After the Erasmus Mundus scholars at VSU had organized into the Erasmus Mundus Club under the leadership of Dr. Rotacio S. Gravoso, they celebrated the VSU Erasmus Mundus Day on September 27, 2013 at the Center for Continuing Education. The occasion was graced by Dr. Julian Vassallo, Political Counsellor of the European Union (EU) Delegation to the Philippines.

The activity served as a venue for the Erasmus Mundus Scholars to share insights and for the Erasmus Mundus Programme-Philippines to present its various scholarship grants.

Dr. Victor B. Asio, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Food Science and Coordinator of VSU Erasmus Mundus Programme, explained that the Erasmus Mundus Club at VSU was organized to promote the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship and other scholarships in European countries. He also elaborated the Europe-Asia University Partnership in which VSU is the sole member in the Philippines. It all started in 2010 after his research work in Germany when he was invited to join in writing a proposal for the European Union under the Erasmus Mundus Action 2 which the VSU President, Dr. Bacusmo, fully supported. The proposal was approved in 2011 and paved the way for another partnership under the Exchange by Promoting Quality Education, Research and Training in South and South-East Asia (EXPERTS).

In his inspirational message, Dr. Vassallo emphasized that education in Europe is either free or very cheap. According to him, education is the fundamental principle of the European way of life to give free education. He narrated the history of Erasmus Mundus who is a historical figure in Europe famous for studying in many different countries throughout Europe which they cherish until this time. Dr. Vassallo also cited that the Erasmus Programme before was only intended for citizens of European Union wherein the students from an EU country go and spend some months in another university, normally in two or three universities for free with subsidy for the students’ essential expenses, including accommodation and tuition fee. He also revealed that Erasmus Mundus is not only an academic project but also a cultural project and is one of the successful policies of the European Union.

He mentioned how the partnership between VSU and the Erasmus Mundus started. He also underlined the significant role played by everyone present to become ambassadors of the Erasmus Mundus Programme and of Europe by encouraging others to seek scholarships in the European Union, explaining to them the quality of European education, and the whole package of studying in Europe.

Dr. Vassallo also revealed that more than 200 students and staff from the Philippines go to Europe under the Erasmus Mundus Programme since it became a global program. “Although we are happy with this number, we are ambitious to increase this number for more Filipinos, particularly students and other Filipinos, to avail of the program,” he said.

He added that VSU is a very special university for Erasmus Mundus in the Philippines as the sole partner in the EXPERTS and AREAS Programmes. He also encouraged VSU to continue its partnership with EU in the years to come to strengthen the relationship better. “I have seen VSU as the model for making practical results as well as opportunities of Erasmus Mundus, and the academic excellence that you exerted in many different ways,” he stressed.

After his presentation, the open forum followed that gave chance to some VSU constituents to ask questions how to avail of the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship and other matters related to the program.

Moreover, the VSU faculty and staff who were recipients of the EXPERTS and AREAS scholarships also shared their experiences in Europe. They were as follows: Ms. Honey Sofia Colis, Ms. Remenita Solis, and Ms. Connel Antipaso (Experiences in Administrative Processes); Ms. Luz Asio, Dr. Suzette Lina, Mr. Angelo Francis Atole, and Dr. Rotacio Gravoso (Experiences in Research); and Ms. Lynne Florentino, Ms. Zara Lee Casillano, and Dr. Ana Marquiza Quilicot (Experiences in Student Learning).

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