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SU hosts Japanese service-learners with ‘student buddies’

Sillimanians participated in Ferris University’s Global and Intercultural Studies Program by being a “Silliman Buddy” or a guide to the 12 service-learners hosted by the Institute of Service Learning of Silliman University.

Global and Intercultural Studies Program is a program of Ferris University in Yokohama, Japan where students from Ferris University visit different countries and study different cultures.

Sillimanians can participate by becoming a “Silliman Buddy” who serves as a translator and cultural guide to international students.

According to Asst. Prof. Deborah Mae Salem, director of the Institute of Service Learning, the program is the longest running international engagement of the Institute of Service Learning.

“The Global and Intercultural Studies Program has been going on for a long time. Even before the Service Learning Center, Ferris University has already been partnering [with the university]. It started more than 10 years ago,” Salem said.

The Institute of Service Learning has a certificate program in Service Learning. Students who are interested to become a buddy are also trained.

The students also did a lot of interviewing since they were trying to come up with a paper about what they want to study under the program.

“They also interviewed a lot of teachers and administrators in Silliman and around the city since they were trying to come up with a paper about their study,” Salem said.

Salem also said that programs, such as the Global and Intercultural Studies Program, develop closer ties between Silliman and other universities.

However, Silliman is not yet able to send students there the same way Ferris University does because it is “difficult and expensive,” but they are hoping that there will be a possibility someday.

By Jann Viansee O. Cardenas

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