12 July 2010

SBMA, Korean university launch cultural exchange program

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and Youngsan University of South Korea (YSU) have signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance cultural cooperation between the two institutions.

SBMA chairman Feliciano Salonga said the MOU aimed to promote mutual understanding, collaboration and cooperation between SBMA and YSU through exchange programs that will mutually benefit YSU students and SBMA staff.

Salonga and university president Gu Wuck Bu signed the agreement recently after a YSU delegation composed of 27 students and three officials arrived here on June 30 for five days of community immersion under the university’s Global Overseas Volunteers (GOV) program.

The signing was witnessed by Sung Sim School chairperson Ro Chan Young and other officials from both the SBMA and YSU.

“This is another door of opportunity being opened for SBMA employees,” Salonga said, noting that under the MOU, the Korean school shall give scholarship grants to two SBMA nominees for one year, inclusive of tuition and application fees. On the other hand, SBMA will accept two YSU students each year for an internship program.

Salonga said that payments for board and lodging, book allowances, medical insurance and international travel fare shall be separately negotiated and approved by both parties when the exchange program is implemented.

Aside from the cultural exchange, the YSU delegation conducted community outreach projects at the Pastolan Aeta village in the Subic Bay Freeport.

A day before the MOU was signed, Salonga, Bu and Young inaugurated a basketball court in Pastolan, an Aeta village inside the Subic Freeport Zone.

The court was funded by the Korean group and constructed by the 27 student-volunteers in five days.

Won-Cheol Choi, project manager of the YSU GOV, said the volunteers also participated in community projects like the construction of playground, and the repair and remodeling of the day care center in Pastolan.

Choi said the five-day immersion activity has made Subic “a very special place for us now.”

“The volunteers enjoyed being with the members of the community,” Choi said. “They taught the Aeta children taekwondo, music and art, and beauty care and acupuncture to adults.”

On the other hand, Young said the agreement signified a better future for both the SBMA and YSU.

“We are delighted to mark the beginning of our new relationship with your beautiful community and the SBMA,” said Young. “We hope that this project will bring better opportunity and much joy, especially for the younger generation.” (SBMA Corporate Communications)

SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga (right) and Youngsan University president Gu Wuck Bu conclude an agreement for a cultural exchange program.