By Mari-An Santos


I was recently awarded a scholarship to study abroad. It sounds so simple now, but the road getting there was anything but.

After having taught at a university, my eyes were opened to the possibility of pursuing higher education abroad through a scholarship grant. On occasion, colleagues would nonchalantly mention how they took a short course at a university in the United States or participated in a conference in Europe. Being an avid traveler, I yearned to see those places, but I did not quite know how.

One by one, my closest friends received scholarship grants. One got a Ford Foundation scholarship to study in the United Kingdom, another a Fulbright to study in the US, another a government grant in Singapore, and the last a fellowship in The Netherlands. I was very happy for every one of them. They deserved it. But then, a tiny voice inside me always said: “What about me? Why can’t I get one of those?”

Of course, I didn’t know the first thing about getting a scholarship. I would read about scholarship grants on the Net, but there were too many requirements. It would take too much time and effort, I thought. And so I didn’t even try.

But as one colleague after another flew off to some faraway land to study, I was pushed into action. They encouraged me to try. And so I did.

I applied to one scholarship after another, but only got letters of regret. I got disheartened. Fortunately, my friends kept on pushing me, telling me to try again. And so I did, again and again and again.

In the middle of a busy day, when I least expected it, I got the most exciting news! That life-changing story, however, is for another blog post.