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UPD fetes international students

(Center) ChancellorCaesar A. Saloma with the (front row from left) UPD officials, namely, OEC director Dr. Cristine DLR. Villagonzalo, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Prof. Ma. Corazon J. Tan, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Ronald S. Banzon and OSA coordinator Prof. Rommel B. Rodriguez; and the international students at the Balay Kalinaw.

(December 10)—Chancellor Caesar A. Saloma hosted a reception for 248 international students enrolled at UPD on December 6 at the Balay Kalinaw.

The program Kumustahan 2012: Chancellor’s Reception for UPD International Students was organized Office of Student Activities (OSA) with support from the Office of the Chancellor. This is in cooperation with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA), Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (OVCSA), Office of Extension Coordination (OEC) and the International Center (IC).

In his opening remarks, Saloma thanked the international students “for deciding to come to the Philippines and to study in UP Diliman.”

He, however, added “We have a total of 53, 000 students in the entire UP System. About 25,000 of them are studying here in the UP Diliman campus. Only one percent of this 25, 000 students are international students. This is a very low ratio...We see the need to “regroup” our level of internationalization in this campus.”

Furthermore, he said “There are challenges we are facing, one, is to increase the number of students on campus. To be able to do that, we need to invest in certain key areas, for example, we need to invest in a better dormitory particularly for the international students. Second, we have to increase the number of slots that this campus could afford to support for study.”

The Chancellor’s reception is an annual social event for international students which is part of OSA’s mandate to attend to the needs and concerns of international students enrolled in UPD through its International Students Program (ISP).  It went on a hiatus in 2007 until it was reinstated this year under the term of Chancellor Saloma.

According to Alma Tirona, dorm manager of the International Center and Kalayaan Residence Hall, the reception “is a good chance for international students to meet with officials of the administration in an informal gathering.”

The students who attended came from 21 countries, namely, Austria, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, USA and Vietnam.

Also present were Prof. Antoinette B. Hernandez, assistant vice president for academic affairs; Dr. Ronald S. Banzon, vice chancellor for academic affairs; Prof. Ma. Corazon J. Tan, vice chancellor for student affairs; Dr. Cristine DLR. Villagonzalo, OEC director; and Prof. Rommel B. Rodriguez, OSA coordinator.

Cultural performances were provided by Kontra-GaPi (Kontemporaryong Gamelan Pilipino), Music Circle, Inkantada and Chung Young Il, a Korean electrical engineering student from the College of Engineering. The event was emceed by Laurie Lioanag, a member of the student organization International Club of UP. —H.C.P.