Nineteen SEARCA scholars completed their Basic English Training on August 9, 2021. The three-week program, which started on July 19, was offered to scholars virtually due to pandemic restrictions. The training aims to enhance the scholars’ language proficiency in preparation for their studies and encourage them to be more comfortable with the English language.
Dr. Maria Cristeta N. Cuaresma, Program Head of the Education and Collective Learning Department (ECLD), congratulated the scholars for finishing their classes during the closing program on August 13, 2021. Dr. Cuaresma highlighted that despite the pandemic restrictions and the virtual conduct of the training, distance did not become a hindrance to establishing relationships among the scholars. SEARCA looks forward to the scholars’ active participation in their classes as they have acquired new communication skills, confidence, and friends through the training.
The tutors for the training came from the Language Instruction Towards Excellence (LITE) program of the College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). The three tutors gave their messages to the scholars during the closing program that was also attended by Dr. Maribel L. Dionisio-Sese, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and LITE program Manager. Asst. Prof. Jerard Ancel D. Eusebio, tutor for the Reading, Conversations, and Vocabulary Enrichment congratulated the scholars for finishing the training despite the changing conditions brought by the pandemic. Dr. Mabini DG. Dizon, tutor for the Basic Grammar and Writing Module, reminded them that if they wish to be better at communicating, they need to practice regularly. Finally, Asst. Prof. Elizabeth Segura-Krueger, the tutor for the Pronunciation Improvement and Presentation Skills, gave the scholars some parting tips that would help them communicate effectively in English.
Two scholars received Special awards during the closing program. Mr. Hagi Sujateruna received the Best in Reading, Conversations, and Vocabulary Enrichment award and the Best in Basic English Grammar and Writing; while Mr. Akhmad Zamroni received the highest overall score and was awarded Class Valedictorian and Best in Pronunciation Improvement and Oral Presentation Skills. Hagi is enrolled at Kasetsart University, studying MS in Tropical Agriculture, while Akhmad will pursue PhD in Environmental Science at UPLB. Both Hagi and Akhmad are Indonesians and are recipients of the DAAD-SEARCA Scholarship.
During the scholar testimonials, Akhmad compared the training to an oasis in a desert as it appeared when he needed it the most. He was able to explore the beauty of idioms such as “feeling under the weather” and “once in a blue moon”. For his 19 classmates, he would like to say, “take it easy”. The training also showed Akhmad how to become an effective lecturer by observing his professors. He learned how to interact with the students, prepare for the class, and make the lessons alive and vibrant. Akhmad is a Lecturer at the Department of Geological Engineering, Institut Teknologi Nasional in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Hagi expressed his gratitude to the professors and recounted how time flew so fast as the whole class had fun with the group assignments and interactive lessons. He hopes that they can maintain the bond created during the training. Hagi also promised that he will do his best in his studies as not everyone can become a SEARCA scholar. Hagi is Program Coordinator at the Directorate of International Program, IPB University.
In addition to Hagi and Akhmad’s messages, Yusril Hardiansyah from Indonesia also recounted his experiences. He said that the training added to his knowledge and skills in communicating in English, which would help him in his graduate studies. Yusril also thanked his professors and classmates for the memories and the lessons. He hopes that he will see his classmates again in the future. Yusril is an incoming student of the Master Program in Global Agriculture Technology and Genomic Science under the NTU-SEARCA Joint Scholarship.
The training was also attended by the following new, ongoing, and returning scholars: Phong Ngoc Hai Trieu (Vietnam), Phouthasone Khouangvichit (Lao PDR), Cheav Chhuon (Cambodia), Kroesna Mon (Cambodia), Bunnet Nha (Cambodia), Arunee Suwanngam (Thailand), Imas Masithoh Devangsari (Indonesia), Bounyore Koulavong (Lao PDR), Hendra (Indonesia), Thaw Tar Tin Shwe Oo (Myanmar), Ngwe Sin Moe Satt (Myanmar), Saiphou Lormaisim (Lao PDR), Muhammad Chrisna Satriagasa (Indonesia), Mohd Faiz Musa (Malaysia), Candle Sidthisone (Lao PDR), and Shampazuraini Samsuri (Malaysia).
Mr. Joselito G. Florendo, Deputy Director for Administration of SEARCA, congratulated the scholars, not only for finishing the training but also for successfully passing SEARCA’s stringent scholarship selection process and bravely taking the challenge of pursuing their graduate studies despite the pandemic. Mr. Florendo highlighted the importance of English communication skills in their graduate studies. He also reminded the scholars that it takes continuous practice beyond their training to reap and maximize its benefits.
The Basic English training was offered in partnership with the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research and Extension (OVCRE) through the UPLB Foundation Inc. (UPLBFI). OVCRE has been the previous service provider for the Training Workshop on Writing Thesis and Dissertation Proposals and the Data Analysis and Experimental Design Training which are the other two annual training programs provided by SEARCA to its scholars.