How to Make the Most of Your Opportunities Abroad as a Filipino Student
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FOMO can happen even to seasoned Filipino travelers. Because traveling while pursuing higher studies is a bucket-list dream come true, why not carpe diem while you’re there? Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your overseas experience as a Filipino student.
Arrange EVERYTHING before you go
Since you’ll be in it for the long-haul (or at least a couple of months), it’s wise to prep everything so that you’re worry-free when you arrive. Double-check what papers you’ll be needing abroad and consult people who have gone there. Make sure you’ve got health insurance, budget, homestay, clothing, and transportation covered. Pro-tip: Bring a pocket guidebook or app translator in your chosen country.
Culture shock is unavoidable for most Filipinos. The country you are staying in may have a completely different take on religion, philosophy, and politics. Instead of resisting, try adapting to your surroundings and experience the local customs yourself (for example: going home and sleeping in the afternoon for the siestas in Spain).
After all, while most locals are hospitable, you are a foreigner, and you will have to do all the adjusting. Practice self-awareness and have fun in doing so. Learn the proper honorifics, where to throw your trash, the proper way to tell jokes…you get the gist. Oh, and as much as possible, hang out with both fellow overseas students and locals. Travel together, eat together, laugh together.
Trust us—there are tons of amazing people out there who could be your ‘soulmates’. You’ll grow and learn a lot from friends around the world; they’ll give you different viewpoints on life.
Prepare for homesickness
Talk to your family and friends before you leave, and plan out those messaging apps and video call schedule. Sending postcards and letters from half-way around the world is a cool idea, too. And hey, you can always post IG-worthy selfies and landscapes to let everyone in on your adventures. But don’t be that person who sits in the corner, typing on their phone the whole day—you’re there to interact with new people and places first-hand!
This way, you’ll keep in touch while leaving lots of room to make new friends! After everything, you will learn to be comfortable and even miss your new home.
Are you an impulsive spender? Better set hard limits before you start your study abroad experience. Forget expensive souvenirs, fancy dishes, the unpredictable nightlife scene, and expensive tours if you cannot afford them. Our tip? Walk to your destinations as much as you can. Learn the transportation system by heart; and “smell the roses” along quaint and colorful streets.
Delight in free activities sponsored by your school or the local government. Or work part-time, which is allowed for international students, as long as it’s under 20 hours during the semester.
Immerse yourself in a new culture
What else can you do aside from learning the local language? Arrange affordable weekend trips to the countryside. Attend film festivals, visit art museums, watch musicians perform, and savor the local cuisine, just to name a few. Who knows, after attending the country’s most famous sporting event, you might discover your favorite new hobby!
This is the time to discover who you are, far away from where you were raised. Broaden your horizon and document the journey into a better version of yourself.
…But don’t forget to STUDY
It’s easy to get caught up in the travel aspect of your chosen program. And while you’re free to roam around and explore to your heart’s content, just remember the requirements requested by your professors and part-time jobs. Learning takes place both inside and outside the classroom. Back home, we’re used to getting told what to do. But out there, you need to be responsible for your actions and how you represent Filipinos, too.
That’s it! We hope you enjoyed our list of things and make the most of your study abroad opportunity. While you’re here, check out more Study Abroad articles by Edukasyon.ph, made especially for young Filipino students. Good luck and happy travels!
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Tags: preparing to study abroadstudy abroad
About the author
Although she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in Ateneo de Manila University back in 2014, Donna considers herself a lifelong student. She has been professionally crafting guides and content in the evolving digital marketing and start-up industry for over 3 years, with a plan to pursue higher learning opportunities in digital marketing and creative writing. Through her words, she hopes to help students who feel lost about their next career-defining step.