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Master Lenka Vatrsková, UCT Prague, ročník 5

Faculty Faculty of Food and Biochemical Technology
Field of study Forensic biological analysis
Field of internship Chemistry, Material Science, and Chemical Engineering
Specialization of InternshipAny
Internship period (from - to) 1.7.2019 - 23.9.2019
Internship duration (weeks) 12
Transport (means, price) plane (return flight ticket Vienna-Manila 665 €)
Insurance/Insurance company INTER PARTNER ASSISTANCE, S. A. (AXA)
Visa/Work permit (yes/no) yes (after 30 days of my stay in the Philippines but I recommed not to do it this way)
Price of Visa 207 €
City of Internship Zobrazit místo na mapě  Philippines, San Jose del Monte
Internship reference number PH-2019-027FCPC

About the country

Location of the place

First City Providential College (FCPC) is in City San Jose del Monte. The school was not in the city center but it was easy to get to the 2 main malls - Star Mall (walking distances 10-15 minutes), SM Mall (jeepney ride). It was easy to get all the essentials around the school in small local shops. Except FCPC there were more schools so the area is friendly and not dangerous.

City

San Jose del Monte is a city located in Bulacan province. It is 35 km distant from Manila, however, the travel time there can be up to 4 hours, depending on traffic which is most of the time heavy. The city has 2 main malls where most people gather. My impression was that it is a safe city but local people alway warned me to take care.

Surroundings (possible trips, ...)

It is possible to hike Mount Balagbag but is highly recommended to go there with locals and in group. Another hiking trip is to Padre Pio Monument. City is full of resorts. I recommend Advanture resort because they have a miniature of Eiffel tower, Statue of Liberty and other Landmark which was a fun place to take pictures. It is possible to swim there or try zip-lining. Nice place for an afternoon stroll is Grotto Church with nice park.
San Jose del Monte is about 1-2 hours (depending on the traffic, one time it took me 45 minutes) bus ride from Cubao where is a lot of bus terminals and stations. From Cubao it is possible to go anywhere and I recommend weekend trips to Batangas (beaches), Tagaytay (volcano). It is also possible to commute to rice terraces in Banaue but it takes around 8-9 hours so it would be better to plan night trip. The same for the surfing capital of the north La Union, San Juan.

Employer

Employer

Employer was First City Providential College. Teachers were really considering, friendly, kind and dynamic. I will truly miss all of them because they were not afraid to talk to me, they helped me and entertained me whenever I needed it. We have become close friends.
Ma´am Star, the president of the school, organized many activities for us and took us to different places in the Philippines. She is really generous and she alway made sure we have everything we needed and we were entertained.

Work description

I taught chemistry senior highschool students (grade 12 STEM), supervised grade 9 students (special science class) in laboratory and advised them on their research. I also observed and taught few biology lessons in College (grade 2). I helped organize few seminars and activities of Center for Research Development and Innovation (CRDI). I was a speaker at few seminars.

Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)

Yes, I received 2000 PHP every week. Of course, it is needed to bring money, especially for VISA and trips.

Language requirements

English. Since I taught students it was necessary to be fluent. Most Filippinos speak English fluently but they are afraid to do so (especially older students) because they are afraid to use incorrect gramar. Younger students are braver and they love to communicate.

Accommodation (price, who provided it)

Accomodation was provided by the school and it was for free. I lived on campus in the room that was design by students studying turism and/or hospitability. The room had two double beds and was fully equipped (fridge, microwave, kettle, hot plate, utensils) with filtered water (big advantage) and was really spaciuous.

Social life

Meeting IAESTE members (pick-up at the airport, organised events...)

I arrived to Manila at 22:00 and maam Salvacion Tapar waited for me at the airport with IAESTE logo sign. She adviced me about changing my money and endorsed me to FCPC staff to drive me to FCPC. Before airport pick up we communicated to arrange the details.
IAESTE members helped to arrange my Visa once I was in the country, all I needed to do is to hand them my passport and money.
IAESTE membre maam Cherry May R. Palacio works in the FCPC as consulutant and she arrives at the school every Tuesday and made sure we are okay. They created facebook group chat for all IAESTE exchange students in the Philippines. We met with them twice; in Makati and in FCPC.
IAESTE helped organize few seminars where exchange students were speakers.
Since FCPC did not have its own Local Committee, most events and trips were organized by school, however, Local Committee was formed a week before my departure.

Meeting other foreign students

There was an exchange student from Jordan with me at FCPC so we got to go to the trips and events together. We met twice with international student from Thailand whose internship was in Makati.

Sport and culture

Filipinos are very artistic, they love videoke, so be prepared for a lot of singing everywhere and alway. It is their favourite activity at parties, gathering and so. Some students even sing when taking a test! A FCPC students compete at various sports and I am sure it is possible to join their practice if you ask. They have a great dancers who won national competition.

Food, local specialties

As much as loving to sing Filipinos love to eat so prepare for that, They eat 8 times a day. Main meal is rice. They eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner and sometimes for snacks. Rice is often combined with chicken or pork. Street food and fast food meals are popular. Beside that there is a lot of fruits like bananas, mango, rambutan, oranges, papaya... Every province has its own specialities that are worth trying; pineapples, small fish, crabs, shrimps, various soups, ube jam are just some examples I have tried.

Other information

Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic

I could alway reach to IAESTE in the Czech Reepublic via email or social media, however I did not need to.

Recommendations for students who will go to the same place

I would strongly recommend the experience. People are unbelievably kind and generous; they really care about each other. Filipinos has a reputation being humble and hospitable nation, but I was not prepared how much is that true. I have never met such kind and good people. I felt like a part of their family. Everybody was extremely helpful and caring. Coworkers immediately switched to English whenever I entered the room so I would not feel left out. If I had any questions or doubts, they were ready to help. They have become my close friends not only coworkers because they were willing to show me the area, take me to different places, help me to explore the Philippines. I will never be able to show them enough gratitude for everything they gave me.
There are so many beautiful places to be seen and explored, so please travel as much as you can. If I would do it again, I would visit Islands - Palawan, Cebu, Bohol, Buracay, at least one of them.
If it will be a teaching internship, students are respectful and eager to learn. They listen to every word.

What not to forget with you

Insect repellent, sunblock, adapter (however, there is possibility to buy it there for a lot cheaper), all the documents from IAESTE (work offer, acceptance letter), passport, camera and something you can bring them from your country (some souvenires or delicacies), american dollars
if you comming during raining season - umbrella and flipflops are must

Benefits of the internship

I have learned a lot about position as a teacher. Teacher is not only person who explains lessons but also consultant, friend, cleaners, motivators. It is not a job that has a fixed hours; teachers correct paper, prepare for lessons, review knowledge, keep up with new inventions (especially science teachers), attend seminars and meeting. It is a life purpose that many people do not appreciate.
I never experienced organizing seminars until my internship, and I got to see how much work need to be done every time.
As a teacher, I have learned how to handle a class of 40 students, what to do when someone is not paying attention, how to behave when students are not prepared, how important it is to praise them and believe in them. It is also important to notice their behavior and ask about their feelings and emotions. I got to prepare some of the classes on my own, when I realized importance of time management.
As a scientist, I attended the laboratory skill workshop organized by the head of science faculty, where teachers got to show basic laboratory procedures based on their major.
As a speaker on various seminars organized by CRDI, I have learned that the interaction with listeners is crucial, especially during long talk.

Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country

I was highly satisfied.

Overall experience with IAESTE

I am grateful for the opportunity and experienced I was able to gain.

Student's website

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Employer's webiste

https://fcpc.com.ph/

Other useful links

https://www.facebook.com/thefirstthebest/
https://www.silent-gardens.com/visa.php?fbclid=IwAR1X22p5XxWKnTT5X1nQtL0IGfOoflxlHmZI1xUJXOrgKW_oJXiSQd8TEzQ

Other comments

I have never ever met kindest people. If you open up and you wont behave superior, your experience will be unforgetable in best way possible. Do not be afriad to ask, they will always help you.

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