If you’re an ambitious high school student drawn to the idea of studying abroad but have absolutely no idea where to start, then CAMP Philippines is for you.
About CAMP (College Admission Mentors for Peers in the Philippines)
CAMP Philippines is an organization that was founded in 2012 by Michi Ferreol, Kaye Kagaoan, and Kimi Rodriguez. Through CAMP, their goal was to ensure that both local and international school students would have more opportunities and more accessible information on studying abroad.
Through mentorship programs, internships, and an annual study abroad conference, what CAMP aims to do is to “provide and expand international education opportunities for young Filipinos, regardless of their socioeconomic background or status, to equip them with the skills and experiences they need to help the Philippines succeed in a global context.”
Young Filipinos are encouraged to study abroad in the hopes that they may one day return to the Philippines to use all that they have learned and experienced for the betterment of their country.
CAMP Study Abroad Conference 2014
CAMP’s annual Study Abroad Conference took place on August 9 at Xavier School from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm. The conference held every year is an opportunity for hundreds of students to participate in workshops and engage in discussions with mentors who are well versed in the different processes and experiences that come with studying abroad.
So, what made me decide to get up before 12 pm on a Saturday and go all the way to Xavier to spend the entire day learning about college admissions?
To be perfectly honest, most of my dream schools in the United States are highly selective. In an arena of increasingly competitive college admissions, I was absolutely certain that there was no way I’d be able to navigate the process on my own.
Beyond the Ivy League
My day at the CAMP Conference started with a session called “Beyond the Ivy League.” Hence the name, it didn’t take long for me to realize that while it does take a lot of qualification and passion to get into highly selective universities, there are thousands of other schools out there where I can thrive and learn just as much from at the end of my four years.
I left the room completely convinced at the end of the day, it’s not the name of my school that will define my success, but what I achieve at the end of my four years that will truly enable me to make a name for myself.
Financial Aid 202
The second session I attended was called “Financial Aid 202,” where I got to hear firsthand accounts of some of the most amazing scholarships and financial aid packages that can eliminate 50 to even 100% of a student’s total college expenses.
It was such a relief to hear that my parents didn’t have to pay a check with such a long line of zeros at the end of my four years. After hearing about the multitude of financial aid that I could receive, it was much easier for me to think of studying abroad as something achievable and within reach.
SATs and Common App Essays
And then there was the idea of having to face the SATs and writing countless essays for the Common Application, which thankfully became a lot clearer to me after I attended workshops on both topics.
While attempting to solve SAT math problems in 60 seconds and trying to finish the surprisingly challenging task of writing one sentence that perfectly captures my life, I became strangely excited for when I’d have to take the SATs and write my own essays on the Common App. (Although I’d probably be thinking otherwise in two years’ time.)
In the spirit of CAMP’s signature hashtag, attending the CAMP Study Abroad Conference was what ultimately led me to replace all my fears of impossibly low acceptance rates with the belief that anything could happen as long as I had enough grit and perseverance.
Getting the chance to engage in meaningful discussions with Filipino students from some of the best schools in the world showed me that while studying abroad might seem like a scary prospect at first, there’s no denying that it has already led to the success of so many young Filipinos with such a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences.
With the help of such an amazing organization like CAMP, I urge you to keep in mind that it’s entirely possible for anything to happen in terms of what you can achieve in the future.
Just remember that at the end of the day, it will always be up to you to take the initiative to redefine what you’re capable of and ultimately turn your dreams into reality.
Link to CAMP’s website: http://www.campphilippines.org
Special thanks to Lance Katigback, Jeff Galban, Lanz Anel, Ysa Da Silva, Cesca Wongs for the photos
Emma is a sixteen-year-old girl from Manila, Philippines whose favorite things in life are Beat poetry, abnormal psychology, Middle Eastern cuisine, and Bob Dylan. She is currently a member of her school’s MUN delegation and publication staff, and when she’s not studying for her rigorous IB classes, she’s usually out searching for new experiences and a better exposure to the outside world. Emma would love to be studying abroad in the next two years, but for now she plans to focus on getting to know herself and her country a little better before moving on to the next chapter of her life.