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Friday, 29 June 2007

Compelled to Have a Car?

Since most students are on a limited budget and most universities are accessible via public transportation, we recommend that you stick it out with public trains and buses, bicycles, and rollerblades while you are studying. We suggest that you consider the idea of buying or leasing a car, should you still want to, once you find employment.

You must remember that when you buy or lease a car, you not only have to pay for the car monthly, but that you also have to pay for car insurance, parking, parking tickets, car washes, maintenance every 3,000 miles, etc. In Tokyo, you cannot even buy a car unless you can prove that you have a parking space for it! In Japan and the UK, you also have the additional challenge of learning to drive from the right side of the car.

An additional procedure you may have to go through is to change your Philippine or international driver's license to a local driver's license. And depending on the rules of your local motor vehicle’s office, you might be required to take the driving test or written test again. Another warning, for some reason, in the US, most Department of Motor Vehicles offices always seem to have long, long lines. It took Titchie, almost five hours to get her driver's license, the actual test only took 15-20 minutes. The rest was spent waiting! Bring something to read when you go.

Once you have made the decision to buy a car, our advice is to make sure that you do all the necessary research before showing up at a car dealership. Car company's web sites usually have all the information that you need: car features, accessories, colors, mileage information, price. Another piece of advice: “If you are female, bring along a male companion, it's sad but that's the reality,” says one of our interviewees. We hate to generalize, but too often many dealers assume that women don't know anything about cars. And yes, you’re a foreigner to boot.

Once you've chosen which car you like and the features that you absolutely need and can afford, go to the car dealership with your guarantor or co-signor and begin the car purchasing/leasing process. The dealer will usually try to convince you to purchase more warranties or additional features as you sign the paperwork so it’s best that you know what you want before you close the deal.

Similar to the guarantor for apartments, the co-signor to your car loan is a legal resident of that country who will assume the responsibility of paying for your loan should you default. Inform the co-signor that their credit history will be checked since you as an international student do not have a credit history yet.

You should also consider used cars (also called pre-owned cars) which are advertised in newspapers, websites (like in the US), or in the car dealership. You can usually get these at a lower cost. Test drive the car before you buy it, and ask a friend who knows about cars to come with you so he or she can help you inspect the car and see how well it runs. Check the car’s documentation (registration, inspection certificates, etc.) to make sure that these are all in order.

In the US, one is usually expected to make a 20% down payment for new cars, after which you pay the difference via the dealership's credit business monthly. One is also required to have car insurance when purchasing a car. Car insurance rates depend on where you lived, and can be obtained by applying for it on your own or though the car dealership.

Finally, once you have purchased or leased the car, keep track of the mileage you are putting on it. The less mileage there is the more you can get for the car should you want to sell it later.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Bracing Yourself for Cold Weather

Be prepared for the winter season! Below are some of our tips:

1. Dress the part. Make sure you have the necessary ensemble:

Hat/Cap – the more it covers your ears the better
Scarf - long enough to wrap around your neck twice. Check out ways to use your scarf in the following pages.
Winter coat
Thermal Underwear – at least for the legs. The inconvenience of thermal underwear for your top is that it’s difficult to remove.
Sweaters - Buy sweaters that are easy to remove. Sometimes, you can end up in a classroom where the heat is on full-blast and you'll end up sweating heavily under all those layers.
Gloves – preferably lined with cashmere, polartec or thinsulate, will keep your hands warm better
Thick socks
Snow shoes - get the one with spikes if you expect to be walking through ice. Best to ask locals how cold winters can get in your adoptive cities. If you live in cities where the ice melts quickly, regular rubber soled shoes should be fine.

2. Moisturize. Old man winter affects both men and women. Make sure you have a heavy moisturizing lotion in your bathroom. You may also want to carry a small bottle in your knapsack along with some lip balm. For severely dry skin, try using the balm used for mountain climbing. It's available where hiking equipment is sold.

3. Drink lots of water.

4. Buy/ borrow a humidifier. It is a simple machine that converts water to mist to put mist in the air. This keeps the skin from drying and itching as a result of dry air from heaters. (If you can’t afford a humidifier, you can also put a damp towel near the heater.)

5. Even if the temperature is low, walk around, build a snow man, go ice-skating. Exposing yourself to the sunlight keeps one from getting "SAD." Seasonal Affective Disorder is a kind of depression that occurs seasonally usually during the winter months. We’re not kidding. So, go out. Seek counseling if you feel depressed for an unusual period of time.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Four Ways to Wrap A Scarf

Who knew tying a scarf would be so complicated? Here are a few techniques we learned from other students.

1. Crisscross wrap – Fold the scarf into two (if long) and put the middle part in the nape of your neck. Pull both ends down and cross them against the other. Tuck the scarf under your coat so it won’t be blown away by the wind.

2. Brown-paper package – Put the middle of the scarf on the nape of your neck and then cross the ends against each other. Tie a knot against your neck. Gather the ends again but this time on the opposite side of your neck. Tie a knot.

3. Aviator Snoopy – Put the middle of the scarf on your throat and pull the ends away from you. Tie a knot on your nape. If your scarf is long, wrap it around your neck once more but leave it loose so it moves with the wind. During the Spring, this style is also great for thin scarves, it will also help keep your throat warm.

4. Bookmark - (for long scarves only) Fold the scarf into two and then put the middle part of the folded scart in the nape of your neck. Pull both ends down then insert the section with the trimming inside the loop on the other end. Pull the trimming side tightly against your neck to make sure the scarf wont move around.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007


Studying abroad is a major lifestyle change, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Aside from academic challenges, there will be the adjustment to a new environment, with its own language, weather, transportation, expenses, and culture. It can also mean leaving your family behind and experiencing bouts of terrible homesickness. In some cases it may lead to the forging of a new identity. For many, the situation will be a startling departure from life in the Philippines, where everybody practically knows everyone else.

While leaving the familiar might be an intimidating prospect there is also the lure of learning all about a new place, meeting different people, and even discovering the things you are capable of accomplishing without the usual support system you may have had in the Philippines.

So before you fill out those application forms and pay those hefty application fees, consider the following:

1. Do you really need a foreign degree?

Studying outside of the country usually provides limitless possibilities, and can give you an edge. A foreign degree usually signifies a good solid educational background, exposure to international situations, and a maturity that goes with living on your own in a foreign country.

A foreign degree does not always equate itself with equivalent compensation. Comfort yourself with the thought that having a foreign degree in your resumé will always give you the edge over others. For graduate students, this advantage will depend on your field. Some may argue that experience is the best teacher, but in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace a degree from abroad is one way of setting you apart from the competition. Nevertheless, it is always best to couple the advantage afforded by a foreign degree with some relevant work experience done while abroad.

2. Is it the right time to pursue studying abroad?

If you plan on to college abroad, we recommend going to school immediately after high school. This way, everything you studied is still fresh. For those considering a graduate degree, it would be ideal to work for (at least) 2 years just so you have experience in a “real” work situation. Some of the classes you might take will refer to your experiences in the workplace or will require technical expertise gained from practical experience.

Leaving a year for preparation gives you time to take the necessary exams, scout out possible schools and to prepare for departure. Some schools allow Spring/Winter (January) enrollment while other will only allow you to begin your program in the Fall semester (September).

3. Can you afford it?

A foreign degree is significantly more expensive than a degree in the Philippines. Aside from the glaring fact that tuition fees and living expenses are paid in a foreign currency (factor in exchange rates, bank interests, etc), you also move to a city whose costs of living are usually much higher than any city in the Philippines. Business, computer, medical, and law courses are always more costly, in part because they have higher expected returns.

Aside from tuition, other expenses to consider are lodging, transportation, books, clothing allowance (an absolute must for countries/states that have colder climates), and food. For more details on the budget, our section on Money Matters contains a Sample Budget Breakdown.
You don’t have to carry the financial burden alone. There are a large variety of scholarships available; it is just a matter of finding them. Of course, it would be an enormous advantage for you if your grades are good, you receive glowing academic and professional recommendations, and earned high scores in your entrance exams (SAT, GMAT). It is also possible to get accepted into the program, and then apply for financial aid/scholarships in your particular department. This is because the department will not always include partial scholarship information in their catalogs and bulletins. You only find out about the financial aid when you actually go to the department office. (A word of caution: MBAs in the U.S. generally do not offer scholarships.)

A case in point: When Tricia learned about an available scholarship in her department, she immediately applied and was granted free tuition. In exchange, she worked as a graduate assistant in her department’s office. A friend of ours, Lia Uy-Tioco was also offered a partial scholarship after a semester in the NYU Publishing Studies program. A compilation of scholarships recommended by our survey respondents and our research on the web is provided at the end of this chapter.

4. Have you decided on your school and program?

Selecting your school is a major decision, too. There might be schools rated in the top 10 but the program you selected might not be its greatest strength. There are several smaller, lesser-known colleges and universities with well-respected programs in various fields. Even with MBAs, each school will have its unique strength—Marketing, IT, Finance, General Management, Entrepreneurial, etc.

School location is another important factor. For example, New York might be attractive for some people because of its cultural offerings, the diversity of its residents, or simply because it’s the center of publishing, media and finance. Of course there are trade-offs: Living expenses are higher, and studying might become difficult with the many distractions offered by the city.

Consider whether you prefer a smaller college where you get to know everyone compared with the sprawling universities where you might become just another face in the crowd. The other side of the coin is the possibility of sticking out uncomfortably, particularly in schools where the Asian student population is small. You should weigh carefully the various climates found within universities in your choice of a college, as the atmosphere may affect your studies and social life while away from home.

A hint on research: Aside from the Web sites we recommend, try approaching the Embassy of the country where you want to study. They usually provide a database of schools and information about the area where these schools are located. It is valuable for you to know the temperature of the community wherein the school finds itself in. There is usually an education representative within the Embassy who can address all your questions and concerns about studying abroad, especially about studying in their country. With the increasing number of foreign students, most universities and colleges welcome inquiries about their programs.

The Pros and Cons of Studying Abroad

If you have the opportunity and financial wherewithal to study abroad, we heartily endorse it. However, we want you to have the complete picture. Following are some pros and cons to studying overseas.



Foreign colleges and universities offer many wonderful resources. Your expensive tuition is reflected in many ways: libraries with vast holdings (and the opportunity to access other school libraries as well), state-of-the-art computer laboratories, professors who are leaders in their respective fields (some of whom could have written your required textbooks). The section on “Academics” best describes how you can take advantage of these facilities, while the section on Entertainment will give you an idea how schools provide free recreation for their students.

*Exposure to a New Culture

Despite our very westernized culture, studying in another country will always prove itself an eye-opening experience. Even if you’ve traveled and visited the country where you plan to live and study, the experience of living there will be very different. Even it’s an English-speaking country you’re headed for, they will always have a different way of expressing themselves, one you are not easily privy to. The feel of a place will always be different—from that experienced by a visitor versus that lived through by a resident.

You will immediately realize, once you have settled into your new city and school, that things we may take for granted do not apply and may not concern a majority of the population of your new home. Belief in a god is not essential much less the practice of a religion (i.e., not everyone is Christian, not even in varying degrees of practice or belief), rice is not a staple, and obsession with the weather is a natural part of life (especially in the winter) are just a few examples. Our section“Being Filipino Abroad” describes what it’s like to be in a new culture.

*Living Independently

This might not be reflected in your transcript but doing things on your own is definitely a character-building experience. In the Philippines, it is very easy to delegate tasks. Household help cook meals, launder clothes, even clean up your room and the trail of mess you may leave in your wake. The office messenger delivers your mail, lines up for your bills, deposits your checks, photocopies and runs other little errands for you, all these while you’re out working or studying or generally being busy. Should there be an emergency, family members or friends are there to help.

It is expensive, and oftentimes unthinkable (but it has been known to happen!), for students to hire these same services while studying abroad. Your budget will quickly disappear if you insist on eating at a restaurant everyday, hire a housekeeper, or leave all your clothes and sheets at the cleaners! It may not seem like much, but things we would normally not have to worry about—like knowing how to open a bank account, cooking your meals, doing your own laundry, cleaning your place, and even photocopying—are things which will ultimately help in your adjustment.


Again, this is not quantifiable. Living abroad gave us a more realistic perspective of home, our host country, and even ourselves. We soon realized that the Philippines is not the center of foreign policy or even a priority in international news. People Power Two was barely a blip in the news radar, and we were hard put to find local news as we frantically flipped through the channels. We also learned to appreciate stuff we hated when we were back home and vice-versa. It also gave us an international perspective, since we not only had American classmates but fellow foreign students from all over the world as well.


As we mentioned earlier, a degree from abroad makes you stand out from the rest of the pack.



Studying abroad is expensive. Tuition fees are a great deal higher than the ones offered in the Philippines. If you see your education as a purely monetary investment, you might think there is a smaller rate of return, given the cost of your education. Aside from tuition fees, there are also other expenses such as board and lodging, transportation, entertainment, books, etc. These expenses can be defrayed by working part-time (Titchie worked as a student assistant in school), or getting a scholarship (Tricia received a Department Scholarship by working in the department). A good education may lead to a good job (and it usually does) that will make up for expenses later on. Our “Finance” section will give you tips on how to save money.


Once the dust has settled, and the initial excitement has worn off, homesickness slowly creeps in. Titchie was lucky to have lots of family in New York; she also had friends studying and working in the U.S. Even with this support system, she still missed her family (and the family dog) as well as the comforts of home.

It can also get pretty tiring being a ‘visitor’ to a new city and culture. There will be times when you will seek the relief of talking in Filipino, instead of constantly trying to find the equivalent in your host country’s language; of eating daing, tuyo, adobo or binagoongan without having to apologize to your roommates or new-found friends for the smell.

*The Cultural Divide

Cultural stereotypes are unavoidable and in a post-9/11 world some people are a little leery of foreigners. We haven’t had any major negative experiences, but we have had some minor encounters. People have various misconceptions. Some do not expect you to be able to speak or understand English and will be clearly amazed when they see your grasp of the language; others will have great difficulty in understanding what you say (it is not that your English is grammatically wrong, hopefully, but that your accent will be different).

*Competitive Job Market Overseas

If you plan to work after you graduate and you are a Filipino citizen, be prepared for an uphill battle. Some countries prioritize the locals, the members of neighboring countries. Last on their list are foreigners. If you are not in a priority occupation (nurses, doctors, telecommunications, computer programmers are some of the most popular at this time), it will be more difficult to find work. Not impossible, mind you, just more difficult.

Weighing Your Options

First, decide what kind of studies you have in mind—undergraduate, graduate (MBA, MA, MPP, MS, etc.), post graduate (doctoral), or certificate courses. Undergraduate degrees may take 3-4 years to complete depending on the course Graduate degrees take a year to 2 years on average, but medicine, dentistry and law may take longer. Doctoral degrees take much longer depending on how long it takes you to write your dissertation.

There are various possibilities to studying abroad. If you are thinking of going to college in another country, the most likely thing to do is to go immediately after high school. For graduate students, there are more options. The most popular option is to work and gain experience first before heading straightaway to grad school. Most of the people we know worked for two years (at least) before they applied to schools overseas. The reason for the delay is simple: working gives you a better idea about what you want to do in the future. Graduate school can also be very specialized, and if you have work experience will give you some focus which will hold you in good stead during your studies.

Others who are immersed in the world of the academe might prefer to go to grad school immediately after receiving their undergraduate degrees. Some people opt for a program that combines a college and masters degree (in many cases a 4 to 5 year stint). Others also have the masters to doctoral degree option.

Certificate courses are the best option for people who only have 2 to 3 months to spare because of family and work responsibilities. This is also significantly cheaper than going for a whole year of school and can often be equally valuable.

If after weighing the pros and cons, and you think studying abroad still is not worth it, you can still pursue your graduate degree back home. Many of Titchie’s friends pursued their MBAs at AIM. Titchie actually started studying at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business before she was accepted at NYU. Another option are long distance classes (and Open Universities), or opting to become an exchange student. You can also go to a school affiliated with foreign universities like the Thames School of International Business, where they give the option of studying abroad after completing an advance diploma.

On Making a Decision

Studying abroad is a major decision and should not be taken lightly. It has been a life changing decision for many and it could be the same for you. When trying to make a decision, a pros and cons list can help sort out your thoughts. Since selecting your school can be a mind-boggling decision, we have made a listing of the criteria you need to consider when selecting a school:(1)Location, (2)Facilities, (3)Professors, (4)Ranking in Surveys, (5)Cost, (6)Accessibility, (7)Program, (8) Scholarships Available, (9)Graduate Feedback.

Tip: How accurate are College Guides? Before you start buying every available college guide, make sure you know the criteria for ranking schools. The popular “US News World Report Guide” bases 25 percent of the ranking on perceptions of university presidents, provosts, and admissions directors. It’s a good idea to use the guide to find out what’s out there but don’t base your decision on this alone.

You might want to read this article on how some liberal arts colleges are dropping out of the"US News World Report Guide -http://http//

On Getting a Scholarship

Getting a scholarship is not an intimidating prospect as it may appear to be. There are many scholarships out there and it is just a matter of finding them. We have compiled a list of scholarships available to Filipinos, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. You may also discover scholarships at your college once you begin the term. Be sure that you are aware of the specific requirements of every scholarship you may apply for. Scholarships like the Fulbright will have you return to the Philippines after you complete your studies.

If you are the recipient of a scholarship make sure you know what it covers so know what else you will need to pay for out of your own pocket.

Partial List of Scholarships

Our list is a compilation of recommendations from our survey respondents and research on the web. Let us know if the information needs to be changed or updated. Thanks!

IDP Education Australia is a non-profit company owned by Australian universities with over 30 years experience in helping international students make the right decision on their course of study in Australia.

Programs and Services:
professional and technical advice on finding the most suitable institution for students and application and admission procedures to Australian universities, TAFEs (Technical and Further Education) and schools library of information brochures, handbooks, videos and CD-ROM on Australia's educational system and universities guidance on scholarships in Australian universities assistance with industry training, short courses and study tours

Australian Development Scholarships, International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (IPRS) scheme, Research Fellowships Scheme

IDP Philippines
2/F Pioneer House Makati
108 Paseo de Roxas
Legaspi Village
Makati City, Metro Manila
Tel: +632 816 0755
Fax: +632 815 9875
Country Director: Mr Andrew King
Office Hours Mon-Fri: 9.30am-4:00pm; Sat: 8:30am-2:30pm

The Scholarship Database contains details on the full range of DAAD programs available to foreign students, scientists and academics looking for opportunities with which to fund a study or research stay in Germany.

The scholarships offered by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) are awarded to younger university graduates from all academic disciplines as well as from the fields of music and art (and, in exceptional cases, to advanced students). Support is also available for young academics and scientists, university teachers and groups completing study visits under the guidance of a university teacher. This support is largely financed from public funds made available via the Federal Foreign Office.
German Academic Exchange Service

Application address
Embassy of the Federal
Republic of Germany
6/F, Solidbank Building 777
Paseo de Roxas
Makati City
1226 Metro Manila

Further information and advice
Stefan Zinsmeister
University of the Philippines
College of Arts and Letters
Dept. of European Languages
1101 Quezon City
Metro Manila

The scholarships listed are part of the Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) Scholarships:

In-Service Training for Teachers Scholarship covers one-and-a-half-year training program that is open to elementary and high school teachers and employees of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. Applicants must be less than 35 years of age, have at least five years of teaching experience, and be willing to study at a Japanese university for professional improvement.

Japanese Studies Scholarship covers an intensive one-year non-degree Japanese studies program for individuals between the ages of 18 and 30. Applicants must be enrolled as undergraduate university students majoring in studies related to Japan, and they must continue their undergraduate studies in the Philippines after spending time abroad.

Undergraduate Scholarships covers a five-year period of study in Japan, and it targets individuals interested in pursuing college-level studies in the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Natural Sciences. Applicants must be the age of 17 and 22 and they must have completed 12 years of formal education or have graduated from a school equivalent to a senior high school in Japan.

Research scholarship leading to a masters or PhD covers a one-and-a-half to two-year period study in Japan, and it targets individuals under 35 years of age wishing to conduct research in fields related to those they previously studied within the scope of the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. Individuals applying for this scholarship are advised to secure a letter of acceptance from a Japanese university.

Research Scholarship leading to either a Master’s degree or PhD.

Professional Training School (Senshu-Gakko) Scholarship is open to individuals wishing to pursue a 3-year non-degree vocational study program in the following fields: Civil Engineering, Architecture, Electrical Engineering, Electronics, Telecommunications, Nutrition, Infant Education, Secretarial Studies, Hotel Management, Tourism, Fashion and Dressmaking, Design, Photography, etc. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 22 and must have completed 12 years of formal education or have graduated from a school equivalent to a senior high school in Japan.

College of Technology Scholarship is open to individuals wishing to pursue a 4-year non-degree study program at a Japanese college of technology in one of the following fields: Material Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electronic Control Engineering, Computer Science and Information Engineering, Architecture and Civil Engineering, or Mercantile Marine Studies. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 22 and must have completed 11 years of formal education or have graduated from a school equivalent to a senior high school in Japan.

Embassy of Japan
Japan Information and Cultural Center

2627 Roxas Boulevard, 1300
Pasay City, Philippines
Tel: +632 551 5710
Fax: +632 551 5780

For Visas and Consular Matters:
Tel: +632 834 7514
Fax: +632 834 7514

Consular Office of Japan in Cebu
7/F Keppel Center
Samar Loop corner
Cardinal Rosales Avenue,
Cebu Business Park,
Cebu City
Tel: +63-32 2317321
Fax: +63-32 2316843
Consular Office of Japan in Davao
Suite B305. 3/F Plaza de Luisa Complex,
140 Ramon Magsaysay Avenue, 8000 Davao
Tel: 082-2213100
Fax: 082-2212176

Fulbright Grants are for either degree or non-degree graduate study in a US University, or for advanced lecturing, or research. Non-degree grants are for one-year doctoral enrichment or dissertation research. All fields are eligible except Medicine, Dentistry, Physical Therapy, Nursing and Law. Application period for degree and non-degree graduate study grants is from February to May of each year. Application period for advanced lecturing and/or research grants is from September to November.

Graduate Student Program
Scholarship to Filipinos to study at the graduate level (master's or doctoral studies) or pursue non-degree doctoral enrichment or doctoral dissertation research in the United States.

Grants under the Philippine Fulbright Student Program are for a period of six months to one year for a non-degree study and two years for master's and doctoral degree studies. The grant provides for round-trip international travel, monthly maintenance allowance, tuition and fees, books and supplies, thesis/dissertation allowance, and health and accident insurance.

Advanced Research and University Lecturing Program
Fellowships to Filipino academics and professionals to lecture and/or conduct research in the United States:

These awards are given to academics for conducting research or lecturing in the United States. Awards cover travel, tuition, stipend, books, and professional activities, and health and accident insurance. Applications are accepted by PAEF between September and November of every year. All fields are eligible except medicine, nursing, engineering, applied mathematics and applied sciences.

Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowships sends outstanding mid-career Filipino professionals in public service from both the public and private sectors for a year of university study and work-related practical experience. Fellowships are granted competitively in the fields of natural resources and environmental management, public policy analysis and public administration, economic development, agricultural development, finance and banking, human resource management, urban and regional planning, public health, technology policy, educational planning, law and human rights, and communications/journalism. Application period is from June to August.

Fulbright-Philippine Agriculture Scholarship Program (FPASP)
Established on December 15, 1999, the Fulbright-Philippine Agriculture Scholarship Program (FPASP) uses U.S. Public Law 480 Food for Peace Program funds to develop human resources from the Philippine agricultural and fisheries sectors. Working closely with the Department of Agriculture, PAEF gives awards to Filipinos from the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries fields to pursue graduate degree and non-degree study, research, and consultations in the United States; and to Americans to do lecturing, research and consultations in the Philippines. Filipinos may apply for either graduate study grants (Ph.D or master's degree) or non-degree research grants.

Fully-funded awards cover such costs as international travel, tuition and fees, monthly maintenance allowance, books and supplies, and health and accident insurance.

Applicants are interviewed in July and successful candidates notified in October. Grantees are expected to begin their studies in the U.S. between July and September of the following year.
Philippine-American Education Foundation (PAEF)
10/F Ayala Life/FGU Center-Makati
6811 Ayala Avenue
226 Makati City

Tel: +632 8120919 / 8120945
Fax: +632 812082


The East-West Graduate Degree Fellowship
Graduate Degree Fellowships are available to individuals interested in participating in the educational and research programs of the East-West Center while pursuing graduate degree study at the University of Hawaii. Fellowships for both master's (24 month) and doctoral (48 month) degrees are available. Center scholarships are given for degree study at the University of Hawaii and participation in the Center's international and intercultural programs.

Recipients of the fellowship who are single or married with no accompanying dependents below 18 years of age are required to reside in Center dormitories. The Center and the University of Hawaii, located in a unique island setting with a distinctive multicultural heritage, offer premier resources for Asian, Pacific and U.S. studies.

Degree fellows have opportunities to participate in the Center's research projects in several areas of international study, including Economics, Politics and Security, Environment, Population and Health, Education, and Pacific Islands Development.
In addition, the Center and the University of Hawaii offer graduate certificate programs in Leadership Studies, International Cultural Studies, Population Studies, and Resource Management. Degree fellows must be involved in an East-West Center research project or complete a certificate program.

EWC-UHM Scholarship Office,
Burns Hall 2066
East-West Center
1601 East-West Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96848-1601

AYALA Scholarship Fund (Harvard)
Eugenio LOPEZ Scholarship Fund (Harvard)
Restrictions, in order of preference: Citizens of the Philippines; Asian nationals; American students of Filipino descent; Students of Filipino or Asian history, languages, or other related subjects.

Nomination Process: Students do not apply directly to CGS for Restricted Scholarships. Instead, the Harvard Financial Aid Offices forward the names of eligible candidates to CGS. In April or May of each year, CGS convenes a selection committee to review all nominations and award Restricted Scholarships for the following academic year.

The Asian Development Bank - Japan Scholarship Program (ADB Scholarship)

Each scholarship covers full tuition fees, an allowance for books and instructional materials, a monthly subsistence, medical insurance and travel expenses. For scholars engaged in research, a special grant may be made to assist in field work and thesis preparation. In special circumstances computer literacy, preparatory language and other similar courses may be covered under the scholarship.

If you are a citizen of a developing member country of the Bank who has been admitted to one of the specified study programs in the participating academic institutions, you may be considered for a scholarship. The Program especially welcomes women applicants and individuals who have limited financial access to higher studies. Upon completion of the study, you are expected to return to your home country. Candidates should be physically fit.

Participating institutions:

Asian Institute of Management
Asian Institute of Technology
East-West Center / University of Hawaii
Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
International Rice Research Institute/University of the Philippines in Los Banos
International University of Japan
Lahore University of Management Sciences
Graduate School of Internation Development, Nagoya University
National Center for Development Studies / Australian National University
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
National University of Singapore
Saitama University
Thammasat University
University of Auckland
University of Hongkong
University of Melbourne
University of Sydney

ADB-Japan Scholarship Program
Office of the Co-financing Operations
Postal address:
P.O. Box 789, 0980 Manila, Philippines
Fax: +632 636 2444; +632 636 2456

Visit us:
Room 7662 East
Asian Development Bank
#6 ADB Avenue,
Mandaluyong City
0401, Metro Manila, Philippines

University of Notre Dame, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies - Masters in Peace Studies

Ford Foundation's International Fellowships Program (IFP)

Philippine Social Science Council (PSSC)
Commonwealth Avenue,
Diliman, Quezon City
Tel: +632 922-9621 to 30 / 926-2061

Rotary International Interested applicants must apply for Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarships through their local Rotary club.

The Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture administers and offers two scholarships in the field of culture: Training of Professionals in the Cultural Sector and Cultural Heritage Studies
Embassy of Spain

Becas Mae
Medium/long term (one year, renewable for another year) to undertake postgraduate studies in Spain
Short term (one to three months) for Spanish language and culture courses, Hispanistas research from all over the world.

Agencia Espanola de Cooperacion Internacional (AECI)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain

For more information please contact the Spanish Technical Cooperation Office: (632) 527.57.55/56
Website: (Philippines) (Headquarters-Spain).

United Kingdom
British Chevening Scholarship are awarded to 12 individuals from the Philippines. Scholarships may be for a study in a non-technical subject and are given to those wishing to follow full-time postgraduate courses or research at a UK institution of higher education. In the past awards have been given to study international affairs, environmental studies, diplomatic studies, journalism, law, business, economics and other related subjects. However, other subjects are not excluded, although technical courses do not qualify for the award. Awards are normally made for formal courses such as Master’s degree, but are occasionally given for shorter vocationally oriented courses, or for research attachments between three to six months but not for more than one year of study. Preference is given to those already established in a career, and applicants should have at least two years of experience in their chosen fields. Scholarships for one-year postgraduate courses British

The Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund (SCSF) offers a one-year full-cost scholarship to over 60 postgraduate students from developing countries each year. It empowers the scholars to gain skills that will make a long-term contribution to the further development of their countries. The program also aims to increase cross-cultural understanding by stimulating international exchange, and strengthen links between Britain and the countries concerned.

A number of scholarships are also jointly funded with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as part of its Chevening Program, and are known as Shell Centenary Chevening Scholarships.

Cambridge Scholarships
Three scholarships are offered annually in collaboration with the FCO for students from the Philippines Citibank Cambridge Scholarship: One scholarship offered from time to time in collaboration with Citibank for study in Finance or Economics for students from a number of countries including the Philippines.

Shell Centenary Cambridge Scholarships:
Up to ten scholarships are offered annually in collaboration with Shell International for study in Applied Sciences and Technology, including Environmental Sciences, Business Management and Economics for students from a number of countries outside the Commonwealth including the Philippines.

Tate & Lyle/FCO Cambridge Scholarships: Up to ten scholarships offered annually in collaboration with Tate & Lyle PLC and the FCO for students from a number of countries including the Philippines; successful applicants are expected to return to their home country at the end of their course of study.

Value Scholarships:
One-year postgraduate courses of study which will cover the University Composition Fee at the overseas rate approved College fees, a maintenance allowance sufficient for a single student, and a contribution to a return economy airfare

British Embassy
Karen Jimenez
Public Affairs Officer
British Embassy
17/F L.V. Locsin Building
6752 Ayala Avenue corner
Makati Avenue
1226 Makati City

The British Council
10/F Taipan Place
Emerald Avenue, Ortigas Center
Pasig City 1605
Tel: +632 9141011 to 14
Fax: +632 9141020



International Scholarships for Students from the Philippines
The University of Birmingham has a long tradition of welcoming international students from around the world. As a leading research-led institution, the University attracts students of the highest caliber and offers a range of scholarships to reward outstanding academic achievement. The University offers post graduate scholarships to Filipinos.

The Scholarships Assistant -
The International Office
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT
Fax: +44 121 414 3850
Tel: +44 121 414 7167

Another blog has a more comprehensive list of scholarships for Filipino post graduates around the world. Here's the link:

Foreign Embassies in the Philippines

Foreign Embassies in the Philippines (Selected List) For the complete listing, go to the Department of Foreign Affairs website at

Level 23 -Tower 2
RCBC Plaza
6819 Ayala Avenue
Makati City 1200
Tel: 7578100 Switchboard

Embassy of the Republic of Austria
4/F, Prince Building
117 Rada Street, Legaspi Village
Makati City
Tel: 8179191 / 8174992 / 8174993

Royal Belgian Embassy
Multinational Bancorporation Centre
9/F, 6805 Ayala Avenue
Makati City
Tel: 8451869 / 8451874 (Chancery &Consular)

6/F and 8/F
RCBC Plaza
6819 Ayala Avenue,
Makati City 1200
Tel. 8579000 (General)
8579002 (Immigration/ Visa Inquiries)
Fax: 8431096 / 8431094 (Immigration/ Visa)

Embassy of the People's Republic of China
Cultural Office
1164 Tamarind Road
Dasmarinas Village, Makati City

Consular Office
648 10/F, Royal Plaza Twin Tower
Remedios Street, Malate

4896 Pasay Road, Dasmarinas Village
Makati City
Tel. 8108597
Tel. 3037323
Tel. 8443148 (Protocol and Administration)
Tel. 843-7715 (Political and Information)

Embassy of Finland
21/F, BPI Buendia Center
Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue
Makati City
Tel. 8915011 to 17
Fax: 8914107

Embassy of the Republic of France
The Pacific Star Building, 16/F
Makati Avenue corner Sen. Gil Puyat Extension
Makati City
Tel. 8576900 (Chancery)
Tel. 8576999 (Consular)
Fax: 817-5047

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
6/F, Solid Bank Building
777 Paseo de Roxas, Makati, Metro Manila
Tel. 8924906 to 10 / 8921001 to 02
Fax: 8104703 / 8929365 (Visa Section)

Embassy of the Republic of India
2190 Paraiso Street, Dasmariñas Village
Makati City
Tel. 8430101 / 843-0102
Fax: 8158151

Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia
185 Salcedo Street, Legaspi Village
Makati City
Tel. 8925061 to 68
Fax: 8925878 / 818-4441

Embassy of the Republic of Italy
6/F, Zeta Building
191 Salcedo Street,
Legaspi Village, Makati City
Tel. 8924531 to 34 /
19091012200 (Visa Appointment)
Fax: 8171436

Embassy of Japan
2627 Roxas Boulevard
(beside Hyatt Regency Hotel)
Pasay City 1300
Tel. 5515710
Fax: 5515780

Embassy of the Republic of Korea
10/F, The Pacific Star Building
Makati Avenue, Makati City
Tel. 8116139 to 46
Fax: 8116148
Embassy of Malaysia
107 Tordesillas Street, Salcedo Village
Makati City
Tel. 8174581 to 85
Fax: 8163158

Embassy of the United Mexican States
2157 Paraiso St.,
Dasmarinas Village,
Makati City 1222
Tel. 8122211 / 12 / 13
8122225 (Consular)
Fax: 8929824

Royal Netherlands Embassy
9/F, King's Court Building
2129 Don Chino Roces Avenue
Makati City
Tel. 815981 to 83
Fax: 8154579
Email: (Visa Section)

Embassy of New Zealand
2/F, BPI Buendia Center
(formerly Far East Bank Center)
Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue
Makati City
Tel:. 8915358
Fax: 8915353
Email: (Chancery)

Royal Norwegian Embassy
21/F, Petron Mega Plaza Building
358 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue,
Makati City
Tel. 8863245 to 49
Fax: 8863244

Embassy of Portugal
14/F, Unit D Trafalgar Plaza
105 H.V. dela Costa Street
Salcedo Village, Makati City
Tels. 8483789 to 90
Fax: 8483791

Embassy of the Russian Federation
1245 Acacia Road,
Dasmariñas Village, Makati City
Tel. 8109614; 8930190
Fax: 8109614

Embassy of the Republic of Singapore
35/F I, The Enterprise Center,
6766 Ayala Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas,
Makati City
Tel. 7512345

Embassy of Spain
5/F, ACT Tower
135 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue
Makati City
Tel:. 8183561; 8185526
Fax: 8102885
Email: (Embassy) (Consulate)

Embassy of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
2260 Avocado Avenue,
Dasmarinas Village, Makati City
Tel. 8875222 / 8875223

Embassy of Sweden
16/F, PCI Bank Tower II Building
Makati Avenue corner
dela Costa Street, Makati City
Tel. 8191951
Fax: 8153002

Embassy of the Swiss Confederation
24/F, Equitable Bank Tower
8751 Paseo de Roxas
1226 Makati City
Tel. 7579000
Fax: 7573718

Royal Thai Embassy
Royal Thai Embassy Building
107 Rada Street, Legaspi Village
Makati City
Tel. 8154220 / 8160697
Fax: 8154221 / 8940404
Email: (Chancery)

British Embassy
15/F and 17/F, L.V. Locsin Building
6752 Ayala Avenue corner
Makati Avenue, Makati City

Tel. 8167116 / 8167271 to 72
Fax: 8197206 / 8102745
Email: (Press & Public Affairs)
Embassy of the United States of America
Chancery Building
1201 Roxas Boulevard, Manila
Tel. 5286300
Fax: 5224361

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
670 Pablo Ocampo Street
(formerly Vito Cruz)
Malate, Manila
Tel. 5216843 / 525283 / 524-0364

7/F, Salustiana D. Ty Tower
104 Paseo de Roxas corner. Perea Street
Legaspi Village, Makati, Metro Manila
Tel. 8126421
Fax: 8126687

Philippine Embassies

760 Sukhumvit Road, opposite Soi 47,
Prakanong Bangkok 10110, THAILAND

Tel. Nos. (662) 259-0139, 259-0140 & 258-5401
Fax No. 00-662-2592809

No. 23 Xiu Shui Bei-jie
Jiangoumenwai, Beijing, 100600
Tel. Nos. (8610) 65322-518; 65322- 451; 65321-872 & 65324-678
Fax No. 00-8610-65323761

Uhlandstrasse 97, 10715 Berlin
Tel. No. 49 (30) 864-9500, 864-9521 / 23
Fax No. 00-4930-8732551

Kirchenfeldstrasse 73-75; 3005
Tel. Nos. 41 (031) 350 1717
Fax No. 41 (031) 352 2602

SEN - Avenida das Nacoes, Lote 01
Brasilia, D.F. BRAZIL;
CEP 70431-900
Tel. Nos. (55-61) 223 5143; 224 8694
Fax No. 00-5561-2267411
(Jurisdiction : Republic of Colombia, Republic of Venezuela and Republic of Suriname)

297 Avenue Moliere
B-1050 Brussels, BELGIUM
Tel. Nos. (322) 340-3377
Fax No. 00-322-3456425

1 Moonah Place, Yarralumla A.C.T.
2600, P.O. Box 3297, Manuka, A.C.T.
2603 Canberra, AUSTRALIA
Tel. Nos. (612) 6273-2535 & 6273-2536
Fax No. 00-612-6273 3984
(Jurisdiction: Nauru, Tuvalu, Vanuatu)

27-B Tran Hung Dao Street, Hanoi,
Tel. Nos. (844) 943-7873
Fax No. 00-844-9435760

Via Paolo VI, No. 29
00193 Rome, ITALY
Tel. Nos. (39-6) 6830-8020
Fax No. 00-396-6834076

# 6 - 8 Jalan Imam Bonjol Menteng,
Jakarta Pusat, Jakarta, INDONESIA
Fax No. 00-6221-3151167

2 F I-A Desekel Bldg. Medalaii, Koror,
REPUBLIC OF PALAU 96940: P.O. Box 1447
Tel. Nos. (680) 488 5077 / 5482
Fax No. 00-680-488-6310

No. 1 Changkat Kia Peng 50450
Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
Tel. Nos. (603) 2148 4233; 2148 4654; 2148 & 2148 9989
Fax No. 00-603-21483576
Email: /

9A Palace Green, London W8 4QE,
Tel. Nos. (44207) 937-1600
Fax No. 00-44-207-9372925

Calle Eresma 2 (Chancery)
Calle Guadalquivir 6 (Consular Section)
28002 Madrid, SPAIN
Tel. Nos. (34) 917-823-830
Fax No. 00-34-914-116-606
Email: /

Sierra Gorda 175
Lomas de Chapultepec
Col. Miguel Hidalgo, D.F.
MEXICO, C.P. 11000
Tel. Nos. (0052-55) 5202-8456/9360
Fax No. (0052-55) 5202--8403
(Jurisdiction: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Belize)

Karmanitsky, Pereulok 6, Moscow, RUSSIA
Tel. Nos. (7-095) 241-0563; 241-0564 & 241-0565
Fax No. 00-7095-2412630
(Jurisdiction: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikstan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan)

50-N Nyaya Marg. Chanakyapuri,
New Delhi 110021, INDIA
Tel. Nos. (9111) 688-9091; 410-1120
Fax No. 00-9111-6876401

130 Albert Street, Suite 606,
Ottawa, Ontario CANADA KIP 5G4
Tel. No. (1613) 2331-121
Fax No. 00-1613-233 4165
Email: &

4, Hameau de Boulainvilliers 75016
Tel. Nos. (331) 44-14-57-00; 44-14-57-01 to 03
Fax No. 00-331-46475600; 45670797, 4288 2995

P.O. Box 2018; No. 33 Road 294
Sangkat Tonle Bassac,
Khan Chamcar
Mon, Phnom Penh, CAMBODIA
Tel. No. (855) (23) 215145, 982985
Fax No. 00-855-23 215143
Email: /

Via delle Medaglie d'Oro No. 112-114
00136 Rome, ITALY
Tel. Nos. (396) 39-746-621 / 397 46781 / 3974 6717
Fax No. 00-396-39740872

34-44, Itaewon I-dong, Yongsan-Ku
Tel. Nos. (822) 796-7387 to 89
Fax No. 00-822-796-0827
Email: /
20 Nassim Road,
Tel. Nos. (65) 7373-977 / 8342938
Fax No. 00-65-7339544

Skeppsbron 20, 1 tr 111 30
Stockholm, SWEDEN;
P.O. Box 2219, 103 15 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Tel.Nos. (46 8) 235-665 / 230-606 / 209-187
Fax No. (46 8) 140714

125 Laan Copes Van Cattenburch 2585 EZ,
Tel. Nos. (3170) 360-4820 / 360-4821 / 365-85-66
Fax No. 00-3170-3560030

5-15-5, Roppongi Minato-ku;
Tokyo 106-8537, JAPAN
Tel. nos. (03)5562-1600 / 5562-1607 / 5562-1577
Fax No. 00-03-5562-1603

Ban Phonsinuane, Sisattanak District
Vientiane, Lao PDR
P.O. Box 22415
Tel. Nos. (856-21) 452490 - 91
Fax No. (856-21) 452493

1600 Massachusetts Avenue NW,
Washington D.C. 20036, U.S.A.
Tel. No. (1202) 467-9300 / 467-9382
Fax No. 00-1202-3287614 / 467 9417

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon,
Wellington, NEW ZEALAND; P.O. Box 12-042,
Wellington, NEW ZEALAND;
Tel. Nos. (644) 4729-848 & 472 9921
Fax No. 00-644-4725170
(Jurisdiction : Tonga, Samoa and Fiji

No. 50 Pyay Road 6 1/2 Mile, Hlaing
Township, P.O. Box 500,
Tel. Nos. (951) 664016; 664024; 664021
Fax No. 00-951-524084

Extension Offices
Maximillanstrasse 28 B, 53111 Bonn,
Tel. Nos. (49-228) 267-9911 up to 19
Fax No. 00-49228-221968

Philippine Missions
47 Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva, SWITZERLAND
Tel. Nos. (4122) 716-1930 & 7161933
Fax No. 00-4122-716-1932


556 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York
10036, U.S.A.
Tel. Nos. (1212) 764-1300 & 704-7322
Fax No. 00-1212-8408602
E-mail: /

Timetable:Tests and Applications

Once you’ve decided that you really want to study abroad, you have to plan your next step. With patience, organization, and some luck, the application process should be a relatively painless experience. A lot of preliminary research can be done over the internet but be warned: A lot of legwork is involved, including getting your recommendations, following up on your transcripts, and taking your exams.

You have to decide when you want to start your studies and then work your way back to approximately two years. Don’t be intimidated by the two-year leeway: This includes preparing for exams, researching for schools, and planning your finances. Once you’ve made your decision regarding your school and program, the next step will be to go through the application requirements. A year will give you enough time to apply to the school of your dreams. Just be aware that the timetable you are working on should be based on the academic schedule of the country where you wish to attend school.

Most schools and programs in the U.S., for instance, require the following: taking the Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), or LSAT (Law School Admission Test) depending on the field of study; recommendation letters; personal essay; official transcript of records; resume; etc. Getting all these together will take some time and you should give yourself enough time to get all your requirements in order.

The TOEFL and GRE (as well as SAT and AP for high school students) are administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), and all are computerized. They are called Computer-Adaptive-Tests since the computer program adapts to your answers—if you answer a question correctly, it moves on to a more difficult question; if you make a mistake, the computer provides easier questions. With computerized exams, test scores are provided immediately, and you will be spared the months of waiting to find out how you fared. There used to be copies of the bulletins at UP's Vinzon's Hall but it might be more convenient if you visit the ETS website ( or the websites of the specific exam you want to take.

Educational Testing Information
To Register:
Region 6 - ASIACall: 60-3-7628-3333 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
FAX: 60-3-7628-3366

Cebu City
Test Center Number: 8473


Testing Websites:


Once you’ve narrowed down the number of schools where you want to apply, make sure you have their most recent catalogs, and check their Web sites often for updates. This helps you plan better and have more realistic grasp of the deadlines. Our checklist in the next section provides a timeframe for all the things you have to do and when to do it.

Your application schedule will also depend on when you want to start school. Foreign universities have different academic years compared to our local schools. In the U.S., there are the Fall (August to December), Spring (January to April), and Summer Terms (some schools may have two summer sessions). The UK has three terms; in Oxford they call these Michaelmas (October to December), Hilary (January to March), and Trinity (April to June). In Australia, they have Semester 1 (February/March to May/June), Semester 2 (July to November), and the Summer Semester (December to January/February). Japan’s academic year is also different: The First Semester begins in April and ends in September, while the Second Semester is from October to March.

Some courses have strict rules about when students should begin their studies. If you are going to take your MBA, you will most probably be required to start classes at the beginning of the school year. Other schools allow rolling admissions where you can pretty much start in any term. An ideal situation, in the U.S. at least, would be to start in the first semester, and you can gradually adjust to the change of seasons. Starting your course during the second semester means you could complete your course earlier and take advantage of having two summer terms.
After you’ve made a list of the schools you plan to apply to, make a check list of each school’s requirements. Below is a list of the most typical requirements.

1. Application form. Try to see if you can download the form into your computer so you can make an extra copy in case you make a mistake. Fill out the form neatly and legibly. If your handwriting is difficult to read, use a typewriter or if the application form can be converted to a word file on the computer, fill it up that way.

2. Personal Essays. Aside from good grammar, you should also present yourself in the best possible light. Find out what they are looking for in their students – social responsibility, academic excellence, creativity, independent thinkers – and present yourself as having the qualities they are looking for.

3. Transcript. Some schools might require your university to mail it out for you. Make sure that they do. Allot more time for this since university registrars are known to take a long time to process transcripts, especially when it’s graduation time. Try to get extra copies for backup.

4. Recommendation Letters. Two to three recommendation letters are normally required. Recommendation or reference letters are usually sealed in an envelope and signed by your reference across the envelope flap. Make sure that the person whom from whom you asked the reference is confident of your potential, skills, and intellectual capacity and will give you a positive and glowing recommendation.

5. Exam Results (GMAT, TOEFL, GRE, etc.)

6. Application Fees

Tip: Hector Tiongson (Georgetown University, Washington, DC) was supposed to start in the spring term of 2001 but due to delays in the paperwork, he missed the first week of classes. He decided to defer his acceptance for the summer term. Should a similar situation happen to you, call the department of the college you’ve been accepted in and inquire if you can do something similar. Make sure you call first and acquire a written confirmation that deferment is possible (for visa and immigration procedures). Don’t be afraid to ask.

Tip: Disappointed you didn’t get accepted into the school of your choice? Try to find out what was missing or lacking in your application. Was it your exam score? Were your recommendations less than glowing? Do you have to work more on your application essay? Once you have figured it out, apply the following year.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Visa Information

Hooray! You’ve been accepted! Now you have to go through the next step—obtaining your visa. This should be a simple procedure if you have all the necessary documents. The practice of lining up at the U.S. Embassy at the crack of dawn (or even the night before) is thankfully gone. Embassies and consulates all have different application procedures. Some may require you to show up at the Embassy, while others like the U.S. Embassy require that you make an appointment for the interview and send all your application requirements via a certified courier.

Find out ahead of time regarding national holidays that may be observed by the particular embassy you are applying to. Titchie who was unfamiliar with US holidays arrived early on the morning of Martin Luther King day (a national holiday in the US), and was amazed when there was no line! This was before you could schedule your interview with the US Embassy. She couldn’t believe her luck until she found out that the Embassy was closed for the day. To save you time and energy, check the Embassy Web sites, e-mail for information, or call (be prepared for a recording which can be metered and sometimes costly) to confirm hours, requirements and voice out other concerns.

The school that accepted you will send you documents to present to the Embassy to prove that your application for a student visa is a valid one. Documents they will send are usually letters of acceptance, the I-20 (for US students), or a Certificate of Eligibility (Japan). For students who will be studying in the US, the letter of acceptance and I-20 do not automatically come together. You will have to confirm with the school that you will be studying in there and request the I-20, and only then will they mail the I-20 (a fax or photocopy is not accepted by the Embassy’s Visa Section). Waiting for the I-20 might take forever and if you have a tight schedule, you may opt to have this couriered. The added expense is worth it as this guarantees that the document gets to you on time and won’t get lost in the mail. Titchie’s I-20 arrived extremely late and the envelope was torn.

The next section will give info about the different types of visas offered in different countries.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Australia Visa and Application Guidelines

Please note that application guidelines are constantly changing and you should refer to the embassy’s website for the most current information.

Types of Student Visas
Subclass 570 – Independent Elicso Sector (English Langauge Intensive Courses for Overseas Students)
Subclass 571 – Schools Sector (Primary, Secondary and High School)
Subclass 573 - Higher Education Sector (Bachelor degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Associate Degree)
Subclass 574 – Postgraduate Research Sector (Masters degree and Doctoral degree)
Subclass 575- Non-award foundation studies/other sector
Subclass 576 – AusAID or Defense Sector (Full-time courses taken undertaken by AusAID or Defense students sponsored by the Australian government)
They advise that you submit the application at least 2 months before your course begins.

How to apply:
1. Obtain forms and information. Download visa application Form 157A and Information Form 1160I from free of charge or obtain a copy from the embassy’s call center.
2. Complete the application form. If you are under 18, both parents need to sign the form unless you can provide evidence of sole custody.
3. Gather all other supporting documents.
4. Book an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) examination. There are two administrators in Manila:
IDP Education Australia Phone 8160755,,;
The British Council Phone 9141011-14,, Contact IDP Education Australia for information on testing in Cebu, Baguio, Davao and Bacolod.
5. Undergo health applications. The visa applicant and all independent children must undergo health checks using Form 160 and Form 26 with a Panel Doctor.
6. Make an appointment to lodge the visa application by contacting the Call Centre on one of the numbers below:
1909-3622779 (PLDT)
1900-3622779 (Globelines)
1903-3622779 (Bayantel)
Cost of call: P18/minute
7. Lodge the application and pay the fee during your appointment with the Australian Embassy. The only acceptable forms of payment are a Manager’s Check in Philippine Pesos made payable to the “Australian Embassy” or a receipt of prior payment in Australia using Australian dollars.

- Must meet evidentiary requirements which demonstrates their ability to meet the financial capacity, English proficiency and other relevant criteria
- General requirements relating to character, health, acceptable health insurance and intention to comply with visa conditions and have no outstanding debts to the Commonwealth of Australia
- Financial capacity requires applicants to demonstrate in specified ways that they have sufficient funds to meet the travel, course tuition and living costs for both themselves and any family unit members who will be joining them
- English proficiency
- Offer of place in a course
- Passport will be required later but not at the time of the lodgment

Php9600 (to be confirmed)
Source: Australian Embassy Manila website:

Sunday, 10 June 2007

United Kingdom Visa and Application Guidelines

Please note that application guidelines are constantly changing and you should refer to the embassy’s website for the most current information.

Student Visa: VAF-1 Non-settlement visa
If you meet the British Embassy’s Courier Assisted Visa Application, you will no longer need to queue at the Visa section, or to submit your application in person
You meet the CAVA requirements if you are applying for a student visa and have previously studied in the UK on a student visa (you must include full supporting documents); or you are a student with full British Council sponsorship.

For ALL visas the following are required:
1. A completed application
2. Two recent passport-sized photographs
3. Your current and any old passports
4. Payment - they only accept cash or banker's drafts in Philippine Pesos (banker's drafts should be made payable to the British Embassy, they should also have been drawn on banks that form part of the Regional Clearing Unit and have either a MICR or RT numbered reference printed or written on the check, if you are unsure please ask your bank for details. Checks drawn on foreign banks will not be accepted
5. Your secondary school or University certificate.
6. A letter of acceptance from the college or university showing:
- the cost of the course and any deposit paid
- that accommodation is available
- number of hours of study there are per week
- the dates of the course
7. Evidence of your sponsor's funds, i.e.. bank statements
8. If your family are in business, their business registration etc
9. If your sponsor is in the UK a copy of their passport and evidence of their ability to accommodate and support you

Fee: 36 pounds

Saturday, 9 June 2007

USA Visa Information

Please note that application guidelines are constantly changing and you should refer to the embassy’s website for the most current information. The information is from the US Embassy's website.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the US. At an educational institution approved by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, the "F" visa is for academic studies, and the "M" visa is for nonacademic or vocational studies.

Students accepted at academic institutions will receive, from the school, Form I-20A-B, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status for Academic and Language Students. Nonacademic or vocational institutions issue Form I-20M-N, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students.

The spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of the F and M visa holder may be given F-2 and M-2 visas, respectively, if they seek to accompany or "follow to join" the primary visa holder.

Student Visa applicants must provide the following documents:
- An application form (DS-156/157 and 158) completed and signed. One form is needed for each person, this including children. Blank forms are available at the bank where the application fee is paid.
- A valid passport.
- One color photograph 2" x 2" against a white background glued to the application form where specified. Do not staple the photograph to your application.
- A validation stamp on your DS-156 showing payment for the visa application fee.
- Form I-20.
- Financial evidence showing sufficient funds to cover the costs for the first year of intended study and a reasonable source of funds thereafter.
- Evidence of ties to your country and that you will depart the United States when you have completed your studies.

Important Information for Student Visa Applicants
Being accepted by a school in the U.S. and being issued an I-20 will not by itself result in issuance of a student visa.
Students must demonstrate that the primary purpose for their travel to the United States is for study. Under Section 214(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, applicants still must prove that they will leave the U.S. upon expiration of their authorized period of stay. A school admission as demonstrated by the I-20 is only one of the factors we must consider.
Student visas cannot be used to circumvent ineligibility for other types of visas.
On occasion student visa applications are submitted for children whose family members have immigrated to the United States. It is often difficult for such applicants to qualify, as it is difficult to prove that the applicant intends to return to the Philippines.
Student Visas will generally not be issued solely for English language study.
As the Philippines education system is conducted in English, individuals pursuing study in the United States should generally be proficient in English at the time of their application to a U.S. school.
Plans of study must indicate a reasonable course of academic progress.
Applicants planning to pursue a community college degree after already having received a four-year undergraduate degree in the Philippines are unlikely to be issued student visas, as in most instances the proposed program of study does not appear to be a plausible "next step." Applicants who already have a BA/BS degree from an institution in the Philippines are encouraged to pursue graduate study or at least a second BA/BS degree, with credit for prior undergraduate study.

J1 visa is for Exchange Visitors
Exchange Visitor Visas (J-1)
Applicants for Exchange Visitor (J) visas require personal interview and must book for an interview appointment. The following documents are required:
- An application form (DS-156, DS-157 and DS-158) completed and signed. One form is needed for each person including children. Form DS-158 is available at the Embassy at no charge from the guards at Gates 3 and 4.
- A valid passport.
- One color photograph 2" x 2" against a white background glued to DS-156 where specified. Do not staple the photograph to your application.
- A validation stamp on your DS-156 showing payment for the visa application fee, except for certain U.S. Government sponsored applicants.
- Form DS-2019 (formerly Form IAP-66) issued by a designated sponsoring institution or organization.
- Financial evidence showing sufficient funds to cover all expenses.

How to Apply for a Visa
All applicants for nonimmigrant visas must follow the following steps:

1. Pay the Application Fee at BPI or Citibank
Each applicant for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa, except diplomatic, official and certain U.S. Government sponsored exchange visitors, must pay a non-refundable application fee equal to $100.00 US dollars. This fee can only be paid at designated Citibank and Bank of the Philippine Islands. It must be paid in Philippine pesos at the exchange rate prevailing on the day of payment. Applicants will receive a receipt and their DS-157 will be validated. Fees are valid for application within one year.
Please note: Visa application fees are not refundable. No exceptions will be made to this rule.
2. Complete the Application Form, Check Passport Validity and Obtain Proper Photo
Complete Form DS-156 online by accessing One form is needed for each person, including children. Form DS-157 is available at BPI, Citibank, or may be downloaded by clicking here.
For working (H,L), student (F,M) and exchange visitor (J) visa applicants, a completed DS-158 form is also required.
Present an undamaged passport, valid for at least six months upon date of departure from the Philippines.
Prepare a recent color photograph 2” x 2” (5.1 cm x 5.1 cm) against a white background. This photo must be a full-frontal shot clearly showing your face, with your ears exposed. The image of your face from the chin to the top of your hair must be 1” to no more than 1.25”. Glue the photo to the application form where specified. Do not staple your photo to the application.
3. Make an Appointment
Phone the Non-Immigrant Visa Unit call center to book the next available appointment through the following land lines within the Philippines with direct dial access:
For PLDT, SMART, or PILTEL : 1-909-101-0000
For Bayantel: 1-903-101-0000
For Globe landline, Globe handyphone and Touch Mobile Accounts: 1-900-101-0000
There is a cost of 18 pesos per minute, plus NDD charges for provincial calls
4. What to Bring to an Interview
The supporting documents you should bring to an interview depend on the type of visa for which you are applying.

If You Are Issued a Visa
If at the end of the interview the decision of the consular officer is to issue you a non-immigrant visa, you will be given a colored tag for each visa application that has been approved. Take this tag to the courier service desk in the Pavilion at Gate 3, where you will need to arrange for delivery of your passport and visa. The current delivery fee is 110 pesos per visa for delivery in Metro Manila areas, with an additional handling fee for provincial areas. Total fees for delivery of a visa anywhere in the Philippines should be no more than 220 pesos each.
You should allow five to seven business days for delivery of your visa. If you need it to be issued earlier, please inform the officer at the time of the interview. The officer will determine whether earlier issuance is possible.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Sign up for Student Housing!

While neither of us went for student housing (Titchie lived with her aunt while Tricia got an apartment and shared the rent with a roommate), based on interviews with other Filipino students abroad, we suggest that you consider student housing, at least during your first semester abroad.

It may seem as if student housing doesn’t leave you much choice when it comes to location or roommates, but the experience may prove interesting and one way to get yourself immersed into your new community. Most student housing is close to the school or located within the campus. Deciding on student housing also exposes you to a new realm of people and cultures, which is one of the many reasons you may have gone abroad to study, right? Signing up for student housing also frees you from the ordeal of apartment hunting which can sometimes take several months.

Choosing student housing ensures that your accommodations are in order as soon as you reach your new place of residence, and can then spend the first few weeks of your stay familiarizing yourself with the location of the buildings where your classes are to be held (you don’t want to be late for your first class), learning how to get around your new city, and even surveying the nearest supermarket where you can buy white rice. Lastly, with a room in school housing, you can ask your RA or Resident Adviser questions about living in your new home city, how to use the washing machine, places to avoid, cheap places to eat, security, curfews, etc.

"The University’s housing program for post grads is great. The buildings are well maintained and the University provides students with all the essentials (pots/pans/duvet). Unfortunately, the slots are on a first come, first served basis but there are lots of rooms." –Charina Quizon, University of Birmingham, Birmingham

Application forms and brochures about housing usually come with the letter of acceptance from your school. Read these forms thoroughly. Take note of the length of the lease, whether meals are included with the fee, the building description, and the facilities each residence hall offers: computer services, parking, child care (for those who are parents). If you don’t get information about school housing, write or call your school’s admission office and ask about housing information as soon as you can. Aside from your personal information, the form will ask for your residence hall preference, roommate preference (smoker/ non smoker, early riser/ night owl), special needs (e.g. I would prefer an elevator building, I have a back problem). When done filling out the form, make a copy for your files and then send the original via a quick delivery service (Airborne Express, Fed Ex, JTS Express) so you are sure that the school gets your reservation. Competition for housing is tight so make sure you reserve early or at least make it before the deadline.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Dorm Living From the Experts

We asked former dormers Lia Uy-Tioco, who studied Publishing at both Radcliffe and NYU, and Michael Campos, who studied in both the University of San Diego and Harvard, about their lives while living on campus. Here are their answers:

What is dorm life like? Was it a pleasant or rigid atmosphere?
L U: During my first year at NYU, I was at the 26th St. Residence, which had apartment-style units. We had two separate bedrooms and shared a common living/dining area, kitchen, and bathroom. It was actually pleasant, and since most of the students were graduate students, we sort of just went our own merry way. So it was really like living in a regular apartment building except that you needed your school ID to get in and had to go to the lobby to pick up guests.
MC: I lived in a co-ed dorm with students ranging from a variety of age groups and ethnic groups, sexual orientation (the openness of which was welcome since I am gay), nationality, etc. It was exciting at first, a very open community. No curfews!

Were you allowed to cook in your room?
LU: Yup. We had a kitchen, a tiny one, but it was OK. ‘Had to bring own microwave, though, and the ref was tiny.
MC: Nope. Fire hazard. We lived in a nearly 200-year old building. The kitchen was located in the basement and each resident was allotted fridge space for our stuff. I only tried to cook once and that was a disaster! It was macaroni and cheese. It turned out so badly the other dormmates offered to cook for me from then on. It’s really too bad that I chose not to spend more time in the kitchen; that was certainly the social center for the entire dormitory.

What do you like the most about it?
LU: I didn't have to worry about furniture, security, etc. I also had a classmate in the building so we could
swap notes, etc. NYU has a shuttle from school to the dorm so you could save on transportation.
MC: Notables had lived in our Harvard rooms, e.g. Ralph Waldo Emerson (or was it Henry David Thoreau? I forget.) who delivered his speech in the dorm chapel! There were tons of history in that school. I felt deeply privileged to take in that aspect of the school’s life; and speaking of the dorm chapel, it has this wonderful pipe organ which I used to tinker with from time to time. Galing, galing!

What did you dislike the most?
LU: It was really tiny. And when they opened some floors to undergraduates, it got noisy at times. When
the buildings I stayed in were primarily for graduate students, it was good.
MC: People did things on their own as there didn’t seem to be any impetus for us to gather and forge community. I’m not entirely certain if part of this perception stems from the fact that I had come from a seminary where community life was encouraged.

What options do you have if you don't get along with your roommate or you don't like your room?
LU: Not much, really. I was fortunate that I liked my roommate and we got along. But what Pinoys have to remember is not to get diyahe or be afraid to bring up problems. Culturally, we keep silent when certain things bother us. You can't be like that if you are sharing your living space with another person. You have to be upfront about things like cleaning, guests, etc. We should also be considerate about our food which others might find “smelly” and in some cases offensive.
MC: One could always put in a request for room change; that has happened several times with a couple of friends. Another gay friend found his roommate atrociously homophobic. He put in a complaint and within the week, he was given his own room. The key to a happy dorm existence: befriend your dorm proctors, they’ll be really helpful.

What kind of activities did the dorm organizers/RA's have?
LU: TV nights at the basement, etc. But I never really attended anything.
MC: We had intermittent worship services during high liturgical days, weekly tea conversations with the dean. Sometimes we had impromptu dorm parties at the end of the semester. Nothing wild. At the graduate school level, much emphasis was placed upon academics. Some residents initiated and organized study groups during the course of the semester.

Did you go to most of them? Did you have to?
LU: Nope to both questions. But it's good to at least know who your RA is and make sure he/she knows your name too.
MC: One didn’t have to, except for community meetings; all activities were optional. I went to a few.

While at Radcliffe, Lia lived in a dorm with individual rooms for the students but common bathrooms and kitchens. Read her tips on sharing bathrooms and refrigerators in the Cooking, Cleaning, and Laundry section.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Try the I-House

Alumni of the I-Houses in New York City and Sydney, Edi Sian and Artie Manalac recommend that you stay at an International House. For the residents, it becomes more than just a place to sleep. “If experiencing new things and new people is your thing, then I-House is the place,” says Edi.

There are 14 I-Houses around the world. Although each I-House operates independently from each other, they all share a common mission: to provide students of different nationalities and diverse cultures with the opportunity to live and learn together in a community of mutual respect, understanding, and international friendships.

The first I-House was founded in New York City after a chance encounter by YMCA official Harry Edmonds and a lonely Chinese graduate student from Columbia University. With the help of John D. Rockefeller, the first I-House was constructed in New York. The idea was then applied to other US states and then, much later in other countries.

Each I-House offers different kinds of accommodations and services. The rooms range from a rooms with a bed, a desk, a chair, and a desk lamp; shared rooms; or fully furnished two-bedroom apartments. Fees vary according to accommodation arrangements. Meals are often included with the accommodation fees. Many of the I-Houses also offer communications and entertainment services. Aside from the all too necessary internet and cable connections, the I-Houses in New York City and in London also boast of a bar just for its residents. In the I-House in New South Wales, residents may avail of maid services. Their apartments get cleaned once a week!

Movies every Sunday, a variety show, film showings, and food festivals are some of the activities at the I-House in Sydney. In NY, Edi lists trips out of the city, Cultural Hours, talks, and boxing classes. All I-Houses schedule events to promote interaction among its residents. Do you like what you are reading? Fortunately, most I-Houses have their own website where you can review the facilities that they offer, their activities, and the cost of accommodations. You can even apply on line.

"I’d live in the International House of the University or College (if they have one) or a similar organization. They usually charge much less than if you stayed in a hotel. I would also apply for consideration in the organization’s host family program. This will give you a place to stay for a month or two before school starts and gives you a chance to hunt for your own place." –Rhoel Dinglasan, Yale University, Connecticut