Mapúa Malayan Colleges Mindanao

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American Students’ Cultural Immersion Journey in Mapúa MCM

On June 9th to July 19th, StuMo (Student Mobilization Philippines, Inc.) hosted a group of 10 college students from universities in the United States for a 6-week cultural exchange program in Davao City. StuMo is an international college campus organization whose goal is to develop Filipino college students in character and leadership from a faith perspective. 

Since their establishment in Cebu City in 2017, StuMo has worked alongside several universities including the University of San Carlos, the University of Cebu, the University of the Philippines, and Southwestern University. The program aims to help college students reach their full potential.

10 American students visited Davao City to experience what life is like for Filipino college students and to immerse themselves in the country’s life, culture, and religion.

The OCP’s Center for International Programs partnered with the Office for Student Services along with the student councils from each college to lead the students’ cultural immersion at Mapúa MCM.

The students and staff of StuMo partnered with Mapúa Malayan Colleges Mindanao for 6 weeks and spent time with the students at the campus, creating friendships and broadening their cultural perspectives during their stay.

Mason Matney, a student from Kansas State University shares his experience at Mapúa MCM. He says that he prepared for his trip to the Philippines by doing some research on Davao City, the fun places to go, the weather, and what the spoken language is.

Alex Dearnbarger from Kansas State University shares that she was surprised to find out there were many similarities between American and Filipino college life. “To name a few, the students are involved in a variety of different classes tailored to their major and partake in clubs, sports and activities.” Alex also adds that “the college students mingle with their “barkada” or group of friends outside of class, and get coffee or drinks at the mall.”

The American students conducted a cultural survey which allows them to learn from students at Mapúa MCM about daily life, school experience, and cultural values during their stay. Emily Dove from Columbia College mentions her experience from the day the American students had a competition and were able to compete while learning Filipino culture. “My favorite part was learning how to play the Filipino instruments! I learned a lot that day and it was so much fun!”

Jack Shultz from the University of Missouri shares some insights from his journey at Mapúa MCM. “I personally learned and respect a lot about the Filipino people is their hospitality and kindness toward others.” Jack mentions that his new Filipino friends always went out of their way to ensure that he made it to his destination safely.

Leopoldo D. Aquino Jr., the Director of the Mapúa MCM Office for Corporate Partnerships (OCP) and Alumni Affairs shares that the OCP is more than willing to facilitate foreign students for a cultural immersion activity alongside the Mapúa MCM students. 

“This opportunity to interact with international students aligns perfectly with our goal of nurturing globally competitive individuals. It’s a fantastic way to broaden our students’ horizons and enhance their cross-cultural understanding.” 

The OCP says that by involving various stakeholders such as the colleges, student organizations, and faculty members will not only enhance the richness of the experience but also ensure a broader participation that adds value to the initiative. 

“Collaborating in this manner enables us to create a truly meaningful and impactful cultural immersion activity for our students.”