A fresh batch of medical students from Tzu Chi University arrived in Manila on July 14 for their yearly overseas excursion. The eight-day excursion outside Taiwan would teach them about the culture of other countries, as well as the plight of other people in need.
As part of its yearly overseas excursion, a delegation of medical students and professors from Tzu Chi University (TCU) arrived in Manila on July 14.
Every year, the TCU College of Medicine’s International Volunteer Service exposes students to social and cultural environments outside Taiwan. In countries like the Philippines, they learn a great deal about serving people in need by observing their situation. This way, they understand the need to help, gain new skills and become compassionate practitioners.
For this year, 29 TCU medical students joined the excursion, accompanied by four teachers and five Tzu Chi volunteers. The delegation included College of Medicine dean Yang Jen-hung, who has previously led seven excursions to the Philippines.
“Just like the past six times, Master [Cheng Yen] has instructed us to see and realize suffering. Seeing suffering here in the Philippines will help them realize just how blessed they are back home in Taiwan,” said Yang.
“Students will learn from [local] Tzu Chi volunteers and serving the people in need. They’ll be able to learn things like the spirit of Tzu Chi,” he added.
The eight-day excursion consisted of a four-day tour of Metro Manila and a four-day mission to Cebu and the Visayas. Upon arriving, the students toured around the walled city of Intramuros, specifically the Bahay Tsinoy Museum that showcases ethnic Chinese life in the Philippines. Later in the day, they visited the San Agustin Church—the oldest church in the country—and its museum.
“My impression of the Philippines is that it’s a country rife with historical buildings with local and some Chinese influences. For people from Taiwan like me, I think Filipino and Taiwanese cultures have a lot in common. Still, Filipino culture has some exotic effects like Spanish influences,” remarked Huang Pinhan, student of Medicine at TCU.
“More importantly, I want to learn or feel the difficult life the poor Filipino people lead. I want to know what I can do to help, so when I go back to Taiwan I can be more grateful to others and be able to do something better for Taiwan and perhaps the world,” Huang added.
The excursion also marks the first time the delegation stayed at the Tzu Chi Great Love Campus’ Harmony Hall, whereas previously they stayed in the Jing Si Hall’s living quarters.