After a stopover at the Jing Si (Still Thoughts) Hall in Quezon City, the group of 24 Tzu Chi University (TCU) medical students from Taiwan proceeded to the University of Santo Tomas (UST) for the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the two universities and a tour of the campus facilities.
Signed by both TCU College of Medicine dean Yang Jen-hung and UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery dean Ma. Lourdes Domingo-Maglinao, M.D., the MOA strengthened the ties between the two institutions. Among its aims are to establish a future exchange student program between the two establishments and to share wisdom with each other.
With the MOA, Yang states that they hope to expand the learning experience between the students. The two universities are adept teachers to generations of future doctors and physicians, yet both colleges have different methods of teaching medicine.
“Along with the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between our universities, we want to give our students an eye-opening experience. Our educational tour aims to make our students understand that they are lucky to be living the life that they are, as well as to understand how those who are less fortunate than they are struggle to live from day to day. Hopefully, with the week that they spend here, they will learn and understand how to be compassionate to their patients, and to treat them with dignity and respect,” says Yang.
He adds that Master Cheng Yen encourages medical students to not only broaden their horizons but also learn with compassionate hearts as they immerse themselves in their chosen field of study.
“Even if the students have the knowledge to be able to treat diseases, if they don’t treat their patients with love and compassion, their abilities would be meaningless,” he says.
Whereas TCU hopes to adopt the principles of Western medicine while maintaining Buddhist traditions, UST desires to implement the Silent Mentor program in their medical curriculum. The program involves donors giving their bodies to the advancement of medicine when they pass away, so that generations of medical students can learn from them.
“With the signing of the MOA, we hope to establish and adapt not just the ‘silent mentor’ aspect that they practice, but to learn more from our counterparts and eventually open up a full-time student exchange program between our respective faculties in the near future, so that we can both learn from each other,” says Maglinao.
After the MOA signing, the students went on an educational tour of the University of Santo Tomas Museum of Arts and Sciences. It showcases a sizable display of artifacts indigenous to the Philippines, along with collections of medical history that were used in educating the pioneer generations of medical students.
Huang Yu-ting, who serves as the student leader for the visiting contingent, shares that she looks forward to the learning experience during their stay in the Philippines.
“While this serves as an immersion trip for students like us, I am lucky to appreciate the life we lead back in Taiwan. How we’re blessed to be living with a loving family, and to be able to complete our education at the same time—it puts things into a unique perspective for us, especially now that we see that there are a lot of people who struggle to live from day-to-day,” she says.
Part of the students’ educational tour includes observing and helping out in several medical missions scheduled throughout the week, and visiting assigned patients in their homes and learning more about their respective situations.
Tetsuya Makino, president of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery Student Council, was the TCU delegation’s guide around the museum. He says he was in awe of TCU’s principles of teaching medicine.
“One thing that was very interesting to me was their core values (when it comes to treating patients) is that they are Buddhist. Compared to us here, they have a very different approach in terms of medicine and how they treat people,” he remarks.
A witness to the MOA signing, Makino also has high expectations between the two universities.
“It is nice to see our deans to meet in a diplomatic way since UST’s Faculty of Medicine and Surgery is reaching its 150th anniversary. So, it would be very nice and progressive to build bridges not only with other schools of the country, but outside of the Philippines as well so it was very interesting to see our deans stepping up and building this diplomatic relationship,” he ends.
After making a quick stopover at the Jing Si (Still Thoughts) Hall, the touring contingent of students then make their way back to the bus to continue on to the University of Santo Tomas (UST) for their educational tour scheduled on the same afternoon.【Photo by Erin Uy】
Maintaining proper decorum, the group of 24 Tzu Chi University students proceed into the Medicine Building.【Photo by Erin Uy】
The signatories of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) pose for a picture before formally exchanging the documents between themselves.【Photo by Erin Uy】
As an additional token of appreciation, the Taiwanese contingent presents their Philippine counterparts with a token of appreciation.【Photo by Erin Uy】
After the brief audiovisual presentation, the floor is opened for questions from the TCU student group.【Photo by Erin Uy】
At the biome display that showcases animals that are indigenous to the Philippines, a tour guide answers questions raised by the TCU student group.【Photo by Erin Uy】
Another group of students tours the second floor of the museum. Here, they are making inquiries about the display, which highlights the papal chairs used by Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis during their visits to the Philippines.【Photo by Erin Uy】
Before leaving the campus grounds to return to the Still Thoughts Hall, the TCU group poses for a photo outside the UST’s Main Building.【Photo by Erin Uy】