Stay and give back

My younger brother graduated from high school yesterday. It’s been a while since I’ve last been to OLGM. I’ve only visited the school at most five times since I graduated from its grade school department six years ago.

My past teachers, when I bump into them, always express their disappointment at the fact that I rarely visit my grade school alma mater. Which is lamentable for me too, since I studied in OLGM for far longer than I studied in Ateneo or longer than the time it’d hopefully take me to complete my undergraduate studies in UP, and also because I graduated as my batch’s valedictorian.

Visiting appears to be the least I can do to show gratitude or something. I don’t know if they were serious but some of my teachers were sort hinting that I should come back after a few years and speak in a future commencement ceremony.

Anyway, one change I noticed in OLGM is that there is a much higher ratio of Korean students now. This is a guess, but from how I observed my brother’s batch, one of every four students in OLGM is Korean. We had one or two Koreans in our batch too, but I’ve never had a Korean classmate in my seven year stay in OLGM, so I find it such a novelty.

They’re here to study English, I suppose. Which is sort of sad because they seem to be doing it at the expense of learning Science or Math. I’ve always believed that Science and Math should be taught in a student’s native tongue. How can someone learn Math or Science well if it’s being taught in a foreign language that person is not very fluent at? I don’t know if it’s a trend, but most of my Korean batchmates were struggling with their studies. But if it is a trend, I’m sure it’s not because Koreans are generally poor-learners, it’s because the lessons and subjects aren’t taught in their language.

Anyway, I digressed too much. If ever my grade school alma mater do get me to speak in a graduation ceremony in the future, I’d tell the students that if there’s one thing they could emulate from their Korean colleagues, is that the Koreans always go back to Korea after studying abroad. We definitely need a similar or stronger sense of nationalism and responsible citizenship to make it work here.

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