by Micah Althea Gemeniano | News Writer
Silliman University (SU) welcomed Belgian AFS Intercultural Programs Philippines (AFS IPP) exchange student Aurore Magnan, through a small program last July 22.
AFS IPP is the Philippine partner of AFS Intercultural Programs, an international volunteer-based, non-profit, non-government organization that provides intercultural-learning opportunities.
Magnan, a fresh, high school graduate, is a participant of the AFS sending program which helps students go on a cultural immersion and learning programs abroad. She will be taking this program for 10 months in the country.
The 18-year-old’s host family is Atty. Richard R. Enojo and Mrs. Alphita Enojo. Mrs. Enojo a Chemistry professor in the university.
“As far as [I know], we [already] had AFS participants before, but she is the first one since SU AFS School Club was opened/registered,” SU AFS President Achilles Isidore noted.
Isidore said they started the meeting on this exchange program back in February this year.
“The people here are warm and really friendly, it’s not cliché,” said Magnan when asked what she thinks of Filipinos, so far. “In our country, we are more distant and frigid,” she added.
She also said it is her first time here and that she always wanted to live in a hot country because it’s cold in Belgium.
It was Magnan’s choice to take this opportunity and her parents were supportive and happy for her.
“[Living] without my family [for] 10 months is very difficult because I will miss them. But discovering a new way of living enchants me. And I [am] also happy to have the opportunity to improve my English,” she said.
She referred to Silliman as nothing like she had imagined, and that reality was so much better. “Silliman campus is so big! I was lost the first days. And I also love the architecture and the ancient batiments of the University. The people also [were] very friendly so it was like in a dream.”
Because she lives in Southern Belgium, Magnan speaks French; when asked about how she describes her over-all stay in Silliman so far, she said: “Une experience de malade, foncez y sans reflechir! (A crazy experience, go ahead without thinking!)