7 Japanese service-learners present theses

Seven Japanese students under the Global and Inter-cultural Studies program of Ferris University and International Service-Learning (ISL) of Silliman University (SU) presented their thesis during their culmination activity last Sept. 12 at Silliman Hall.

The Japanese students stayed in the Philippines, particularly in Bacolod and Dumaguete City, for two weeks. They spent one week in both cities.

During the immersion in both cities, the Japanese students were divided into groups and assigned to look into issues like malnutrition, children’s health, child labor, air pollution, water pollution, K-12 curriculum, children’s right, and sex work.

Asst. Prof. Deborah Mae Salem, faculty of ISL, said that Japanese students come here to look into the possibility of making their thesis.

In their respective papers, the Japanese students tackled the various issues in the Philippines.

Misa Kayunagi, one of the service-learners, found out that there are many social problems in the Philippines that have to be addressed. One of which is prostitution.

“Poverty makes people engage into prostitution. People must do something,” Kayunagi said.

On the other hand, Haruka Isono and Yuri Kato presented their paper on the violence of geothermal energy by the Energy Development Company located at the Pahugan, Negros Oriental.

Based on their findings, the company has caused some violence on residents, animals, and plants.

On their synopsis, Isono and Kato stated that the harm is not causing great harm to the residents, but to the animals.

“We found out the animals of the residents are the ones who are greatly affected, thus destroying their organs. We will also have a thorough research on the possible effects of geothermal energy on plants,” Isono and Kato said in their paper.

The other service-learners, Hiroko Naya and Mayu Asakuru, presented the life and the business of the local people.

In their conclusion, Naya and Asakuru said that the Filipinos “need to research for a new web of business in the Philippines” and that “Filipinos should buy their own product.”

On the other hand, Misaki Yonamaru and Key Rubia conducted a comparative study on the result of K-12 between public and private schools in Dumaguete City. They interviewed some teachers in Camanjac Elementary School and Silliman University School of Basic Education.

Theresa Agatha Gulte, a senior social work student, said that the Japanese students were accompanied by Silliman students who are enrolled in the 18-unit certificate course of ISL in SU.

“These students are called Silliman buddies composed of five psychology and one social work students. They act as cultural guide, interpreters, and co-learners of Japanese students,” Gulte said.

Salem stressed that service learning is a method of teaching that makes students explore the world outside the classroom.

“They are made to go outside and test the theories that they learned. This is where students interact with local issues and communities, and appreciate the concepts of society,” Salem said.

This SU program with Ferris University has been running for 15 years.

By Leslie J. Batallones

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