By Rosemarie Sta. Maria Fernando
As the oldest student (I am 55 years old) of the class Diploma in Global Studies, I thought I would not be able to cope with the pressures doing research works and assignments given by my professors. Before I joined this course, I was discouraged by some of my friends to enrol because they told me that this kind of course is much fitted for the young (ouch!). I had second thoughts after hearing those words but the persistent encouragement of Doc Liz Naui, the Coordinator of BCAS, I finally decided to give it a try. She advised me anyway to just try it that if I really find it difficult then that is the time to quit.
The start was a lot of adjustment for me. I find it hard to do a lot of academic readings (I’m not very fond of it to start with). But as we go on, I was beginning to enjoy every tidbit of information I learned from the assigned readings and from the lively interaction in the class. My classmates are very supportive, and they treated me as if I am someone their age.
Because I am enjoying the class, I decided to also register in the other course – the Diploma in Integrated Human Rights. It is more challenging as it is about Law and understanding our rights. I didnt imagine that I would be competing with my young classmates doing the assignments and submiting it on time. Never did I become so serious and focused on studying my lessons even during my college days in the 80’s.
Every learnings in our small classroom is a treasure for me. We studied other cultures debating a lot about racism, descrimination and brainstorming on how globalization affects our society and the threat of artificial intelligence to name a few. So many learnings on things that I couldnt care less before. My greatest achievement so far is when I did my mini research entitled “The Urban Legend of the Ghosts of the Metro Stations”. This is an achievement for me in the sense that I was able to conquer my fear in orally and publicly presenting it. I have to celebrate this small victory because I can feel the improvement in me and realized that this 55 year old student still has something to share, socially conscious and has concern to the community and to the society.
On February 18 we went to a snow place called Masella. It is the first time the class went outdoors. We are relaxed and appreciate the beauty of Godś creation.I enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow classmates, friends and friends of friends. We were joined by guests coming from different nacionalities. As we appreciate fool around in the snow, I was able to feel the love and care of my classmates as they are very concern because I have with me my small luggage filled with food. I am identified with that luggage since I always bring it in the class filled with books, laptop and notebooks.
The moment of sharing during lunch is the most treasured moment for me. For Filipinos, if they can bring their kitchen they will bring it. One of our classmate with her Spanish boyfriend just brought a healthy “bocadillo” We have a friend from Thailand and he tried the Filipino food and sushi We also have a vegan classmate. It was fun, friendly and I felt the respect for the customs and social behavior of each and everyone.
As we watch people enjoying the snow, we also see the culture of having fun as family, people who really like skiing, people who are there just there to watch other people, people who are obviously not dressed for the snow, people who are looking at all of us with great amazement because we are entertaining ourselves and obviously having a great time.
Outside classroom activities is indeed a great way to learn. The concepts we learn and discussed in the class comes to life. We describe peoples behavior through words we learned from the class; deviant, tolerance, cultural intelligence, stigma, acquired culture, respect.
We also see culture in food, in communication interaction, in dealing with guests, in taking care of each other and above everything else, we learn tolerance and acceptance.
“Learning is not only confined in the four walls of the classroom, it is practiced in the way each of us live everyday. Truly every day I learned a lot. With my learnings in BCAS I can now say that I never regret registering to this programs; in GS and IHRE. In fact it is one of the most brilliant decisions I have ever made in my life.”