Posted by: mensab | March 11, 2008

My Kind of Communities

UPeace 2008        There are questions that remind me of a community. Those are the type of questions that invoke a certain feeling of nostalgia, significance of nourishment, and sense of belongingness. Let me begin by welcoming you to my kind of communities.

My Locale as a Community 

        Every time I am asked, where do I come from? I am reminded of my small community in Milaor, Camarines Sur in Bicol, Philippines. In that community where I was born and raised, I find myself part of its harmony, energy and character. My attachment to that community is not merely based on locale and territory. A fundamental association is built in the years that I live there, in the names of people that I know there, in the streets and corners that I cross and turn, and in the stories that I share with the locals. It is personally and intimately connected with me. Thus wherever I go, I bring a part of my locale.

  UPeace and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) as a Community 

          Another question which reminds me of a community is, where do you study? I am taking up a graduate degree at the University for Peace (UPeace) in Costa Rica and ADMU in Manila. At UPeace and ADMU, I spend most of my conscious time. It is where I encounter and socialize with my peers, the staff and faculty. Graduate university life is not simply an extension of college life. Neither is it only about mastering a field of study, investing more time in reading and writing essays in graduate level, or meeting a deadline after deadlines of submission of requirements. It is, to my mind, a cultivation of learning environment within every student’s sphere of experience even outside the university life. It hosts a particular space and time for the advancement and nourishment of my intellectual, social, and ethical potentials and choices in life. It also prepares me to be a colleague of my esteemed professors who engage me in academic discussions. These instructive exchanges of views and ideas and other educational activities in which I participate provide me an opportunity for a meaningful professional growth and pursuit of passions.


The Dual-Campus Program as a Community 

         What course are you taking at UPeace? This question causes me to realize the uniqueness of my program. Aside from being dual-campus, my program creates a distinctive identification of those taking the course. The program is designed for Asian students who journey together for 19 months in the bustling Manila and lush-green Costa Rica campuses. Our common experiences and stories weave a strong and profound bond among Asian students. Our struggles with formal English language inside the classrooms and colloquial Spanish in Ciudad Colon and San Jose make us reach out to those who understand and accept our struggles. The delight of our own cultures seeks to contextualize our differences in the light and spirit of “unity in diversity.” The multicultural setting of both campuses facilitates the practice of cultural relativism which enables us to appreciate the beauty of our differences and similarities.

Thank you.


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