by Ivan Kurt M. Monasterial
In the realm of caring and compassion, Ms. Nirza, fondly known as Ate Mai among her friends and colleagues, embodies the nurturing instinct that defines a mother. As the Program Associate of the MOVE-UP Program, specializing in internationalization and financial assistance for undergraduates at the UP System, she plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of aspiring scholars. Ms. Nirza has been an integral part of the Office of International Linkages (OIL) since 2017 and currently manages both MOVE-UP and OIL Office Ecology.
Her journey with the MOVE-UP Program has been challenging yet empowering and enriching. Drawing from a wealth of experience, Ms. Nirza imparts a crucial lesson she has learned and wishes to share: “Learn how to extend yourself. Malasakit sa tao ang makakapagtulak sa’yo” (Care for others will drive you).
In a world where opportunities to travel abroad are considered a luxury, Ms. Nirza emphasizes the transformative impact of MOVE-UP’s Financial Assistance, especially for UP Scholars. Viewing international mobility as a life-changing experience, she notes that for these scholars, the chance to study abroad is invaluable. The exposure to diverse cultures and knowledge leaves an indelible mark, shaping their character in profound ways that cannot be quantified.
Acknowledging the challenges of the job, Ms. Nirza recognizes the hardships but underscores the significance of the experiences gained by students. The difficulties are outweighed by the joy she witnesses when these scholars return, their growth evident in their changed perspectives.
Leading in the field of internationalization within a government institution like our very own National University is no small feat. Ms. Nirza entered with the initial goal of supporting her family and ensuring her son’s education. However, reflecting on her journey, she now emphasizes the importance of heart—”Puso”—in the work she does. It’s not just about fulfilling duties; it’s about bringing passion and purpose to every task.
As our conversation drew to a close, Ms. Nirza shared words of wisdom for the youth aspiring to venture into the realm of internationalization. She urged them to contemplate their purpose, whether in life or work. Recognizing the inevitable challenges and pressures, she emphasized that the key to resilience lies in a deep-seated desire to serve others—a commitment that embodies the spirit of the Oblation.
In Ms. Nirza’s world, the work is not just a job; it’s a calling to nurture dreams and transform lives, one student mobility at a time.