“Enlightening and educational.” For Enrico Feria, one of the Bridge English course coordinators for this year’s Bridge Program offering, these are the words that best describe his experience as a Bridge English and Math participant during the program’s previous offering last year. At the time, Enrico was about to begin his journey at the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) as a new freshman of the Associate in Arts (AA) program. Determined to prepare himself before classes officially started, Enrico participated in both the Bridge English and Math courses, where he rediscovered and relearned several topics he had studied before during his homeschooled days.
Now, why did Enrico choose to involve himself once more in the Bridge Program; but this time, as a Bridge English course coordinator? According to Enrico, he wanted to volunteer in order to “give back” or “share” what he learned from his previous course coordinators, make the most out of his extra time, and learn how to teach students. Although he knew that this commitment would mean a lot of work, Enrico also knew that this would be a good learning experience for him and challenged him to maintain the momentum and mindset he has to keep himself busy and productive. When asked about his volunteer experience with the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod UPOU, Enrico shares that this was “challenging and intriguing”, as he experienced “the responsibilities and struggles our course coordinators and FICs have.” In addition, he “had fun meeting and working with new people while exploring different software to create modules.”
As an active volunteer, Enrico believes that other undergraduate students of UPOU would be encouraged to get involved in volunteering by seeing fellow students participate in volunteer work. Moreover, Enrico suggests that it would be better if the University “would recognize volunteering in the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod Bridge Program as part of the NSTP courses.” By seeing fellow undergraduate students volunteering in the program, other students will be inspired to try and do the same.
At present, Enrico has several other roles and responsibilities, as he is a first-year student and the head student officer of the AA program. Through his example, Enrico continues to show his fellow students that becoming a volunteer who is of service to one’s community and nation is indeed possible, no matter the circumstances. He also reminds everyone about the importance of serving their immediate communities such as the UPOU community as mga Iskolar ng Bayan: “Volunteering is a way to give back to your community, and what better community to give back to but the one you are currently studying in, right?”
Written by: KMLFama