SEARCA offers basic English course for incoming scholars

TO enhance English proficiency for incoming scholars, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) has commenced its new fiscal year by offering customized training for the Academic Year 2023–2024.

According to SEARCA, a group of 11 scholars hailing from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam actively participated in the Basic English Course.

SEARCA director Dr. Glenn Gregorio said the Basic English Course is an annual offering by SEARCA designed to enhance the scholars' English proficiency and foster their comfort in using the language in preparation for their academic studies.

The course, which started on July 4, 2023, kicked off with its first module focusing on conversations for social and academic interaction, as well as pronunciation improvement.

Gregorio said this initial module was conducted online via Zoom and subsequently, eight of the 11 scholars will continue their language learning journey through face-to-face sessions at the SEARCA headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna.

These sessions will cover various aspects of English language skills, such as reading, vocabulary enrichment, writing and grammar.

"This learning event serves as a refresher course and foundation for the scholars to further develop their English skills. It is part of a broader range of academic and extra-curricular learning opportunities that assists the scholars in completing their academic requirements on time, while also supporting their social well-being," he said.

Amid the diverse array of SEARCA scholarship programs, all participants serve as ambassadors of the institution and carry the SEARCA brand.

"Thus, developing their communication skills is instrumental in helping them represent SEARCA not only as scholars but also as future alumni," Gregorio said.

He said the center acknowledges and appreciates the dedication and hard work of all its scholars who have demonstrated perseverance in mastering a language that is not theirs.

Retired professor Emerita Cervantes, who has been a long-standing provider of English language courses for the SEARCA scholars, is heading the training team.

Cervantes has also led regional events held in Lao People's Democratic Republic, Cambodia and Vietnam under the Institutional Development Assistance (IDA) program.

According to SEARCA, the scholars, in addition to the basic english course, will also participate in orientation and team building activities, joining their fellow scholars as they embark on their academic journey together.