To gain international knowledge and experience, 30 Filipinos are pursuing academic studies in several countries of the European Union (EU). This comes after they have been recently granted scholarships under the Erasmus Mundus Program that will enable them to pursue masters or doctorate degrees in different universities in Europe.
Moreover, the scholarship allows students to pursue their studies in more than one country, giving them opportunity to benefit from the academic expertise and culture of more than one university.
Students also benefit from the character-shaping experience under the program as they learn to live and integrate into different European societies, and often learning a new language in the process.
The Erasmus Mundus promotes the EU as the center of excellence in learning, and making student mobility a reality for EU and non-EU citizens alike.
Lubomir Frebort, chargé d’affaires of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, congratulated the outgoing Erasmus Mundus students in a reception. He urged them to become “ambassadors of goodwill” to help strengthen the partnership between the EU and the Philippines.
“Make your country proud and become the goodwill ambassadors to move forward the friendship between the EU and the Philippines,” he said.
Erasmus Mundus alumni and president of the association’s Southeast Asia Chapter, Sheila Balbutin, also attended the event to share their experiences of studying in Europe. She encouraged the scholars to take advantage of their time in the EU to benefit from borderless travel across different countries and experience the cultural diversity of Europe.
Several Erasmus Mundus alumni who returned to the Philippines had put their acquired qualifications to practice in their home countries for the improvements in the public or private sector. Past program alumni also shared their intense academic and personal experiences across Europe—from culinary delights to bureaucratic nightmares.
Frebort said that since 2004, more than 200 students and lecturers benefited from the program. The scholarship covers air travel to Europe, tuition fees and a monthly living allowance.
Meanwhile, universities such as the Ateneo de Manila University, Visayas State University, Mindanao State University, University of the Philippines-Diliman and Los Baños, as well as Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, have sustained their collaboration with European Union counterparts under the Erasmus Mundus Action Two Partnerships and Erasmus Mundus Mobility with Asia East.
Through these programs, multilateral cooperation is enhanced, mobility flows between and among students are strengthened and capacity building of teachers and staff is continuously developed thereby promoting higher education teaching.
The Erasmus Mundus program is among the leading international academic mobility programs in the world, from which Filipino students have positively benefited, as much as EU universities have benefited from the participation of visiting students.
During the send-off reception, Frebort also announced the fourth European Higher Education Fair on November 15 at the Hotel Intercontinental in Makati City. This will enable Filipinos to access more information on the Erasmus Mundus program and the education programs available in European universities.