MenagerieInternationalization at DLSU: A work in progress
Internationalization at DLSU: A work in progress
September 25, 2011
September 25, 2011

contributed by Gossa Mengistu and Mark Curry

Our profile of international student life in this month’s edition of The LaSallian, as we head into Term 2, 2011, is an overview of DLSU’s global ties. The most impressive fact is that currently we have close to one thousand international students on campus as full time undergraduate and graduate enrollees. Also we are hosting 31 new exchange students from five different countries who will be with us until the end of the term.

A comprehensive history of De La Salle’s ties with the international academic community is available from the university’s website under “Linkages”. But two important facts stand out.

One is that the ground work was established and continued by some of the university’s renowned leaders, like Professor Aurelio Calderon and Bro. Andrew Gonzalez.

A second point, on the principle of mustard seeds and mustard trees, is that from small beginnings a real network of reciprocities is flourishing. Here are the basic facts:

•          International exchanges began at the faculty level in the 1970s through Waseda University in Japan.

•          Japanese government scholarships were first offered to Filipino students in the 1980s.

•          Between 1988 and 1996, agreements were set up with Korean, Chinese, American, Australian and Mexican academic institutions.

From that time to this, the trend is impressive:

Did you know that …

there are international students at DLSU from at least 43 countries?

more than 700 are undergraduate and 250 are graduate students?

every continent in the world is represented here?

twenty-two countries have only one person at DLSU?

the two countries with the largest number of students are South Korea and China?

But this is only half of the story. From our local perspective, we also have 25 Filipino Lasallians who have been in exchange programs abroad (2010-2011): nine in France, eight in Singapore, seven in Japan, and one in Thailand. And looking ahead to 2012, there are another projected 15 students embarking on study in exchange programs in France, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. And we are cheered as a community that our students can help to further the shared vision in such accommodating schools.

And how do our newest international exchange students feel about being here? We talked to Jason and Rachel who arrived from Australia at the end of August:

“The architecture is awe-inspiring. It’s like entering a new world when you come in off the street,” said Rachel. “And everyone has been so welcoming. They’ve gone out of their way to be helpful,” Jason added.

We wish everyone the best in their experience of De La Salle and the Philippines, and the hopes for better, broader and more productive ties in shared and equal measure. Inevitably, with the various beliefs, cultures, ideas and values that international students bring the entire teaching-learning process will be enriched within the classroom and across the growing and increasingly interconnected global Lasallian community.