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Studying Abroad

There are lots of schools out there. ABIGAIL AZUL lets you think about the possibility of furthering your academics beyond our shores.

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16 Jul 2012 Print This Post Print This Post

    Photo: www.photoxpress.com

    Looking at the Top 500 Universities List of THES-QS may bring feelings that the Philippine educational system is not competitive enough in the global scale. Some of us may ponder studying in another country of a higher University ranking and coming back to the homeland to share the knowledge learned.

    One’s academic goal is best achieved in a field where wider knowledge, newer facilities and a bigger network of people of the same interest are present. Also, there are degrees available outside of the country specifically for new and rare courses taught only by a handful of teachers.

    Here are some questions on whether you should pursue studying abroad.

    Is your field of study available in the country?

    Some complain that some of the courses in the country are still stuck in the past despite the yearly book revisions and faculty researches. More up-to-date information are available in more advanced universities, more courses and resource speakers. If you want to be an expert in your field, you must keep with the pace of developments in the international arena for a wider exposure and wider application of concepts.

    However, some of the courses are country specific like Law, not to mention some business courses wherein you must be able to understand the local landscape such as with Accounting. Post-graduate degrees abroad are recommended once you get a grasp of the local setting.

    Can you adapt to other cultures?

    When you’re in a new place, you may experience culture-shock and homesickness. If you’ve lived independently in your life, this is not news to you. It’s definitely not a walk in the park specially if you went there alone or have no relative living nearby or have grown accustomed to the comforts in your current life.

    Remember also that being immersed in other cultures means respecting each other’s beliefs and values. A lot of students have grown independent and mature by living with other people, not to mention expanding their network.

    Can you afford it?

    Let’s face it, foreigners are studying in the country because the University fees and living expenses are cheaper here. Studying abroad is, of course, the opposite because of the difference in the cost of living and the money conversion from Peso to Dollar. You need to have money to spend on room rent, school expenses, food and utilities. You need to buy or borrow books and have equipment that is essential for your study. How about airfare when you go home during breaks? How about if you have other unplanned expenses such as medicines?

    A survey of some top universities’ current fees show that a total of $50-60,000 (Php2.1M – 2.5M) are the total living expenses of a foreign University Student per year. Tuition fees per annum average at $20-30,000 (Php840,000-1.26M) with US Universities being the most expensive (starting at $40,000) than other countries’ universities.

    Fortunately, there are available financial aids for different countries but usually it’s tuition that is waived or discounted. Depending on the agreement, some have living arrangements and allowances in exchange for assisting in research projects.

    Scholarships Available for Filipinos

    There are a lot of scholarships available for Filipinos and most of these are offered for post-graduate students. The most popular of these are: the Philippine-American Educational Foundation or more commonly known as the Fulbright Scholarship which is for students aiming to study in US-based Universities, the ADB-Japan Scholarship Program for studies geared towards developing countries and participating universities in the Asia-Pacific Region, the Chevening Scholarships for Master’s Degree Programs in the UK, the Australia Awards for scholarship programs available in Australia and the ASEAN scholarships offered by the Singaporean Government which are available for its member countries for those students who have finished 2nd or 3rd year high school.

    Many might suggest taking local studies instead because there are also viable schools where the foreign university standard is used such as at the Asian Institute of Management; and the difference in distance have been triumphed by the internet. But the concerns on the facilities, career opportunities and the network will be limited also.

    Assess your situation first; analyze which is feasible for you in the long run.



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