Studying abroad has always been my dream since high school. I was vocal about it to my dad and hoped for that opportunity. Almost 10 years later, I can still remember my study abroad experience in Australia, and how my dad and I talked about it. Not expecting anything, my dad considered it as soon as I brought it up!
I originally wanted to study in the US or somewhere in Europe, but my dad advised me not to because it might be difficult for me since I’m going to move alone. Any country is fine with me as long as it is abroad. He initially thought of Canada and Australia because we have relatives there; at least there will be someone who can help me settle in a new country.
I got a job in Sweden in 2018 and I have been working and living in Sweden since then! You can read more about my experience living abroad on this blog.
I chose Australia over Canada because it is closer to the Philippines, and I was not ready with Canada’s extreme cold weather!
My uncle and his family are living in Australia, and he is working at Bond University.
The original plan was I will study in the Philippines for a year at a university. 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 for at least 1 year in a university in the Philippines.
Then, as I was browsing their website, I stumbled upon Bond University College. This program is designed for international students, and it provides academic preparation for students who want to start and finish their undergraduate studies. So, instead of studying for one year in a university in the Philippines, I mentioned to my dad about Bond University College and asked if I can study there right away.
It was pretty sudden; I still remember it was in December when I asked him and the program I can join was in May!
Applying to study abroad in Australia
The application process to study abroad in Australia may differ in the university. But, in general, here are the steps on how to apply to study abroad in Australia.
- Obtain approval from your home institution
- Apply online including the requirements
- Receive and accept your “Letter of Offer”
- Apply for visa
- Original certified academic transcript and grading scale
- Proof of English skills (I took IELTS: Academic exam)
- Academic entry requirements: 6-8 subjects (courses) that have been approved by your home institution for credit toward your home degree
As soon as I got my IELTS result, we started to prepare for my enrollment and applied directly to Bond University. I got accepted (yay!) so I applied for a student visa right away. I still remember the day I got my visa: April 20, 2009, and I booked a flight to Australia and left the Philippines on May 6!
Ah, I cannot believe that it has been that long since I left for Australia!
Studying abroad in Australia as a Filipino
Back then, mobile internet is expensive. So, I can only access the internet when I am at home or in the library. I rarely buy internet credits for my phone!
As a 16-year-old who moved to Australia from the Philippines, I had mixed emotions; I was excited because I reached my dream of studying abroad in Australia, and I was scared because I was away from my family!
Related: Disadvantages of living abroad
As much as I wanted to capture my first day at Bond University, I was too shy to take my camera out so I just took a selfie like below!
Looking back, I regret not taking a lot of photos!
I know too little about racism in 2009, so I am not aware if someone is being racist or if I am being discriminated against. I guess not, because I can only remember good memories when I was studying abroad in Australia.
One thing I like about Bond University is it is composed of international students. I met people from different countries: Russia, China, India, Malaysia, America, England, and many more.
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 class helped us get to know more about each other.
Since the majority of us are international students, we all feel at home with each other.
Related: Advantages of living abroad
Teaching methodology in Bond University College
The teaching methodology at Bond University College was new to me. It is a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, teacher consultation sessions, examinations, projects, presentations, assignments, computer labs, and group projects.
Lectures are usually held in an auditorium. Then, we have tutorials which were held in a classroom. Tutorials are where we take tests or discuss more the previous lecture if we have more clarifications.
Also, before we start the tutorial, we needed to answer some of the questions from the textbook because it was part of our discussion. Active participation was necessary, so it really pushed me to study!
I realized that Bond University’s teaching methodology worked for me. What made it exciting was when we, the students, and the teacher, could discuss what we have learned from the lectures.
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.
Host family abroad
My parents booked me a homestay accommodation while studying abroad in Australia. It was one of my best studies abroad experiences because I love my host family! Even after I left Australia, I still keep in touch with my host mom!
Here’s what my room looks like! There are two beds, but I am the only one using them. I took this photo a day before I went back to the Philippines.
Living with a host family while studying abroad in Australia helped me cope up with homesickness. It felt like home, and I love how caring my homestay mom was!
I remember when 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. My homestay mom talked to me about it too, and she just wanted me to be careful!
Is it worth studying abroad?
Studying abroad in Australia helped me experience life outside in a different country. I learned about the culture in Australia, and also the culture of the different international students I met.
It helped me grow as a person, improved my communication skills, brought out my independent nature, and discovered a lot about myself!
My study abroad experience is something that I will forever take with me. Studying abroad is one of the best experiences I had in my lifetime.
I only finished the foundation program; I was expected to have a degree two years after but I changed my plans and decided to go home and continue my studies there.
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 decided to go home and study for 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.
In 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 of the world’s best small universities!
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