For most science students, studying abroad can provide an edge over the competition by gaining an understanding of the global economy. Having the experience of learning and living in another country, especially in Asia, is a big win for those looking to work with international companies.

The Philippines is often overlooked when thinking about Asian countries, but as the Southeast Asian Free Trade (ASEAN) agreement ramps up, the Philippines is going to play a substantial role in the economic game.

Asian Countries are the Next Coveted Market

In a 2013 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Diane Gulyas, president of the performance polymers unit at DuPont, says, “It’s better to go abroad than to not go.” She explains that over the next five years, 50 percent of the expected growth for her business and many others will be coming from Asia.

According Stace Berdan, co-author of the book “A Student Guide to Study Abroad,” most employers are increasingly valuing study abroad experiences and prefer when students study in regions with large potential for economic growth, particularly, Asian countries.

Cost-Effective Global Experiences

One point to consider when making the decision to study abroad is how much more affordable Asia is compared to other regions. The Philippines in particular has created a competitive advantage in their higher education programs based on their economic growth while still maintaining comparatively low tuition fees.

Traveling the Region

Asia is an exciting and modern continent brimming with entertainment, culture, modern technology, and shopping. Students who attend college for a semester or year will be exposed to a fast-paced environment set amidst rich history and traditions.

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The Philippines, comprised of over 7,000 islands, offers an array of domestic activities for those who study abroad. In addition to its natural beauty, the country is only a 2-hour plan ride to some of the region’s largest business epicenters including Taipei and Hong Kong; and a mere 3 hours from Singapore.

Economic Growth for the Philippines

Bloomberg News Consensus Survey reported in February 2015 that the Philippines became the second fastest growing economy after China. The country’s GDP is expected to grow 6.5 percent in 2015 compared to China’s 7 percent.

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With this type of growth, foreign students can expect to be challenged by their global counterparts and met with unparalleled opportunities to learn from native professionals in their respective industries.

Higher Earning Potential as a Global Learner

According to a 2012 IES Abroad survey conducted with the largest amount of study abroad alumni, 90 percent of respondents found their first job within 6 months of graduation (compared to only 49 percent in a recent survey of the general college graduate population).

In addition, the survey found study abroad alumni earned, on average, $7,000 more in their first full-time job salary than the average college graduate.

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Learning how other cultures function within a professional setting as well as understanding general consumer habits yields more value for those applying to a company that is trying to break into a specific global market.

Work-Integration Education

Nowadays, it’s important for students to seek educational opportunities that will place them in their field of study. Real-world learning experiences that come from on-the-job training is what sets graduates apart from those with only classroom skills.

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Internships and apprenticeships increase the employability of a graduate while strengthening their ability to be adaptable. When faced with daily obstacles, it is imperative to quickly assess the situation and devise an innovative solution that resolves the problem.

Observing and assisting workers in the student’s field of study is a great way to gain practical experience that will help procure their dream job once they graduate.

Applying the Lesson from Abroad

Employers are looking for problem solvers, and new hires must demonstrate they are up to the challenge. In addition to showcasing technical skills through experience, it is also recommended that a job candidate articulate the “soft skills” they gained from studying abroad. These skills, often referred to as “emotional intelligence”, address your ability to develop relationships.

Understanding social graces (foreign customs), communication, leadership and interpersonal interactions all play a role when integrating into a company. The degree to which these skills have been learned will appeal to employers of all sizes and locations.

To learn more about study abroad opportunities in the Philippines, visit the Mapua Institute of Technology.


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