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  2. 【Overseas Programs】SWU 2014 STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM

【Overseas Programs】SWU 2014 STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM

Japanese (TOYO Global RDS)


Bohol Trip Grp ShotreTwenty-six Toyo students from the departments of Regional Development Studies and Tourism, as well as those from the evening course, participated in the SWU English Program in the Philippines. Prior to departure, five orientation sessions were conducted for the students: 1) to familiarize themselves with each other, 2) to learn about the history, culture, economy, food and people of the Philippines and Cebu, 3) to plan for dance performances in the Philippines, 4) to take an English proficiency test for class placement, and 5) to enjoy a pre-departure group dinner. All these gatherings helped students bond with each other. Through the e-folio system the program administration and students were able to communicate and exchange important program information.
Although there are two direct flights from Narita Airport to Cebu every day, the group flew on the late afternoon flight arriving at Mactan Airport at midnight. Seven SWU students were waiting to greet the Toyo group at the airport despite the very late arrival. The tired Toyo students felt a warm welcome upon their arrival. It was close to 2:00 a.m. by the time everyone was settled in at Hotel Asia.

On the following day, Toyo students went shopping after the program orientation. The main purpose was to buy large gallon containers of mineral water to keep in the hotel rooms. The students enjoyed their first shopping experience in a Cebu supermarket, but once outside it began to rain heavily. Having no available taxies around and since the hotel was within walking distance, the group walked through the rain. Everyone got soaked.  This incident and hardship made everyone feel even closer.

After the first weekend of excitement in Cebu and Mactan, students settled down to study English at SWU. There were two groups based on student proficiency taught by enthusiastic teachers. English classes were taught in the mornings from Monday to Friday while students had two hours of language practice with SWU student tutors in the afternoons on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  SWU students made the Toyo students feel accepted and many friendships developed.  On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, the students engaged in cultural studies with short field trips and lectures on cultural and historical topics.

SWU in class CFa playing with kids
 at SWU studying English / interacting at the children’s home

In the evenings at Hotel Asia, students practiced their dance numbers, and on Friday, August 22nd, a visit was scheduled to the NGO “Christ for Asia” children’s home.  These children sang and danced to entertain Toyo students, and then the Toyo students gave two very spectacular performances to entertain the children. Toyo students served pizza to the children and many friendships were made. Lots of photos were taken. On Saturday, interested students went out on a community walk in Guadalupe to see the variation in lifestyle among landowners, titled squatter residents, and lastly the most recent residential area of new squatters.  The students could easily recognize the socioeconomic shift between these different residential areas based on the size of residents’ homes and the condition of housing.  In the evening, all Toyo participants met in the Ayala Shopping Mall at a restaurant called “Canvas” for a dinner party.

Sunday was a special day excursion with all students visiting the famous “five-star” resort on Mactan called Plantation Bay. This is a very popular resort with a series of connected swimming lagoons.  Using the day pass system, students could use a variety of equipment in addition to the pools and water slides.  The buffet lunch was very enjoyable.

Plantation Bay Resort Community Walking
excursion to Plantation Bay / community walk to see variation

In the third week of the program, we had two days of sports and exercise classes in the morning. The class started with a hip-hop dance exercise. Three instructors stood on the stage for the Toyo students to follow. The way they danced was so sexy and fast that many of the Toyo students couldn’t keep up. There were also basketball games. Filipinos are known to be great fans of basketball, so it was quite surprising when the male Toyo students won the game. There were some other team games that everyone could easily enjoy and work up a sweat. Everyone needed to have some physical exercise. It was great to have these sports classes particularly in the third week of the program when everyone was starting to feel a little tired

For the last week of the program, students were excited in preparation for the Bohol weekend trip.  With an early Saturday start, the group cruised over to Bohol Island on a high speed passenger boat.  On arrival, a chartered bus took everyone to the dock to catch a lunch cruise on the Lomboc River.  After lunch, the bus took us to the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park (CHAP), which was a rich scenic attraction. An additional stop was made to see the Tarsiers, a small monkey-like mammal.  A delicious dinner was held for the group in a Chinese restaurant.  In the evening, the group checked into the Alona Kew Beach Resort and students enjoyed the night view and sea breeze.

Bohol lunchboat Bohol Tarsier realre
lunch cruise on the Lomboc River / the tiny Tarsier

Sunday began with an early 4:30 a.m. start to have breakfast and then to travel out into the open sea in search of dolphins.  Luckily, our boats were able to catch up to a large pod of dolphins, but sadly the pod disappeared fairly quickly.  The boats proceeded to a nearby island which is famous for snorkeling.  Most students put on a mask and snorkel and ventured out in small guided groups in search of marine life. Around noon the group returned to the hotel to check out and begin the trip back to Cebu.

Monday was the culmination ceremony at SWU. It brought mixed feelings for students.  It was the end of the program and a time to start thinking of the return to Japan. The SWU dance troupe gave nice dance performances, and Toyo students participated in these dances.  Then the Toyo students offered the special dance numbers that they had been practicing while together in Cebu.  It was a wonderful way to end the three week program at SWU.

SWU Dance 1 Culmination Ceremony in costume
culmination dances at SWU / culmination activity group photo

Tuesday was the last chance for students to buy souvenirs for friends and family. The evening brought the Toyo “Thank You” reception party for the teachers and tutors who helped the Toyo students during their stay.  It was a pleasant evening and again the Toyo students had a chance to perform their dance routines.  The end of the evening brought the last chance for a group photograph because the next day was the return flight to Japan.

SWU Dance 2 Coral Messagere
 Toyo student “blue cup” performance / the end of the program

Robert Hughes (Associate Professor, Department of Regional Development Studies)
Yuko Kobayakawa (Study Coordinator/Lecturer, Department of Regional Development Studies)