Picture a beautiful island, home to hundreds of species not thought to exist anywhere else in the world. You are relaxing on its warm, white sands, breathing in the salty air of the crystal clear sea rippling before you. As you soak up some essential vitamin D, you get the feeling that someone –or something – is looking over your shoulder. Slowly, you turn around and find yourself face to face with a magnificent rainforest, buzzing with the most curious of lifeforms. Not too bad for a holiday getaway to the Philippines, right? But there is more. When you get up from that sandy beach, walk into the rainforest, and take a short boat ride across a winding river, you finally arrive at your first university lecture. The phrase ‘the best of both worlds’ has never been more accurate than in describing the life of a student in the Philippines. The only catch is, instead of picturing one beautiful island, picture 7,107.
Facts about the Philippines
One of the 17 ‘megadiverse’ countries in the world (i.e. those countries that harbour the majority of species on Earth).
One of the largest island groups in the world (over 7,000 islands).
Large population of about 100 million with a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds.
Serves as the headquarters for the Asian Development Bank (regional development bank established in 1996 to facilitate economic development in Asia). This places the Philippines at the forefront of Asia’s economic growth project.
39th largest economy in the world.
Due to its large population and potential for economic growth, the Philippines is classified as a ‘middle power’.
One of the founding members of the United Nations.
2,180 higher education institutions: 607 public and 1,573 private.
Official languages: Filipino and English.
Currency: Philippine Peso
Benefits of Studying in the Philippines
If you are looking to study in a country that is known for being a giant melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures, then the Philippines is the place for you. It is the 3rd largest English-speaking country in the world, which means that international students can acquire the enriching exposure to multiple ethnicities, but without the alienating factor that is a completely foreign language. In addition to this, studying in the Philippines delivers:
Internationally Accredited Universities: The Philippines is home to a good number of internationally recognised universities, including: the University of the Philippines, Tarlac State University, De La Salle University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, as well as many others.
Affordable living costs: Unlike countries such as the United States and Japan, where it is expensive to live and study as an international student, the Philippines offers foreign students a chance to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle for less. This is due to its relatively lower student fees and living costs.
Familiar Education Methods: The Philippines’ influence by Western culture extends to its education methods as well. Following ‘westernised’ curriculums and education systems, higher education institutions in the Philippines enable international students to transfer credits from their home universities and vice versa.
Easy Visa Application: The Philippines offers a high visa-approval rate for international students aiming to come into the country. According to the Philippine Bureau of Immigration, the Philippines approved 14% more visa applications in 2012 than in it did in 2011. This saw an increase of 6,035 students in just one year (from 41,443 to 47,478).
Three of the Top Places to Visit in the Philippines:
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park: A protected area of the Philippines, home to some of the most important forests in Asia. It is also the habitat of diverse wildlife, including 165 bird species. Its river, the Puerto Princesa Underground River, has been selected as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
The Chocolate Hills: A geological formation of 1,260 hills. The name is attributed to the fact that these hills are all covered in a layer of green grass, which turns brown (like chocolate!) during the dry season.
Boracay Island: Its beautiful white sand beaches earned this island the title of ‘Best Island in the World’, according to Travel & Leisure (2012).
By Nour Bahgat