Success stories begin with a yes: Yes to change. Yes to better opportunities. Yes to broader horizons. For many Filipinos who want to try their luck abroad, saying yes means juggling work and studies away from their comfort zone. But what happens after you’ve taken the plunge?
We’ve rounded up a few pieces of advice from motivated students and graduates of the Education Centre of Australia (ECA)! Hear it straight from hardworking Pinoys who are turning that “Yes!” into a life-long learning experience:
While everything starts with a yes, success stories don’t happen overnight. That’s why go-getters—who are quick to recognize potential—aren’t afraid to work on their goals early on. Kevin Baldonado, who is currently taking up Bachelor of Information Technology, shares: “If you have big dreams, start working hard on it as early as you can.”
Baldonado followed the footsteps of his older brother, who began his journey in Australia at a young age of 24: “I witnessed how he has evolved and how he continued to succeed in his career.” Inspired by his brother’s achievements, he eventually decided to try it out for himself. The younger Baldonado also notes some of the reasons why he was able to adjust in three to six months: “Almost everyone was heart-warming enough, very accommodating… Public transportation is very efficient—you’ll find it safe to walk around even as a foreigner.”
Indeed, a good start is half the battle. To make the most out of the opportunities that lie ahead, he adds: “Level up yourself. Be versatile. Don’t be afraid to change your path. Go straight to where you think you can find your success.”
Come with a purpose.
For Cherrielyn Abanes, an ECA graduate who has been living in Australia for almost six years, yes means never losing sight of the reason why she came: “Come to Australia with a purpose… Let that purpose serve as a motivation to get through all the challenges that you will face here.”
Abanes admits that being an overseas working student can be difficult, especially for those who are choosing a different path. From being a Registered Nurse in the Philippines, she pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and worked part-time in a nursing home: “I remember how I struggled to study Accounting, as I had no knowledge in Accounting at all.”
But her motivations strengthened her resolve when the physical, emotional, and mental challenges seemed daunting: “Do not be discouraged if you fail. Stand up, heads up, and keep walking. Make every failure a reason to be better and to do better. Always remember, you are more than what you are right now, you just have to discover it.”
Like many Filipinos, Rem Franco knew that getting a job in the Philippines is not a walk in the park. With a three-year diploma course and two years of work experience under his belt, he took a chance and opted to further his education in Australia.
Currently, Franco is enrolled in a pathway program that leads to an IT diploma course in Australian Computer Society and a Bachelor’s Degree in Information System Management from Victoria University. He considers the “land down under” as an emphatic yes to more possibilities and experiences:
“Australia is a good opportunity to explore. It provides a fair opportunity to everyone—regardless of your nationality or country of origin.” Many of these opportunities stem from Australia’s appealing work-while-you-study program for international students. “Filipinos can survive here knowing how hard we work. We just have to keep the focus,” Franco adds.
Follow your dreams.
John Paul Turico, a Development Communication graduate from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, has always dreamed of studying in Australia. So when the opportunity came knocking, he immediately answered the door: “I’ve heard so many good things about Australia—the culture, the people… I really prioritized to complete all the required documents, so I could start the study program as soon as possible.”
Turico took a Master’s Degree in Computer Science at Victoria University, which was admittedly far from his undergraduate degree. But his longtime hobbies made the decision easier to make: “Gadgets and computers are my interests, so I was very open to change tracks when needed.”
For Turico, saying yes meant switching gears—and the payoffs were worth it in the end. He finished his two-year study program, secured a full-time job, achieved permanent residency, and eventual citizenship in just a matter of four years! When asked for a message of encouragement to fellow Filipinos, Turico drew from his experience: “Follow your dreams. It is your passion that will fuel you to achieve it.”
Show your full potential.
Patrick Baldonado, a Nursing graduate from Far Eastern University, said yes to starting over again—and it was easier said than done. In 2011, he went abroad with two motivations that many Filipinos could easily relate to: (1) to build a career for himself in Australia, (2) to help his family in the Philippines.
When asked about his biggest challenge, the older Baldonado recalled: “How will I be able to support myself? I had to work in the morning and study in the afternoon.” His struggles echoed the concerns of international students who must work part-time to support the living costs overseas. Baldonado adds: “It was tough but rewarding as well—if you have an open mind and heart to every opportunity you can spot.”
After earning his master’s degree, Baldonado’s grit and perseverance landed him an internship at ECA. This paved the way for a project management position in Green Light Australia. Currently, he is working as the IT Systems Administrator of the biggest fertility company in Australia!
Baldonado’s message for Pinoys who need a little push? “Don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams. Show off your full potential. Have dedication. Do the hard work and everything will pay off in the long run. At the end of the day, you will reach your goals and you will have a successful life.”
Despite coming from different walks of life, these notable students and graduates had a few things in common: The willingness to say yes to a brighter future and the determination to make it happen! Are you ready to be part of ECA’s growing student community?
To find out how ECA helps students and professionals achieve more than a great education, visit www.eca.edu.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org.