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Ex-student exchange delegate, OLFU maritime grad now third officer for a Korean vessel
Ex-student exchange delegate, OLFU maritime grad now third officer for a Korean vessel

By: Raymond Lumagsao


By: Raymond Lumagsao

OLFU College of Maritime Student Exchange Program

A proud graduate of the College of Maritime Education (CME) and former student exchange outbound delegate of Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU) in South Korea is swiftly advancing in his maritime career aboard a Korean-owned international fleet after being recently promoted as deck department third officer – thanks to the ever-growing efforts of OLFU towards internationalization.

As OLFU further intensifies its programs to improve the quality of education focusing on inter-institutional cooperation and partnerships, rich rewards are already being reaped– take the testimony of Marine Transportation graduate Gerald Pitt Pineda.

The Fatimanian alumnus is currently working for a Korean bulk carrier vessel mainly designed to move unpackaged bulk cargo of international produce via its cargo holds.

Pineda was one of the pilot legacies of a Student Exchange Program Outbound in August 2018 where he was exposed to the intensive maritime specialization at Mokpo National Maritime University (MMU) in South Korea, a longtime partner institution of OLFU.

Read: South Korea’s MMU, FOSCON to widen Global Opportunities for OLFU-hailed Maritime Aces

In September 2019, only nine months post his student exchange journey with MMU, Pineda was successfully commissioned by another longstanding ally of both OLFU and MMU, the Philippine-registered manning agency FOSCON Shipmanagement Inc., where he came in as a deck cadet.

Even before OLFU’s formal graduation rites in January 2021, the young maritime forerunner had already benefitted from an impressive full-scale training in South Korea known as the largest shipbuilder in the world.

Two years after passing the March 2021 Marina Licensure Examination, it is rather not surprising that OLFU-hailed Pineda is now a third mate, still under FOSCON, handling crucial tasks as the watch stander and ship’s safety officer for a foreign merchant ship.

In hindsight, the University’s internationalization efforts over the years have not only complemented Pineda’s already competitive skills but assisted his landing of a most priceless opportunity, a solid narrative true to the vision of OLFU.

Recounting his invaluable experience as a student exchange delegate, it is interesting to note yet again not only of the academic gist of the program but also the involvement of conscious cultural immersion.

Video Testimonial courtesy of Gerald Pitt Pineda:

“This [student exchange] program is not about just studying abroad [but] is also a way to [be] exposed to [the] Korean culture which is enjoyable. You will meet your Korean classmates who will become your Korean friends. I myself still get in touch with my Korean friends that I met five years ago,” candidly shared Pineda in a video statement obtained by OLFU.

In a holistic perspective, OLFU’s entire investment in internationalization clearly responds to the dynamic academic climate equally responsive to meet the global standard, in this special case, in producing maritime experts.

“The display of the navigational equipment [helped me] understand seamanship and discover how maritime industry works,” shared Pineda noting that the exposure and privilege to train at MMU was a “good introduction to become a mariner.”

Now that he has been onboard for four years already and continuously solidifying a promising career abroad, Pineda only encourages aspiring maritime apprentices to join the same student exchange program as it will provide them a great head start in their careers.

OLFU’s College of Maritime Education Dean Francis Jay Dela Cruz averred, “Pineda’s advancement from cadet to third officer is amazingly fast by industry standards.” He then went on to forecast, “If Pineda continues on his very successful career trajectory, he could very well make it to Captain while just in his 30’s.”

Previously, as flexed by OLFU’s Center for Professional Development and Academic Partnership (CPDAP) in July 2023, four students from the College of Maritime Education were sent anew to Mokpo National Maritime University in South Korea for four months of practicum immersion program. Soon, they could be enjoying the same fruits as Gerald Pitt Pineda when they transition to careers via FOSCON Shipmanagement, Inc., serving on board the world’s best in seafaring fleets.

Needless to say, OLFU sees this perennial international exchange as significant cross-border components to accompany, and even transfigure its established academic mantra – to improve mas as a man – in modern, global-ready fashion. — Raymond Lumagsao

Read: Solidifying International Alliance: OLFU stages Grand IZN Event