of internationalization into the curriculum.

To provide better perspective, Santiago also enumerated UST’s early internationalization efforts, such as the pioneering of health science programs, namely the MS in Audiology (with Macquarie University); MS in Pain Management (with the University of Sydney); and MS in Physical Therapy (with the University of South Australia).