Education can be Fun

Published on May 16, 2012

On February 26, 2012 fifty students from the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Hotel and Restaurant Management and Tourism and College of Teacher Education set out for an International Educational Trip to Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China together with Mrs. Jieza Napone, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Mr. Nick Alfred Umadhay, Program Chair, Tourism Department and Sr. Ma. Luisa Marcelino, SPC, Vice President for Finance. The International Educational Trip was a part of the requirements of the students involved.

The trip was especially a part of the educational immersion of the AB English and Theater Arts this link and Psychology students taking up Cross Cultural Communication, BS HRM students taking up Tourism Planning and Development, and BS Tourism students taking up World Tourism, Geography, and Culture.

After the International Education trip, the students were expected to (1) acquire a personal and theoretical understanding of themselves in terms of cultural origin, individual values, ideologies, habits and idiosyncrasies; (2) explore their perception of the world, how Filipinos are perceived by other nationalities and how this affects intercultural and international communication; (3) obtain a skill in the identification of differences in communication patterns, including those affected by affiliations such as gender, race, class, age, religion, ethnicity, physical and psychological relations; and, (4) examine how obstacles to intercultural and international communication can be overcome in the context of human relationships, face to face communication and diplomatic relations.

A talk on Cross Cultural Differences was held in the Century Plaza Hotel, Shenzhen where Prof. Charlie Yuan, a Chinese professor teaching English language and Chinese history, was able to clarify prevalent unfounded notions regarding Chinese beliefs and culture among the Filipino Paulinian students and faculty members present. The volley of questions and answers presented revelations that were both instructive and interesting.

The students were also given a chance to engage with the Chinese people; so, they were brought to various places in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China to interact with the locals. This was a chance for them to practice the pointers they have learned in the classroom on cross cultural communication. Most of them had a hard time communicating because of the language barrier yet were able to find creative means to get their messages across. Some students were also amused that most Hong Kong locals know a Tagalog word or two.

Indeed, education can be fun. The students were able to watch the Hong Kong Disneyland production of The Lion King. This made them evaluate the musical production based on the various aspects of a theatrical production: believability of performance, direction, music and lights, costume, props and make up, blocking and choreography, and spectacle. What prides them most in experiencing this international multisensory extravaganza was seeing Filipino stage performers’ contribution in an international production.

Passé as it is, the quotation “Experience is the best teacher” rings true in this co-curricular undertaking of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and HRM and Tourism. Students may learn theories and examples of tourism concepts inside the classroom but to directly and personally experience tourism at its finest can never be replicated by mere classroom simulation; to watch movies about various cultures, intercultural differences and problems or read them from books can inspire a student to think of possible solutions yet these solutions need to be applied for the students to know that they can be done.

It was fulfilling to see happy Paulinian faces who have successfully gotten their message across to a Chinese waiter, vendor, coach driver, or a bystander who do not speak English at all. So on March 1, 2012, all students and faculty members went home to the warmth of the City of Iloilo knowing that they all have been given an avenue to gauge their intercultural and international communication skills in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China.