The vibrant campus of Saint Mary’s University came alive as students, faculty, and staff gathered to celebrate International Students’ Day at the Sacred Heart Center on September 13, 2023. This annual event symbolizes the University’s commitment to fostering unity and embracing diversity. 

A Warm Welcome and a Vision for the Future

Dr. John Octavious S. Palina, University President, extended a warm and hearty welcome to all attendees. His words set the tone for a day that would be dedicated to celebrating the rich tapestry of cultures that make up the SMU community. Dr. Clara Gonzales, Head of the Promotions, External Relations, and Internationalization Office, elaborated on SMU’s vision for its strategic internationalization direction, emphasizing the importance of cross-cultural understanding and cooperation.

Inspirational Stories from SMU’s Foreign Students

Mr. Olivar Reimos Barroga, SHANS Promotions and Linkage Coordinator, introduced the international students of SMU. The celebration reached new heights as international students from various countries, including those from Thailand (Ooranuch Jantrapreechakul, Natthinan Phummarin, Peerapat Yuktichart), Indonesia (Muhammad Hadiatman, Idris), Belgium (Lukas Dupont, Jonas Mennes, Lucas David), Italy (Carolina Guasco), Japan (Taichi Hayashi), Germany (Adriana Ixcot Ramirez), Africa (Dickson Owusu), and Korea (Cho Eun) took center stage. Their presentations added a dynamic and colorful dimension to the event, showcasing the global spirit of SMU. They shared inspiring personal stories and performances featuring their culture and country. These narratives highlighted the challenges they had to overcome, the friendships they had formed, and the dreams they aspired to achieve within the nurturing embrace of SMU.

A Glimpse into SMU’s Global Endeavors

The “SMU Corporate Video 2023” provided a window into the University’s dedication to providing a world-class education and attracting students from diverse corners of the globe. It underscored the University’s belief that education knows no boundaries and that every student can thrive within the SMU community, regardless of background.

Fostering Connection through Games and Socialization

Ms. Rocel Batara and Ms. Rheena Niña Salinas, SEAIT/STEH Promotions and Linkage Coordinators, led engaging games and socialization activities, encouraging interaction and bonding among the students present. It was a testament to SMU’s commitment to forging connections that transcend borders.

The talents of SMU were on full display during the intermission numbers, featuring performances by the SMU Dance Troupe and SMU BIBAK. These captivating acts brought joy and entertainment, further enhancing the sense of unity and celebration. Vice President for Mission and Identity, Rev. Fr. Philip A. Yu, Jr., CICM, offered a closing prayer that united hearts and minds in reflection and gratitude.

Also present during the event were the host families of the international students and SMU administrators, namely Vice President for Administration, Dr. John Tayaban, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Moises Alexander T. Asuncion, SEAIT Dean, Engr. Carina Mallillin, Dean of Student Affairs and Services, Mr. Samuel Damayon, Senior High School Principal, Mr. Melencio Bernardino among other department heads, faculty members, and staff.

In the grand tapestry of Saint Mary’s University’s International Students’ Day, we celebrated unity, diversity, and the shared human experience. It was a day of inspiration, connection and reflection, reminding us that the power of unity and diversity is a force that can shape our world for the better. As we bid farewell to this memorable day, we look forward to the continued celebration of our global community at SMU.

Source: SMU