Those interested in experiencing Southeast Asian culture to the fullest, look no further than the Philippines! The Philippines consists of a chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean that are home to both busy urban cities and small island towns. Filipino culture radiates through the country and can be best exemplified by its food, music, language, and art.
Students who go abroad to the Philippines will be impressed by the vast array of things there are to do from visiting a lively street festival, like the Ati-atihan, to taking a hike through the Luzon Montane rain forest. The Philippines is also known for their warm weather and gorgeous beaches, like the Boracay beach famous for its white sand and cool waters. This island county will offer students a truly unique and culturally dense abroad experience!
Boracay: Boracay is a small island city that has no shortage of amazing both water and land activities. In Boracay, some of the most popular things to do are to go motor biking, windsurfing, or even play some beach volleyball. On top of all else, Boracay also offers some of the best snorkeling in the Philippines at the Crystal Cove Park. In the mornings students can enjoy themselves at the markets where they can pick up fresh fish and hand made souvenirs, and at night students can experience authentic Filipino food while listening to live music. Although Boracay is a busy city, it’s island atmosphere will definitely relax even the most stressed out student!
Manila: Manila, home to over 10 million people, is a city rich with Filipino culture and famous historical and architectural sights. From the Manila Bay island of Corregidor, which is a reminder and memorial of Filipino war, to the waterfalls and rapids at Pagsanjan, Manila offers a diversity of things to do and see. Students can visit the Coconut Palace, which was built completely out of coconut shells and palm wood for the Pope’s visit in years past, or the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ), which is a green and white gothic inspired church that is a distinctive feature of the Manila skyline. Out of anywhere in the Philippines, Manila is the city that will give students a true taste of Filipino culture.
Planning Your Trip
Once you’ve decided that the Philippines is the place that you want to study abroad, make sure to pick the program that best suits you! Some key things to think about when choosing a program are its academic life, language requirements, and housing options.
The native language in the Philippines is Filipino, so students who study abroad in here should be somewhat familiar with the language. Some programs like the NRCSA specialize in helping students of all different levels improve and perfect their Filipino writing and speaking skills. World Endeavors, on the other hand, is much more oriented towards English speakers and offers many courses taught in English.
A variety of housing options are available for those looking to study abroad in the Philippines. The NRCSA offers home stays that are highly recommended because they offer a great opportunity for students to improve their language and get immersed in the Filipino culture. If a home stay is not for you, however, most programs like World Endeavors also offer student housing options.
Immersion and Cultural Activities:
From architecture to natural wonders, students who study abroad in the Philippines will have an abundance of things to do and see! In Manila, students can visit museums, palaces, forts and cathedrals (like the Cathedral of Praise in the heart of the city). Students will also enjoy taking a dive into the crystal clear waters at the Apo Reef National Park located at the end of the Bicol Peninsula, just one of the many world famous snorkeling spots in the Philippines. The rock formation on the Biri islands in the Easter Philippines is also a naturally gorgeous sight that is not to be missed when studying abroad in the Philippines.
In order to study abroad in the Philippines, you must first apply for a student visa. To apply, students must send in documentation that states their education to date, a Notice of Acceptance to a university in the Philippines, police clearance, medical certificates, and a current and valid passport.
Because studying abroad can be such an expensive feat, it is great to know your scholarship options!
- The Nippon Foundation Fellowships for Asian Public Intellectuals awards about 25 applicants per year in hopes of promoting mutual learning among Asian public intellectuals.
- The Boren Scholarship provides U.S. undergraduates with financial aid reaching up to $20,000 per year. It’s goal is to encourage U.S. students to study abroad in underrepresented places, including the Philippines.
- More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships
Contributed by Maxine Sharf
Study Abroad Programs in the Philippines
Other Study Abroad Programs in Southeast Asia
Not enough options in the Philippines? Check out these other Study Abroad programs in Southeast Asia!
Looking for something to do during your time in the Philippines? Check out some of these tours and trips!