Posts tagged ‘live’

18 February 2014

Whatever you want it to be :))

by misslampa

I came to Australia thinking I went there mainly for the degree. And to a point, this was true. Anything that had something to do with studies was always given priority (okay, almost always Ü), and the world stopped whenever assessment period came around. It was clear to me that I wanted to learn as much as I could and finish the program well and on time. So those are some of the things I made sure I did.

After reading way too many journal articles and downing way too many cups of coffee, I earn the right to rock this academic dress.

After reading way too many journal articles and downing way too many cups of coffee, I earn the right to rock this academic dress.

 

But the thing about putting your life on hold and leaving the comforts of home for a while to accept a scholarship overseas is that you can – if you choose to – turn your time abroad into anything you want it to be. I mean, you’re already going out of your comfort zone anyway. You might as well make it worth the trouble.

 

And so I learned about various education systems with classmates from all over the world. I spent hours asking questions and comparing notes after class or over dinner or coffee. Besides, I’ve always been in awe of how much you can learn if you’re willing to ask.

It won't be an exaggeration to say that no less than 5 countries were represented in each class I took at the University of Queensland.

There were always at least five countries represented in each class I took at the University of Queensland. I’m not exaggerating.

 

I got introduced to other Filipinos from all over the country who remain as hopeful about the future of the Philippines, and who are choosing to stay here despite the opportunity to earn more abroad.

Of course, you can count on me to find a way to not have to wear the baro't saya. :))

We were asked to don our national costume. But of course, you can count on me to find a way to not have to wear the baro’t saya. :))

 

I tried so many things for the first time – from something as tame as eating kangaroo or camel meat to something as terrifying as jumping off a perfectly working plane. I volunteered to teach young Aussies how to read, and I put in some hours as a research assistant, too.

I really just wanted to touch the clouds, so I jumped and did just that.

I really just wanted to touch the clouds, so I jumped and did just that.

 

I picked up good habits like running and snacking on celery sticks. But lest you think I’ve turned into such a goody two-shoes, know that I learned how to flirt with strangers and enjoy wine in Australia, too.

Hardly anyone left on the course but I because well, I’m a slowpoke like that.

 

I also felt my heart beat for the first time in a very, very long time while I was there. I’m beyond grateful, actually, but that’s all I’m going to say about that. :)

 

And I traveled. Like crazy. It’s expensive, yes, but you learn skills which will continue to serve you well long after you’ve come home. There’s time management, spatial intelligence, packing lightly, budgeting, following directions, carving your own path, being okay with being lost, enjoying your own company, living in the moment, and I’m just going to stop here because the list goes on and on and on.

Don't do selfies. Just travel with photography enthusiasts who are more than happy to take your picture!

Selfies are for amateurs. What you need to do is travel with DSLR-lugging photography enthusiasts who are more than happy to take your picture!

 

All these, I owe to the fact that I chose Australia Awards – or maybe it’d be more apt to say that Australia Awards chose me. Either way, I am very grateful not only for the last two years of my life and all that’s been epic about my time there, but also for the opportunity to come home and make a difference. Armed with a master’s degree, I know I can be more instrumental in improving basic education in this country, and in proving to the world that we are capable of greatness.

AusAID no longer exists, officially (the program's now under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade). But it will always be real to me. <3

AusAID no longer exists, officially (the program’s now under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade). But it will never be nonexistent for me. <3

 

I’m very excited to see exactly how the universe will make that happen for me! Ü

 

 

—-

Donna Rasalan Lampa is one proud Pinay who took up her masters in Educational Studies from the University of Queensland in Brisbane under the open category of the Australia Awards program. Months after, she remains thankful for the two-year joyride.

 

Also, shout-outs are in order for Mylene, who took that shot of me during my graduation… and for Rod, for that breathtaking panoramic shot at Kings Canyon! :)

 

And hey, if you’re keen on starting your own Australia Awards journey, click here.

 

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