In a globalized economy, international experience is coveted. A degree from a high-quality college or university sets the stage for a successful career. This is why hundreds of young Filipinos flocked to the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati on October 25 to visit the first-ever Education USA Student Fair hosted by the US Department of State and the US Department of Commerce.
US Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires Brian Goldbeck, along with two eager students drawn from the crowd, cut the ribbon and welcomed students to the event where representatives of 29 different US colleges and universities discussed the exceptional educational possibilities of the United States.
Hoping to distinguish themselves with an American degree, the visitors toured exhibits, collected information, and asked questions of the representatives from the US who were visiting the Philippines as part of an Education trade mission. They discussed two- and four-year undergraduate programs, as well as graduate programs in a variety of disciplines. The schools offered information on scholarships, internship and financial aid opportunities. Representatives from the Consular Section of the embassy answered questions on the student visa process, and advisors from Education USA, and the embassy and the Philippine American Educational Foundation, offered free guidance services to interested students.
“Studying in the US provides not only a high quality education, but valuable international and cultural experience,” said Jim McCarthy, commercial counselor of the US Commercial Service Philippines, which organized the School Fair and the other Education Trade Mission Activities. “Our universities offer a wide variety of disciplines and unparalleled diversity, which makes education one of our top US service exports.”
Judging from the turnout at the event, many Filipinos understand the value of in a US university education. Several universities present expressed their delight at the crowds, and students rushed in to begin their first-hand discovery of US higher education. The interest kept up all day, as did the quality of the potential students. According to Andre Cordon, the delegation member from Pace University in New York City, the numbers and the seriousness of the potential students exceeded his expectations and warranted exploring the possibility of a more frequent presence for Pace in the Philippines. In addition to meeting prospective students, universities met with representatives of key local universities, colleges, and high schools to explore possible partnerships. The schools were impressed at the quality of the students’ knowledge of US programs and indicated they would return to promote their schools in the coming months and future School Fairs.
Two additional receptions with representatives from local schools, Philippine government, Filipino alumni of US universities, local US education services and equipment firms, alumni of US Embassy-sponsored exchange programs, and US Embassy officials highlighted the importance of using education as a bridge between the two countries.
Goldbeck stated, “Starting with the Thomasites, and continuing with US Peace Corps Education Volunteers, Americans have worked here in the Philippines to strengthen educational capacity by first teaching, and then later training and mentoring teachers; and by helping to establish several of the great universities in the Philippines. Today, our binational Fulbright Commission, the oldest in the world, continues to provide exceptional educational and teaching opportunities to Americans and Filipinos to further strengthen educational linkages between our two peoples.”
Education USA is a network of hundreds of advising centers in 170 countries, where millions of international students each year find accurate comprehensive and current information about how to apply to accredited US colleges and universities. It is supported by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). In the Philippines, Education USA is administered by the Philippine American Educational Foundation in partnership with the US Embassy.
With this week being International Education Week, Education USA is hosting an online virtual Education Fair today entitled “College Week Live—International Students Day,” that provides a venue for Filipino students to explore study options in the United States.
Interested students can follow Education USA’s “five steps to study in a US college or university” online at www.educationusa.info/about.php. For more information visit http www.international.collegeweeklive.com/International-Students-Day.html.