“Everything we experienced is very eye-opening, and interactive with the local people who gave us a chance to broaden our perspectives,” said Saki Mutsuro, Japanese student who participated in a series of service-learning activities in Negros Oriental.
Saki, together with other students from different universities in the United States and Asia came to Silliman University (SU) to participate in service-learning activities headed by the Institute of Service Learning (ISL).
They immersed in rural and urban communities in Negros Oriental.
This year, all-female group of six from International Christian University in Tokyo, Jaoan arrived to participate in the said service-learning activities They visited orphanages including Bata ng Calabnugan in Sibulan, Little Children of the Philippines in Daro, Dumaguete City, and Casa Esperanza in Bantayan, where they interculturally shared and played with the children.
As part of the program, the service-learners prepared meals and donated school supplies to the children.
They also visited communities in the province including the mountainous parts of Boloc-boloc, Sibulan and the Scandinavian Village in Candau-ay, Dumaguete.
“We’re really glad that we were able to have many life-changing experiences,” Saki said.
“We’re still thankful for everyone who welcomed us warmly, because nothing would have been possible without them,” she added.
During one sharing session, a foreign student expressed her empathy towards some locals who are unable to spend for their education.
She said that most locals in the Scandinavian Village get their income by selling trash, driving pedicabs, and selling pigs, but the money they earn is still not enough to supply for their family’s needs.
“But Filipinos are satisfied by their living. Satisfaction must come from their strong bond in the village. The experience tells me that their income status does not necessarily influence their happiness,” she said.
The service-learning ran from June 29 to July 27.
Meanwhile, two students from SU are also doing service-learning activities in Japan under the Summer Service Learning Program of ICU. They are Joshua Pelido and Johanna Charice Concepcion both taking BS Nutrition and Dietetics.