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Lakaw is a journey is a step is a move. I love to travel around the world and this is my travel and travel gadget site. Welcome and Enjoy!

1 comments | Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The start of the new year means the start of a new semester. Over the past days, I bumped into a number of new international students who moved aimlessly around the residential hall and the GIS department, sporting the one unique appearance you'd never mistake for something else. OK, save your breath, I had the same look when I came here last semester - tolerantly apprehensive, conscience-stricken and bugged up.

Not counting the predestined academic catechisms, the infrequent chat I had with some American friends, would, most of the time, lead to the proverbial question of "Why do I have to study abroad?"

Fact no. 1: I am from the Philippines, a developing country (From now on, I won't be using "third-world" to describe the current overall situation of my motherland. A friend suggested it is better not to label nations with numbers that associate unintentional negative connotations).

Fact no. 2: Obtaining a degree abroad is like winning a lottery, or, in the case of the showbiz-oriented Philippines, it is like winning the best actor award - private institutions, as well as government agencies, will line up to get you for an interview. In a developing country where there are not enough technology and resources that could support 24-carat ideas, the only way to move forward and fulfill your dreams is to study abroad.

During the two years I spent on my master's degree in Europe, foreign students shared the same thoughts as mine vis-a-vis our personal reasons of studying abroad and getting a degree far away from our families and friends. We thought about many things. In a foreign country, we could break loose of our dependent selves. We learned new things by living on our own. We developed a positive self-image and advance our intellectual capacities.

My time spent in Europe became the grandest occasion to make lifelong friendships. Chinese, Spanish, Italian, German, African, American, Greek, Syrian - it was a one-of-a-kind circle of "United Nations" friends. With the communication technology at present, it does not have to cost an arm or leg to nurture the alliance even after graduation.

Studying overseas opened a new world outside my conventional quarters; a sphere from a completely new dimension sprang forth. The most unornamented of affairs took on a new definition when in a foreign land, as I see it.

This might already be a cliche, but it broadens my cultural horizons. In those little European cross-country travels, I developed a deep appreciation of how Dutch people live, Italians eat, the Spanish cook, how the French love their language and the Germans treasure history, among other things. On top of that, it deepened my understanding about certain political and economic issues.

I used to dream of landing a high position in the government sector. Studying abroad has made me more marketable in my field of expertise and be ahead of the pack. If lady luck won't be on my side, I could still push myself into the academic arena - probably sit pretty as a dean in a prestigious private university.

At present, studying here in the United States has its stressful moments, as I have to fine tune (again) a new life and the environment. But making a pitch through all these would only strengthen me as an individual. Being abroad is a life-changing experience, and in the end I will be proud of what I have learned and achieved.

To the new international students, everything will just be fine. Have your heart set on. Sure, it'll be smooth sailing. More of my articles from the Collegian Newspaper.



Blogger Gabby said...

Hey I really liked your article and I totally agree and understand your point of view regarding foreign studies. I have also studied abroad a few times and plan on doing this again for my Masters. I linked you on my blogroll. Have a great day and good luck with your studies! By the way one of my best friends is of Filipino origin and she's really cool! :)

January 26, 2007 3:43 AM


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