The Participants pose for a class photo with Officer-in-Charge (Director-General) Celeste Vinzon-Balatbat (first row, seated third from left), Mr. David Montoya Quirama, Chargé ď Affaires a.i.-Cancillería of the Colombian Embassy, and Mr. Nelfer Velilla Gonzalez. Photo credit: DFA-OSCR

Reaching a milestone in ties with the Government of Colombia, the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) now offers its Spanish Language Course with a native Spanish speaker as instructor. FSI and the Language Center of the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana of Medellin – through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia – collaborated for this Course to be a reality.

            This Course is being offered to Philippine diplomats and public servants whose work entails knowledge of the Spanish language. The Course was officially launched at the FSI on 30 September, which was graced by FSI Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Celeste Vinzon-Balatbat, Colombia Embassy Charges dé Affaires David Montoya Quirama, and the Spanish Language Instructor Nelfer Velilla Gonzalez.

OIC Balatbat expressed her gratitude to the Government of Colombia, through the Embassy of Colombia in Manila, for prioritizing the Philippines as one of the beneficiaries of the program, “Difusión of the Colombian Culture through the teaching of Spanish as a Foreign Language.”

Mr. David Montoya Quirama, Chargé ď Affaires a.i.-Cancillería of the Colombian Embassy, delivers his remarks highlighting the importance of integrating socio-cultural aspects in language courses. Photo credit: DFA-OSCR

By learning a lingua franca, students develop an appreciation of a particular culture. The Course helps students link new Colombian concepts and ideas, hence increase their engagement in the language learning process.

            This promotion of cultural exchange is one of the recent developments in the bilateral cooperation between the Philippines and Colombia. FSI, likewise, continues to strive to deliver adept and contemporary training programs aimed at improving the quality of the work force in the Philippine foreign service.