On the 19th of October 2019, Lyceum of the Philippines University – Cavite was once again visited by the Japanese students from the Nagoya College of Foreign Languages. The Cultural Exchange Program, which was held inside the university's auditorium and participated by 44 Japanese students and 44 Lyceans enrolled in various programs, aimed to develop mutual understanding between people of different cultures. One of the best features of a cultural exchange program is the chance to make new friends for a lifetime, both for the students and administrators. The said program, allowed all the students to not just build personal relationships, but also to learn about the involved cultures from a local perspective. Travelling to a new country with an unfamiliar culture, including the interaction between the students, provides a great experience, not just to our international visitors, but also to the Lyceans.
As the Japanese visitors arrived at the main gate, the Symphonic Band played a very enthusiastic performance to welcome the students from Nagoya College of Foreign Languages. The President of LPU Cavite Dance Company delivered her message on behalf of the Lyceans during the acceptance speech and of course, we also had a speech from two of our guests from Japan, Ms. Rebecca Mae Arcala and Ms. Yuna Kasahara on behalf of Nagoya College. We were given the opportunity to interact with the Japanese Students and as well as their superiors as the event happened. The design of the university's auditorium was on the theme of this year's Cultural Exchange Program which is Fiesta. There were colorful little flags hanging from the ceiling which we commonly call banderitas as well as flowers around the auditorium that symbolize the famous festival in the Philippines, the Panagbenga Festival. These were shown in order to make our visitors feel what it would be like to celebrate fiesta in the Philippines. During the other parts of the program, the Japanese students were able to have a campus tour which was assisted by the LPU students. The Lyceans were able to showcase the school facilities as they toured around the campus. They visited the ARC, the JPL Monument, the Beauty and Wellness Spa, and the Le Café. There were also presentations of the different dances from the Philippines, the presentation of what the locals wear during the fiestas and also, Filipino food was served to give the visitors the whole package of the warmth and taste of the Filipino culture. There was the star dish of every Filipino Celebration which was the lechon or pork roast, a Filipino food prepared mostly when Filipino celebrations occur and also ice cream, sorbetes, with flavors such as buko pandan, ube and cheese. The Filipinos were also given the chance to witness what it would be like if we visited Japan. The Japanese students prepared a dialogue showing the different places, food, dance, wardrobe and even their writing system. They gave us some of their delicacies and even gave us the chance to write Kanji characters. All the students were amazed at the energy and the ambiance of the whole event. Afterwards, certificates and gifts were given to the visitors and we had the chance to have lots and lots of photos with them. The event helped in developing self-confidence and a greater understanding of the complexities of the world around them - getting to know the locals, experiencing the culture, respecting differences and tolerating the beliefs of others.
As we experience different cultures through a cultural exchange program, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and of those around us, deepening our knowledge about foreign cultures and strengthening international relationships. The event truly showed that despite the diversity in this world that we live in, we can still be united through our culture and through the acceptance of our differences.
Patricia Mae Nicanor, 2nd year FS student
Mary Elizabeth G. Donguines, 2nd year FS student