A two-month language training program was organized by the UST Graduate School from March 9, 2021 to April 28, 2021. The first batch of participants comprised of more than 100 foreign missionaries from Austria, Bolivia, Burkina-Faso, Brazil, Chile, China, El Salvador, Germany, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Poland, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste, Togo, USA, and Vietnam.
The UST Graduate School Internationalization Unit worked in partnership with the Dominican Province of the Philippines, Inc. and the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines for this two-month-long language program.
The program was launched on March 6, 2021, via Zoom. The kickoff event coincided with the celebration of the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines.
UST Graduate School Assistant Dean Prof. Camilla J. Vizconde, Ph.D., delivered her talk titled “One Mission, One Vision: Bridging Understanding through Common Languages.” She emphasized that language and culture are heavily intertwined.
“Language sets a path and connects with people all around the world,” Vizconde said. She added that language connects the world, and though not everyone speaks the same tongue, it has the power to break barriers and bring different groups of ethnicities together through platforms such as foreign language learning.
The panel of reactors provided insights on the language immersion programs which are designed to develop the language proficiency in English and Filipino of the foreign missionaries. This is a requirement for them to become effective communicators, particularly in multilingual contexts, to effectively carry out their mission in spreading the word of God.
The members of the panel were: UST Senior High School Principal Asst. Prof. Mary Erika Bolanos, Ph.D., UST Language Center Director Asst. Prof. Honorata Dayao, Dominican Laity of the Philippines Vice President for Finance and Property Custody Dr. Cecilia Chan, O.P., and Philippine Mission, Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Sister-In-Charge Sr. Rosy Karippai, O.P.
The final presentation was an overview of the Language Immersion Programs and the introduction of the Volunteer Language Trainers, delivered by Asst. Prof. Gina Lontoc, Ph.D., the Coordinator for the International Relations of the UST Graduate School and GS faculty member. The closing remarks delivered by Graduate School Dean Prof. Michael Anthony Vasco, Ph.D., concluded the virtual kick-off event.