THE closing ceremony for two programmes under the Brunei-US English Language Enrichment Project for Asean was held recently at the Waikiki Ballroom of Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii. Eighteen apprentices from the English Teaching Apprenticeship (ETA) Programme as well as 67 participants of the 11-week English Language Programme (ELP) received their certificates of completion at the ceremony which were presented by Dr Salbrina Sharbawi and Dr Terry Bigalke, Project Executives from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and the East-West Center (EWC).
In her opening remarks, Dr Salbrina unveiled plans to set up a LinkedIn page, specifically for the project alumni. Since its inception in 2012, the Brunei-US Project has produced over 300 alumni from its various programmes. Through LinkedIn, an increasingly popular social network for professionals, it is hoped that the alumni will be able to stay connected with the project and one another, to keep up with their professional developments and career advances.
Meanwhile, Dr Bigalke also highlighted the close cooperation between UBD and EWC in implementing the innovative vision for strengthening Asean integration via English language capacity building. “Witnessing the deep engagement and collegial interactions among these participants from across the region gives me great optimism for the vibrant future of an integrated Asean,” he remarked.
During the ceremony, some of the Bruneian apprentices showcased a hula dance performance while the ELP participants presented a media slideshow of activities they had undergone during their four weeks in Hawaii.
Whereas the ELP had just completed its third instalment, the ETA Programme is a new initiative under the Brunei-US English Language Enrichment Project for Asean and the aforementioned 18 Bruneians comprised the first cohort of apprentices. With the main objective of promoting the Brunei-US venture’s sustainability, the programme also seeks to widen employment opportunities for local graduates through the equipment and enhancement of employability attributes and attitudes.
The apprentices will be leaving for their teaching assignments in Cambodia and Lao PDR at the end of December. They will spend a total of 10 months in primary schools in Phnom Penh and Vientiane, teaching English to Year 4 students. As part of their community outreach activities, the apprentices will also be organising English-themed activities with the local communities. – TEXT & PHOTOS: COURTESY OF UBD