Needless to say, attending college abroad is a real feat. Aside from surviving the rigorous college admissions processes, you also need to save up for high tuition fees and endless living expenses.
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Still, there are plenty of young Filipinos who are eager to prove that being an international scholar isn't impossible, as difficult as it may be. For instance, Micah Joyce Guillermo is one Filipino student who managed to get into not one, not two, not even three—but four top univerities in America.
Hailing from Cagayan Valley, Micah used to be a provincial public school student who lived in a rural area with her farmer father and public servant mother. “My family has always had a very simple life, but my parents instilled in me both a sense of gratitude for what we have and an insatiable drive to improve our lives and create opportunities for our future," Micah explained in an interview with Good News Pilipinas.
Eager to seek out better opportunities, Micah joined the Coalition of American University Student Experiences (CAUSE) Philippines to receive mentorship and network with other aspiring international students. Thanks to all her hard work, she eventually got accepted into four different universities that offered her various scholarships and grants.
More specifically, Micah received the Mind and Heart Scholarship from Whitworth University, the International Scholarship from Clarkson University, the Provost Scholarship from University of Puget Sound, and the Gilbert and Marcia Kotzen Scholarship from Simmons University. Wow!
Out the four universities, Micah chose to enroll to Simmons University and consequently received a full-ride scholarship amounting to approximately 15 million pesos. Apparently, she decided to study there because she admired the school's Political Science curriculum and inclusive community.
"With Simmons University's core curriculum, I had the chance to take more political science classes, which enhanced my desire to learn more about politics throughout the world. I opted to double major in Political Science and International Relations, with the intention of also pursuing minors in Economics and Public Policy," she explained in a feature article on her school's website.
Although Micah is grateful for the opportunity, she had to face a lot more challenges when she accepted the offer. For one, she couldn't help but feel homesick at first because she didn't know anything about Boston: "The experience of traveling alone to Boston, 8,529 miles away from the Philippines, without knowing anyone in the area, and entering a new phase of my life from scratch was extremely difficult."
"During the first few months of my stay at Simmons, there were many times when I struggled to find a healthy way to deal with feelings of homesickness, sorrow, solitude, and the fear of trying something new. However, being a part of the Simmons community has given me the assurance that I am not alone," she added.
Now, Micah is ready to make the most out of her education abroad and help fellow Filipinos attain their dreams as well. "I want to encourage others to be aware and mindful of what is happening in society. I've observed that many individuals, despite expressing a desire to do so, are denied access to knowledge and education," Micah concluded.