If you are planning to study as a scholar, scout for funding available for Filipinos where you are eligible. You should also know what degree to pursue and what university you intend to enrol in. This entails searching for their admission requirements and policies and preparing your credentials. 

1. Tell us about yourself — what’s your story and what did you study?

I see myself as a person with a thirst for learning and growth. When I began my career as a faculty of Bicol University Tabaco Campus, I was given the opportunity to grow more as a person and as a professional. I became more drawn to significant realities especially when it comes to sustainability issues. The programme that I took at the University of Liverpool, MS in Advanced Biological Sciences specialising in Sustainable Food Systems, provided me with a wider understanding of how science could be used to tackle many problematic aspects of sustainability.

2. Why did you choose the UK as a study destination?

UK universities are known for their impressive reputation in terms of quality education and world-class research. One of these is the original red-brick university, the University of Liverpool. I wanted to experience a different learning approach from what I used to have in my home country. This includes the delivery of instruction as well as their research culture. I very much appreciate the flourishing cultural diversity as well that allowed me to learn more about people from different walks of life.

3. Studying in the UK through the transnational education (TNE) scholarship project of the British Council must have been a great experience. What were your motivations to apply and how did this help you accomplish your personal and career goals?

A few of my colleagues introduced this scholarship and pushed me to send an application. I had hesitations since I considered this another 'leap into the unknown’. However, as a person who is always seeking to improve and learn new things, I decided to pursue it. This is for me to become more equipped as a faculty member of Bicol University so that I can offer more to my students and to the institution where I belong. Getting this scholarship introduced me to experiences that are beyond the academic realm. I consider myself blessed to be given a life-changing opportunity like this.

4. What’s the #1 lesson you learned in your TNE programme (MS in Advanced Biological Sciences specialising in Sustainable Food Systems) and how do you plan on applying this in the Philippine context?

From my readings and research work pertaining to this theme, I had seen the interconnectedness of so many aspects. I will share one of the principles we have in ecology—everything is connected to everything else. This holds true in the aspect of sustainability in the food systems. One of the reasons why it is difficult to attain sustainability is because the world focuses more on increasing food production.

While trying to achieve increased production of food, we also need to incorporate issues such as food loss and food waste, distribution, policies, consumer  behaviour, future trends, diseases and others. These are important factors to consider in order to have a full picture of the food systems we aim to attain. One way to start is to look at food systems as multidimensional, having complex interactions with multiple actors in the sociopolitical, economic and environmental aspects. It is suggested involving and mobilising educational institutions, civic organisations, industries and consumers in crafting and implementing policies pertaining to the food systems.

5. According to UNESCO, fewer than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women and only 30 per cent of female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. What would you say to women and girls who are considering studying or entering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers?

As Michelle Obama said, there is no limit on what we, women, can accomplish. If pursuing a STEM career is something that you really want to do, then FOLLOW YOUR PASSION. Some could still be holding back in entering this field due to its intimidating nature, or maybe due to personal circumstances, but if you are passionate about it, this is definitely worth pursuing. What is more important than the knowledge needed to enter a STEM career is your love for learning and discovery.

6. What has been the most exciting part of your experience studying in the UK?

Thanks to the organisations behind the TNE programme – the British Council, Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Bicol University – I gained new training through a different approach with the UK education system. I met mentors who helped me grow as a student in science. They have been very supportive and accommodating, especially when I was working on my research project. I could not also discount the fulfilment of traveling to places I’ve never been before, which is a dream turned into reality both for me and my co-scholars.

7. What advice would you give to Filipinos who aspire to pursue a graduate degree in the UK?

If you are planning to study as a scholar, scout for funding available for Filipinos where you are eligible. You should also know what degree to pursue and what university you intend to enrol in. This entails searching for their admission requirements and policies and preparing your credentials. Before coming to the UK as a scholar, you will have to undergo a tedious process, so have the heart to overcome all troubles along the way. You also need to make lots of adjustments while studying but do not forget to enjoy the journey. All your sacrifices will pay off when you finally get the degree you are aiming for.

With my co-scholars who also took up the same course at the University of Liverpool. There was no formal graduation photo due to the pandemic restrictions, so the most we can do is pose with the iconic Victoria Gallery and Museum at the background.
Staying in the UK for a year means celebrating one Christmas season away from home and family. Good thing I found company from my colleagues and co-scholars.
One of the many firsts we experienced as transnational education scholars in the UK is to visit London. During the winter break, we set a low-cost DIY tour around the city to de-stress and take a break from school-related things.