Full Name: Maria Patricia U. Parras
Age: 23 y/o
Course/University: De La Salle University Manila
MA in International Studies Major in Asian Studies
Prior Japanese Experience/Lesson: Enrolled in Nihongo Center Foundation last 2015
“Hello. I thought I should introduce myself shortly. My name is Maria Patricia Parras. People call me Trish or Patty. My problem is that I have lots of interests, so it`s quite a challenge for me to choose one to write about. But then Minnie Mouse came to my mind. I`ve always been a fan of this iconic mouse and have known her since I was a child. For what is worth: I live for spontaneous trips, horror movies, late night drives, anything related to green tea, and binge-eating. Pursuing this further, I took my internship in United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and I`m also a former member of the APEC National Organizing Council (APEC NOC). For my future plans, I see myself working in a field where knowledge of languages or awareness for the cross-cultural issues is required. I somehow imagine myself to be working with people who have different nationalities, to be able to connect with them by using the knowledge that I have acquired in my course. In my own perspective, travelling across borders of Asia gives you an idea about the “mystery” of the Orientals. It gives the participant a glimpse of one`s identity and its importance to the social, cultural and economic forces that shape today`s contemporary Asia. As I can see, the consequences of the past have greatly distributed to the issues that Asia is facing at present. In balance to the JENESYS program, it serves as an eye-opener to the delegates in order for them to love and appreciate the wonders of Asia.
At the beginning of the application process, I took the chance of sending the required documents for this program. I recognized how vulnerable it feels to put yourself out there with no guarantee. But then I knew I had to try; if I didn’t try, I never would have known. From that moment I made a choice and knew it would be a good exposure for me to learn and improve my knowledge of Japan. I figured I would learn some things, too. However, I have no idea how life-changing the lessons would be. Before the program, I was sure that having my picture taken in one of Japan`s iconic sites was going to be the highlight of my trip. But as my time down under passed I found that my best memories were actually unexpected moments I spent with locals, with friends I made, moments there is no way I could have predicted before I began my experience. Travelling as a group makes timeless memories of a lifetime especially when shared with new friends, my co-delegates, as it strengthens our bond far stronger. Usually, living in a foreign country equates to being homesick. But I never thought I would feel home with them and I wouldn`t have it any other way.
The JENESYS program is one of the most eye-opening, mind-bending, life-changing experiences a student can have. It challenged my language abilities, tested me with acceptance of other cultures, allowed me to connect with now close friends, and most especially, it helped me grow. Grown in a way that my mind is no longer limited in a box of my own devising but instead, it opened me to all ideas and possibilities. Indeed, I`ve collected a lot of memories. It`s surprising the amount you can collect in what is really an incredibly short amount of time. A week is nothing, around a small portion of my life so far, but those past 7 days hold the most incredible days of my life. It`s more than anything I could ever have asked for. This is my threshold. I will continue to live a life that challenges and excites me because this experience is just the beginning for those who choose to see it that way. It is pivotal as it opens us to a lifetime of grand adventures and infinite possibilities. Indeed, being selected as a delegate makes you grow so much, but we all still have so much growing to do. Truth be told, even if you`re a little uncertain, even if you are a bit worried like me at the beginning, get those applications and send them. Take the ride. You`ll never understand what an exchange program is all about unless you`ve been through it.”- Trish
“This is your time and no one else`s. It`s up to us what will make the experience most meaningful to us. Step out of your comfort zone and live your adventure to its fullest potential.”