Fourth-year students from Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi’s Faculty of Liberal Arts and Faculty of Business Administration have recently been awarded scholarships to study at De La Salle University Das Marinas (DLSU-D), The Philippines.
The scholarships are part of Thailand’s Office of Higher Education Commission’s (OHEC) student exchange program which aims to promote academic collaboration among the ASEAN countries. Recipients will have an opportunity to gain their experiences abroad as well as transferring their academic credits back to original academic institutions.
Athitaya Janejobkhet, one of the four recipients who is majoring in English for International Communication, said that she was attracted to the program because it offered her a chance to develop her English skills, learn the local language or tagalog, and embark on an 80-hour internship experience at a marketing office. “The students in this university are two years younger than me because the high schools in the Philippines finish at Grade 10,” she said.
Chalita Sukprasong, fourth-year student majoring in English for International Communications, said that English is her favorite subject and she was looking forward to learning a new culture as well as sharing part of her own culture. “I heard that in Filipino culture, people serve food in banana leaves and eat with their fingers; this is called ‘buddle fight’ and it is believed to be a way that helps people stay connected with nature. I also looked forward to visiting Taal volcano and observing the local culture,” she said.
Pimchanok Binkoree, majoring in English for International Communications, said that she was impressed with the university’s beautiful natural landscape and the warm welcome from the professors, who arranged a basic tagalog language course for us. “We could then use tagalog for basic communication. There were also students from Japan, South Korea, and Nigeria. Every weekend and holiday, the student ambassadors would organize activities to welcome international students. I didn’t really have to adjust to the lifestyle there because the climate is similar to Thailand’s. During holidays and weekends, the Filipinos would travel; they like to travel. It was a very good experience for me to live abroad for the first time,” she said.
Rattapol Paikayaad, an International Business Administration major, said that students at DLSU-D were not allowed to use plastic bags. Most students used cloth bags, and the 7-Eleven stores used paper bags. “I chose to go to The Philippines because the official language was English and Tagalog, and the people were similar to Thai people, whether their appearance, height, skin color, and lifestyles. Living abroad is a valuable life experience, particular negative experiences which encouraged self-reflection and evaluation. Most importantly, this experience helped me to build a network of friends; this will be very helpful after the realization of the ASEAN community,” he said.