The Belen overseas Study program to Asia was started in 2013 in order to increase Asian Awareness in the Belen community. Mr. Cleveland was asked to create this program after having founded and moderated the Overseas Study Program in the Social Studies Department for over 18 years.
The Belen OSP to Asia works in conjunction with the Matteo Ricci China Club, the Belen Foreign Exchange Program with our brother Jesuit school in Taipei, Taiwan, St. Ignatius High School, and the Chinese Language and Culture classes or Chinese 1,2 ,3 currently being offered in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grade as electives.
The Belen Overseas Study Program to Asia focuses on Asian cultures because they have an entirely different perspective from western civilization and is therefore in need of understanding. Mandarin speakers alone constitute over 1.8 billion people. This represents a population that is 6 times the size of the United States.
Through the use of travel, the participants are able to journey to countries such as China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, and other Asian or Eurasian countries under the safety of the educational tour company, EF tours. Although many would admit that countries such as Japan or China are places on their “bucket list”, they would also admit that the likelihood of traveling without a well-organized tour was small. The OSP to Asia thereby fulfills this opportunity.
Remembering the work of Jesuits such as Matteo Ricci: missionary to China, Francis Xavier; missionary to Japan, and Fr. General Pedro Arrupe; missionary to Japan, help to acquaint students with the Jesuit directive of global education and the desire of Pope Francis to increase the number of Asian seminarians. Through the use of experience, reflection, and action, prayerfully, this goal will be achieved.