Published by Mary Angela S. Barlongay on January 20, 2017, 12:05AM in Manila Bulletin
More and more students prefer studying abroad not just because of the chance to interact with some of the world’s best professors, study in the world’s best schools, and hobnob with like minded kids who come from all parts of the globe. Studying out of the country also lets students experience a new culture. They learn a different language, meet a diverse range of people, and know about their rich history. It’s a great way to personally discover oneself and to grow as a person. It lets you aim for greater heights and opens more opportunity for you to be able to reach your dream.
It might be scary for most of you to study abroad because you’ll be far away from home and you’ll be stepping outside your comfort zone. But there’s nothing you can’t do if you’re armed with info and a whole lot of courage.
A year and a half before
Choose the right study program/course and school
Choose a program or course that would lead you to your dreams. Assess yourself on the course you want to take. List down your interests and imagine what you want to do in the future. The course you should take should be something you really love, your dream. Then you can choose the right country and university that would suit you and your course. Some schools may not offer the course you want to take. Know more about the facilities of each school that has your course and pick what best suits you. Also take note of the school environment if it’s suitable for you. Learn more about the country of your desired university.
One year before
Take required tests, arrange documents, and fill out applications
Before enrolling in a university abroad, you must first pass therequired exams. Most students take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). It is a widely accepted English language exam taken by international candidates who are planning to study or work in a country where English is the main means of communication.
Submit a proposal to your desired university. The basic requirements that you will need when enrolling are your birth certificate, form 137-A, form 138, and certificate of good moral character issued by your school. If the school grants your proposal, fill out the application form and other requirements. Remember to submit your requirements as early as possible.
Eight months before
Prepare for an interview, passport, and apply for student visa
Applicants who want to get a student visa must be accepted by their school, university, or program and prove that his/her only desire to enter the country of choice is for academic purposes only.
Prepare for two interviews. One is an admission interview to be able to enroll to your desired school while the other one is a personal appearance and interview for your application of student visa. Most schools abroad do not require the student to attend interviews in person because there are growing trends of using video interviews. But most embassies, like the embassy of the Philippines, do not allow application filed on behalf of the student by any agency or proxies. Complete all the required documents of your school’s country embassy before appearing for interview.
Five months before
Learn about their culture and language
Immerse yourself with the local culture and the right conduct and proper etiquette of your future school’s country. Asian countries have a distinct belief that reflects the way they live. In Thailand, the feet are known to be the dirtiest. So never point your feet at a person, never move anything using your feet, and remove your shoes before entering a house.
Also study their language. Know about the basic like morning and afternoon greetings. Try watching foreign films to proper practice your pronunciation.
Four months before
Working part time
Most student visas allow students to work part time. If you wish to earn money while studying abroad, make sure you have enough time off school to balance your studies and work. Search the net for possible jobs near your school or dorm. Look for an easy job online, like working in a coffee shop. You should first adapt to your new country before you start applying for a job.
Three months before
Pack your things
You will be living in another country for almost four years or even more, so you need to prepare everything you need to bring like clothes, shoes, and bags. Look for pieces that would make your room feel like home. Make a list of what you can bring, and what you should be buying abroad.
Two months before
Stay fit and healthy
If you’re planning to study in a European country or in Korea or Canada, be prepared for the change in season. Unlike the Philippines, where there’s only two seasons, wet and dry, countries like China, France, and America, has four seasons—winter, summer, fall, and spring. Be prepared for that change in your lifestyle because fatigue, stress, colds and cough, loss of appetite, and skin irritation are the common health problems due to weather changes. Maintain a well balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, drink vitamins, exercise regularly, and let yourself get used to the cold weather. One way of doing that is by taking cold showers and drinking ice cold water.
You are now embarking on a greater adventure now that you are planning to study abroad. Just enjoy the whole experience because this opportunity is once in a lifetime so grab it while you can.
Scholarships abroad for Filipino students
The French Embassy to the Philippines is giving full scholarships to Filipino students or graduates who wish to study in France. The embassy will shoulder the scholar’s living fees, tuition fees, air travel, and health insurance throughout the program.
The Australia Awards Scholarships, which is funded by the Australian Government, allows high-achieving Filipino scholars to pursue master’s degree at an Australian tertiary institution.
The Philippine-American Educational Foundation (PAEF) (the organization responsible for Fulbright Scholarship Program, Hubert H. Humphrey fellowships, and other educational exchange initiatives) give grants to Filipino and American students, teachers, scholars, and professionals, who wish to study, teach, lecture, and conduct research in the United States.
The Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC) of the Embassy of Japan is giving scholarship to Filipino teachers who want to conduct research on school education at Japanese Universities under the Teacher Training category; and to Filipino undergraduates who wish to pursue Japanese Studies in Japan for one year as part of their degree under the Japanese Studies category.
National University in Singapore (NUS) offers scholarship programs to ASEAN countries including the Philippines. Known as the NUS Graduate Scholarship for ASEAN Nationals (NUS GSA), the program aims to provide opportunities for scholars to meet their full potential and sharpen their skills.