Studying abroad seems a lot harder than I thought it was. From wishful thinking to make it happen, I can still remember how my dad and I talked about this study abroad opportunity. To be honest, I didn’t expect that he would consider it as soon as I opened it up to him.
I’ve always been adventurous – always wanting to try new things, taking the leap of faith. I pictured myself leaving my home country, Philippines, right after graduation and settling in another country for good. Obviously, that didn’t happen but you’ll know why later.
I originally want to study in the US or somewhere in Europe, but my dad told me it will be difficult for me since I’m going to move alone. He suggested Canada and Australia because we have relatives there, and he thought they could help me settle in a new country.
It was on a whim. Our plan pushed through a year early.
A bit of a backstory, my uncle (the good one, not the one in this story) and his family are living in Australia for more than 20 years now. Fortunately, he is working at Bond University so he recommended that school. Just like any other university requirements abroad, if you are coming from the Philippines and you want to finish your degree abroad, you need to study at least 1 year in a university in the Philippines.
That was the plan.
It was December 2008, I was exploring the school’s website, pictures and videos then I stumbled upon this program – Bond College Foundation Program. This program is designed for international students and it provides academic preparation for students who want to start and finish the undergraduate study.
Anyway, since I can only talk to my dad through email during that time, I sent him one and told him about the program.
We only have less than 6 months to prepare.
I wanted to start my semester in May 2009. With only 4 months to prepare, from December to April, I enrolled in IELTS review center and studied for a month. I took the IELTS exam and waited for the result to come out. Once I found out my score, we started sending emails and preparing for my enrollment.
After receiving my certificate of enrollment, I applied for a student visa. I’ll never forget the day I got my visa, it was April 20, 2009! I was so, so, so, so ecstatic! No words can explain how I felt back then because I’m finally reaching my dreams.
Fast forward to my study abroad experience
It was my first time to travel abroad on my own. I never met my uncle and his family (maybe), but they picked me up at the airport. I didn’t stay with them, I stayed at a homestay where I lived with an Australian family.
The rest of my classmates back then were at least 18 years old, and I was 16 years old then. To be honest, adjusting to a different country is not difficult. I adjusted to Australia’s culture shortly after my arrival.
One thing I like about Bond University, the school is composed of international students. I met people from different countries: Russia, China, India, Malaysia, America, England, and many more.
Getting along with others
There are only a few people in uni. In fact, you’ll know everyone’s name because you both probably belong to the same class. Lecture classes are usually held in an auditorium. Aside from that, we have what we call tutorial class where we take tests or sometimes discuss more about the previous lecture.
It’s pretty easy to get along with others regardless of their age and race. Truth is, I was not even bothered at all. I like everyone in the class. Some activities in the tutorial class helped us get to know more about each other.
Since the majority of us are international students, we all feel home with each other.
For the first time, I wanted to study after school not because I have to, but because I want to. During my long break, you can either find me in the library or the coffee shop nearby (by the way, the beach is only 5 minutes away from uni).
I used to stay in school until 6 or 7 PM. The bus stop was pretty far from home, so I had to walk for at least 20 minutes. When the school found out that I go home past 6, I was immediately called to the office. I was worried because I have no idea what I did wrong! Turns out the school didn’t want me to go home during that time, so they requested me to be home by 6 PM. Isn’t that sweet?
School assignments are not what I thought it was
When I hear the word assignment, all I could think of is the type of homework where the students need to answer some questions in the textbook. I was wrong. Before we start the tutorial classes, we need to answer some of the questions from the textbook because it is part of our discussion.
When they say assignment, you better prepare yourself because it’s going to be a lot of work. I still remember submitting lots of paper works and research studies to the teachers.
Bond University is the school that made me read the entire textbook
In case you don’t know, I am a lazy student. I don’t care about the grades, I only care about passing the subject. To me, studying takes too much time and effort. But this study abroad experience made me want to change myself to become better.
There was never a day when I didn’t open my book and study. That was my first time to read and study every single day – even on weekends. I had fun, though!
I realized that what made it exciting was when we, the students and the teacher, could discuss what we have learned from the lecture. We demonstrate or showcase what we’ve learned through actual application rather than taking exams or quizzes. But before the final exam, we have a one week break for us to study and prepare for the exams.
Studying abroad is one of the best experience I had in my lifetime.
I only finished the foundation program; I was expected to have a degree two years after but I suddenly changed my plans and decided to go home. The program finished in December, and I went back to the Philippines after the final exams. Our graduation was two months after, February 2010, but I didn’t attend it anymore.
I am quite happy that I made the decision to go home and study a different degree because I didn’t want to have a business degree. In fact, ever since I started studying in high school, I wanted to be an entrepreneur that’s why I chose that degree at Bond University.
By June 2010, I started my Computer Science degree in UST. 🙂
In a span of 7 months, I made a lot of memories. Not only from my study abroad experience but also from the experience of living in another country and exploring it on my own.
Bond University will always be the best school ever. Now, Bond University is listed in the top 20 in the world’s best small universities! I am so excited to share that news with you, and you could read it here.
8 years have passed, but I can still remember everything from my study abroad experience. I want to talk more about this experience, but I don’t want to bore you so I’m ending it here! 🙂
If you could study abroad, where do you want to go?