Forty Filipino scholars leaving for the U.S. under nine Fulbright programs attended a two-day Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) at the Philippine-American Educational Foundation (PAEF) office in Makati City, followed by a reception at the U.S. Embassy in Pasay City. The orientation, which took place from June 7-8, covered matters that would facilitate their transition to American academic and cultural life.
Carolyn Glassman, Chairperson of the PAEF Board and Public Affairs Counselor at the American Embassy in the Philippines officially welcomed the scholars to the 2018 PDO during Day One.
Recently-returned Atty. Ryan Balisacan (LL.M., Harvard University, F ’17) was one of the invited alumni who addressed concerns about social and cultural adjustments. He was followed by Dr. Chat Delos Reyes, a two-time Fulbrighter who attended George Washington University in 2011 and then pursued a research project at the University of Maryland in 2017. Ms. Shira Olivares then shared her own adjustment experiences as a Global UGRAD participant at the University of Incarnate World in San Antonio, Texas.
In terms of American academic life, Dr. Aries Arugay (Georgia State University, F ’08) shared his nine tips in surviving graduate school in the United States. While Ms. Margaux Florenciano spoke about her semester-long stay as an undergraduate exchange student at the University of Arkansas, where Senator J. William Fulbright himself graduated from.
Fulbright alumna Dr. Ani Almario gave the inspirational message to our scholars this year. Aside from the adjustments at the university, she emphasized on the importance of returning home to the Philippines after their programs. She said, “And so here’s the great irony that I also want to talk to you about: being away from home will make you want home more. And I love this irony because it will mean that all you brilliant minds will come home with your Master’s or PhD degrees, with all your new ideas on how to help our country. There will always be better offers and brighter future elsewhere, but there will always be a greater need, a deeper meaning, and a larger sense of fulfillment back here.”
The second day of the orientation focused more on the terms and conditions of their individual grants, and their working relationship with the Institute of International Education, Council for International Exchange of Scholars, and World Learning. Representatives from the Non-Immigrant Visa Section at the U.S. Embassy and the Commission on Filipino Overseas also oriented the scholars about J-1 visas and their preparation for settlement overseas.
A Fulbright Reception at the Charles Parsons Ballroom of the U.S. Embassy Manila was also hosted by Deputy Chief of Mission Michael S. Klecheski, on behalf of Ambassador Sung Kim (PAEF Board Honorary Chairperson and US Ambassador to the Philippines). The outgoing scholars was introduced and met other International Exchange alumni.
The Fulbright Philippines is the oldest and longest running Fulbright program in the world. Almost seventy years of teaching and research had been conducted by Filipino and American teachers and students through this educational exchange.