Chance for Bruneians to learn English in Hawaii

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APPLICATIONS are now open for Bruneians interested in learning the English language under a regional programme that would take participants to Hawaii.

The programme, under the Brunei-US English Language Enrichment Project for ASEAN, will bring together some 70 participants from the region – seven weeks will be spent in Brunei, and the remaining four in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The programme is divided into two courses: English for teacher-trainers, and English for officers and diplomats.

Under the programme, participants will undertake a series of modules geared towards enhancing professional communication skills and advancing career opportunities.

Depending on the course they are enrolled in, participants may undertake modules covering topics such as English for Publication, English for Networking, The Language of Negotiation and Persuasion, and Regional Issues in ASEAN.

To be eligible, applicants have to be from Brunei, hold a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university or institution that is not from an English-speaking country (including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and have a minimum of five years’ working experience.

They also have to be available full-time to pursue the programme for 11 weeks without interruption, and be deemed medically fit by an authorised physician, among other requirements.

The programme, currently in its third year, is organised by Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) in collaboration with the United States’ East-West Center in Hawaii.

According to Project Executive cum UBD Senior Lecturer Dr Salbrina Hj Sharbawi, there are about 10 slots available for Bruneians in the programme this year.

“We would also like to announce that two scholarships to pursue graduate studies at the Masters level in the United States will also be awarded to the best Bruneian participant from each of the two courses,” she said during a press conference at UBD yesterday.

Speaking to The Brunei Times, Dr Salbrina said they are targeting applicants who were at their mid-career level – those who are able to contribute and give back to their community, their government and to their countries.

“If you take a look at the application form, there is a section where we ask a question in terms of how (applicants) can contribute and give back to their countries and ASEAN,” she explained.

Dr Salbrina also said a yearly evaluation was done at the end of each programme, whereby feedback was received from the participants, as well as facilitators, in order to improve on any shortcomings.

“This year, we are working closely with other ministries – for instance, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports will be organising a one-day cultural workshop this time on sopan santun and traditional Brunei Malay dances.

“We are also working closely with the district officers of the Ministry of Home Affairs. In the past, homestays (as part of the programme activities) were only in Temburong. This year, they will also be staying in a Brunei-Muara village, as well as one in Tutong,” she added.

The project executive also said some of the participants from previous programmes had reported back, giving credit to the programme for its assistance in helping them develop their confidence in English delivery.

“A few of (the programme alumni) have actually updated us on their developments. For example, one Indonesian is now doing his Masters in Australia, after he was awarded an Australian scholarship – which he attributed to this programme,” Dr Salbrina further said.

The Brunei-US English Language Enrichment Project for ASEAN is a five-year project supported by Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the US Department of State.

The project aimed to improve English language proficiency, build and strengthen teaching capacity, as well as strengthen understanding of ASEAN and its cultural diversity.

Application forms can be obtained online from

All applications must be submitted to the Civil Service Department via applicants’ departments/ministries by April 7.

The Brunei Times