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Wednesday, 21 January 2009

More resources... UK and USA

This British Embassy answers most questions you will have about the United Kingdom.
Describes itself as the official online gateway to Higher Education and Research in the UK. There's a specific section for international students.

EduPass gives a good introduction to student issues like housing, visas, credential evaluation, American history and culture. Also provides a list of US colleges and universities that give financial aid to the greatest number of international students.
Provides a search tool for campuses in the US based on academic level, course, amount you can pay and geographic preference. Lists education fairs but unfortunately, there's none for the Philippines.
The Institute of International Education website provides detailed descriptions of the institute's grant programs for US and international students to study in the US.
Government grants, fellowships and student exchanges for international students to study in the US. Includes link to Fulbright Program.
Aside from being a survival guide for international students, it also provides information on scholarships available to them.
Links on how to prepare for college (SAT, etc.), finding a college, applying for college and paying for it. Targeted towards undergrads.
Insternational Student Organization's information health insurance for foreign students and non-US citizens.
The AAUW Education Foundation offers graduate fellowships to women with Bachelor's degrees (or the equivalent). Candidates cannot be citizens or permanent residents of the US. These fellowships are meant to support graduate students writing doctoral dissertations and post-doctoral scholars conducting research in the United States. The fellowship for 2009 schoolyear has passed.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Helpful resources to Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Thailand

While going through my files, I found a list of links that can be helpful to those students looking to study in Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Thailand. More links to follow...

Gives information about the educational system and courses available in Spanish colleges and universities, as well as information on educational tourism.
The Spanish National Library has links to Spanish bookshops online, Spanish publishing houses, Spanish university libraries.
Links for every aspect of Spain—learn about Spanish wine, flamenco, soccer teams, or take some on-line Spanish courses. (in English, French, German, Spanish)

What is student life like in Sweden, when does the academic year begin? Find out where you'll live and how you'll get around town. The Higher Education Agency has a website to answer your questions.
Support for foreigners looking to study in Sweden
Another site describing different aspects of life in Sweden.
The Swedish Institute is a cultural center that supports culture through grants, scholarships and exchange. If you are interested in learning to speak Swedish, the Institute provides information on programs around the world.Fellowships and grants from the Swedish Institute for foreign students to study in Sweden.

The Rector's Conference of the Swiss Universities has some excellent pages for those interested in studying in Switzerland.
An outline of the higher education system, scholarships, cost, admission requirements.
Guide to life in Switzerland. This site covers everything from education to banking.

For weather, culture, tourist attractions, student associations, entrance examinations, education news, Thai student websites.
This website is maintained by a Thai student who shares all aspects of his life including religion, political issues, thoughts on popular culture.
This page from the Asia Tour website teaches all about manners and social conduct in Thailand. You will learn about the aforementioned wai and more. The website itself has links to other Asian countries (including the Philippines) and further information on Thailand.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Butch Dalisay's Fulbright Speech

For foreign students, the decision to leave or stay in the country where they studied is a life changing one. When I first arrived in 1996, my plan was to get my MA, maybe get some work experience and hurry back home to my family. Thirteen years later, I'm still here. And there is still the urge to move back to the Philippines. With graduation coming up, it will be time for students to decide if they should stay or go, to help with your decision making process, I would like to share an excerpt from an eloquent piece by Butch Dalisay. He delivered the speech to departing Fulbright scholars in May 2006 where he revealed his experiences and thoughts as a Fulbright scholar himself. The full text is in his blog: I recommend visiting his blog to read not only the speech but also the feedback he received.

Today, with satellite TV and the Internet, the actual experience of going to America might almost be anticlimactic for many. I’m sure that many of you have been there before and might look at this forthcoming trip as just another one in the course of business. In some ways, it will; America has been so demystified for us by the media and by Hollywood that we think we know it much too well.

On the other hand, the marvel of America is that while it can prove to be very small, it can also be very large—much larger than the media and Hollywood can make it to be, in the realm of the personal encounters and experiences to which you and your imagination will be delivered by that 747. The American people are a fabulously, sometimes perplexingly, diverse lot, blessed with the capability of fitting into neat stereotypes and then just as quickly breaking out of them.

Even the Filipino rich can learn in and from America. A few months ago I spoke in this vein before a group of American educational counselors who had come here to recruit the sons and daughters of affluent Filipinos for their schools. I remember a palpably mutual sense of embarrassment over our awareness of that fact. But then I told them that one of the best things our young patricians could do would be to study in America—where they could learn to tie their own shoelaces, cook their own meals, and learn something about the fundamental equality of people under the law.

Some of you—if not most or even all of you—will learn to love America, warts and all. It’s not a difficult place to love or learn to love, like the rich neighbor you grew up with and sort of had a silent crush on, whom you suddenly find yourself going out to the prom or on a date with.

But to go back to my first message: love America all you please, but never forget where your home is, which is here—not even here in 21st century Makati, but in those parts of our country which languish in the 20th and even the 19th centuries. We go to the great schools of America not just to improve our lives but theirs—those Filipinos who cannot even read, or are too hungry and tired from work to read. We are their emissaries, their agents, their speaking voices in a world so caught up in wealth and newness that it can despise and dismiss the ancient pains and plaints of the inarticulate poor.

You can swear today that your commitment will never waver, but try not to speak too soon. The test and the temptation are part of the experience. You will come across or even be offered attractive jobs and opportunities for postgraduate work. Some of you might even find that ideal—or, well, that acceptable—husband or wife who somehow managed to elude you for so long.

You can make all kinds of arguments, justifications, and rationalizations: my life circumstances have changed; I’m no longer the same person who made that promise; I can find the money to pay back whatever I owe the program or my university; our facilities back home are too primitive for the kind of research I need to do; my department has forgotten all about me; the political situation back home is too volatile for my safety and that of my family. All of these could be true—and in the end, all of them would still be, in your heart of hearts, false.

None of these conditions exist in the fine print of our contracts with our people; we pledge to learn, to return, and to serve unconditionally, as our way of saying “thank you” for all the new knowledge we will be privileged to gain—for all the brilliant autumns and the showery springs ahead of you, for all the lectures that will leave you breathless, for all the bottomless libraries,
for all the summer frolic on the beaches of another ocean, for the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the sunsets of San Diego.

Again, for all these, study well, enjoy America—then come home to say
“thank you.”

Butch Dalisay
Philippine Star
May 22,2006

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Rizal in Heidelberg

The clinic where Jose Rizal worked under the direction of oculist Otto Becker.

A small plaque marks the apartment where Rizal stayed in Grabengasse 12.

I meant to post this in 2007 right after a trip to Germany. My husband wanted to take daytrip to Heidelberg from Frankfurt. This was out of curiosity to see the town where Rizal lived and studied. We went on a rainy Sunday and found a beautiful town with little shops, lots of bookstores (it is a University town after all), and streets lined with cobblestones. We didn't get to visit the shrine itself but visited the places where Rizal lived (and supposedly wrote the Flowers of Heidelberg) and worked. It's worth the trip but we recommend NOT going on a Sunday when all the stores are closed. Our hotel had a shuttle to Heidelberg but one can also take the train. Thanks to the high speed autobahns - our ride took less than an hour.

Rizal is probably one of the the most famous Filipinos to go study abroad. He arrived in Heidelberg in 1886.