Pinoys urged to apply for scholarships in Netherlands

by LOUI GALICIA, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Jan 24 2009 06:19 PM | Updated as of Jan 25 2009 02:19 AM

THE HAGUE--The Philippine Embassy in the Netherlands is urging Filipinos to take advantage of the scholarship programs offered in the country.

RP Ambassador Romeo Arguelles is disappointed that the number of Pinoys scholars in the Netherlands has fallen.

Including the new arrivals, there are only about seventy Pinoy scholars this year compared to the more than eighty last year.

Arguelles has observed only a handful of Pinoys at the graduation ceremonies he has attended.

"I have noticed here in the universities where I've been during graduation, that there are not as many Filipino graduates as other countries in Asia. The Chinese graduates probably number about ten times the Filipino graduates. There are more Vietnamese, and more Africans," Arguelles said.

Arguelles coordinated with the Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education or Nuffic and discovered that there is no quota for applicants.

"They say that the more applications, the better chances of getting scholarships. They are the ones who are going to pay for your tuition and board and lodging...We already reported this to our main office, that they should encourage students to apply," Arguelles said.

At the Embassy's recent welcome party for the scholars, Arguelles encouraged Pinoys to persuade their friends and acquaintances to apply for scholarships here.

He said Pinoys should not waste this good opportunity for the free higher education that Holland offers to many nationalities.

The scholars agreed that the knowledge that they get from studying abroad will give them a big edge once they return home.

"Malaki ang tulong sa amin bilang professionals kasi na-eenhance ang aming capabilities para ihandle ang aming mga job responsibilities dun sa atin sa Pilipinas, at talagang maganda rin ang environment na ibinibigay sa amin sa pag-aaral dito sa Netherlands," scholar Rino Paez said.

Paez is taking up masters in development studies major in public policy and management at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague.

"Nagtatrabaho kasi ako sa Commission on Filipinos Overseas. Ito po ang ahensiya na concerned with the permanent migrants. Ang ilang possible research interest namin eh kung paano mae-engganyo ang mga kababayan abroad na tumulong sa mga development projects sa ating bansa. So ang aking layunin pagbalik sa Pilipinas eh tulungan ang ating mga programa na mapalago pa para ma-engganyo ang ating mga kababayang Pilipino na tumulong sa Pilipinas," Pelaez said.

A Pinay who arrived last year said she is learning a lot of new things that she can apply at the Women's Resource Center in Cebu where she works.

"Dito marami akong natutunan. Ibang issues on women, tapos iba't-ibang aspects ng social security, poverty and I think na magagamit ko talaga sa work namin, especially we're doing, organizing support services for grassroots women sa Cebu. Tapos yung exposure ko to other activists and academics within the women's movement institutions," Kayra Alburo said.

A government official said Filipinos should take advantage of the chance to enrich their knowledge since this which will help raise prosperity in the Philippines.

During DENR Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Demetrio Ignacio's recent visit to The Hague, he also met scholars which included some from his staff at the environment office.

Ignacio said that the government encourages its staff, particularly the young technical people, to go out and learn more from other countries.

"We're very happy that they seem to be learning new technology here, and most especially, they're learning how to explore, to open their minds and look for best alternative options and formula," Ignacio said.

He said that all the hard work and effort undertaken by the scholars will not go unrecognized by the government.

"They will probably go back to their old position but we expect that in a shorter amount of time, they will go up," Ignacio said.