Danny Cheng, Connie Luciano and Harvey Adamson at Aberystwyth.
By: Connie Luciano, Emilio Aguinaldo College
What a journey it has been—from the moment we were offered this opportunity six months ago, to our first trip to Aberystwyth to begin my Professional Doctorate (DProf) programme this January. What a way to start my year.
I am extremely grateful for this chance to take my DProf programme at Aberystwyth University overseas while I continue working as the head of the biology department at my home institution, Emilio Aguinaldo College. 
This unique three-year programme features modules that I take in the Aberystwyth campus for 35 days spread across four residential schools. Then we complete the rest of our course work in the Philippines. The first residential school started last month where we stayed in Aberystwyth for two weeks.
This opportunity came about through the partnership of the British Council with the South Manila Educational Consortium, where my home institution is a member of. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and the two other Filipino students in my class — Harvey Adamson of the Philippine Women’s University and Danny Cheng of De La Salle University. While we represent three different universities from Manila, we are one. We are Filipinos all dreaming to be a doctor someday.
Our first round of classes in the UK has been a rollercoaster ride. We were the first Filipino students to enrol in the DProf programme. Going to a far, cold (it went as low as 2° Celsius when we were there!) and unfamiliar place was terrifying. Plus, it was my first time being away from my family for half a month. Despite the fear, I was just as excited because one of my biggest dreams is coming true. That was my motivation. 
We had two weeks of lectures, assignments and familiarisation of the place and local culture Being away from my family gave me more focus. As I have been part of the academe and have been teaching for quite a while, I truly enjoyed being a student for a change and meeting our classmates from the UAE. Despite only two weeks of classes in the campus, I learned a lot.
The whole experience was a little intimidating, especially when we started to write the research. But I know that I am being mentored by experts at the university, I have the resources and laboratories that I need to complete my coursework, I am in this together with my two Filipino classmates, I have a supportive home institution and I have my family cheering for me back home.