Erasmus Mundus Forum is now open!

emf logo short

It has been three years since there was a new post on this blog for a number of factors, including a lack of contributors and the rise of Facebook as a messaging platform. But in the last three years, I’ve still been receiving email and people have continued posting comments on the FAQs page, often having conversations in the comments. This made me realise that there is a need for a place where applicants, incoming students and alumni can discuss. So I have teamed up with my friend Rhem to start this forum site.

Ladies and gentlemen, presenting Erasmus Mundus Forum.

It will take time to gain traction, and certainly my timing (at the tail end of the results period for the next intake) doesn’t help. I will need your support in the form of new topics and replies to existing threads. Can I count on you to get the ball rolling? One little post. It’s easy. Just connect using your Facebook or Twitter account if you don’t want to create a new username and password.

Whether you’re a prospective Erasmus Mundus applicant, current scholar or graduate, you can leave a message and connect with others like you. Come on over and be one of the founding posters on the forum! See you there!

Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Erasmus Mundus, Students | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Things to Prepare Before Leaving for Italy for an EMJD (and what you’ll need once you get there)

By Kate Dy, Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate on Globalisation, Europe & Multiculturalism

Kate Dy in Rome

The author (middle) with friends in Rome

I’ve been a scholar of some shape or form my entire life and I would like to think that I handle paperwork, bureaucracy, and ensuing stress quite well, but nothing quite prepared me for the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program in Italy. If I sound weary, please don’t chalk it up to years of research, it’s actually only my first month here in Rome. But I have learned a lot through the on-going process, and this may be of help for anyone who’s in the same spot.

I would just want to put it out there that you shouldn’t be discouraged from applying to the EMJD GEM program because of the tons and tons of work you’ll have to do even before being able to do your research. Rather, take a deep breath and know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel— or so I heard. No one has actually finished their EMJD GEM program as of writing this, so that may be just hearsay. That said, never allow anyone to tell you to be grateful for a scholarship and just shut up. The Erasmus Mundus programs choose their students because of merit and not because of poverty or pity or charity. We are allowed to have the same expectation of excellence from our hosts.

Unlike the Erasmus Mundus MOVER or EMMA programs, EMJDs are handled very differently. The main points of variance are that we are under employment contracts and that we’re pretty much thrown into the deep end of bureaucracy to fend for ourselves. While it’s true that PhD students are supposedly older and more mature, this doesn’t mean we automatically imbibe the knowledge of the ins and outs of Italian bureaucracy from the air!

If you suddenly find yourself as an EMJD scholar in Italy, or if you’re looking to be one, be sure to be prepared mentally, financially, and emotionally.

Before leaving your home country:

  1. Sign all the documents! No, seriously, double check all your contracts and sign everything required otherwise you may find yourself being penalized for technicality. In particular, for the EMJD program there will be four things to affix your signature to:
    1. A letter of acceptance, which you type, scan, and send yourself
    2. The EMJD GEM contract
    3. The Travel and Installation Fund (T&I Fund) contract. EMJD students are given 7500€ and the contract states that this is all our travel funding for the next three years and that we waive any further monetary requests
    4. Your university employment contract (which may be signed when you arrive)
  2. Find a place to stay in your host country. Often, such as in my case, universities don’t consider PhD students as “real” students and as such dormitories are unavailable. Sometimes universities have dedicated housing services that you make take advantage of, such as CasaLUISS in my case, but if not, ask around! Senior Erasmus Mundus people both Filipino and foreign are very friendly and you may even score a roomie.
  3. Book a plane ticket. You need this for your visa application. There is a dedicated Erasmus Mundus travel agency, but don’t rely on them too much— first of all, they rarely reply, and second, they don’t care about the best price and may take a larger chunk out of your T&I Fund than you would have wanted to spend.
  4. Get that visa.
  5. Make sure the embassy that issued your visa stamps everything. You will need it later on for your permesso di soggiorno (if in Italy) or the equivalent permit to say anywhere else. The embassy should give you the documents without you asking, but if they don’t, insist. I was not aware of this, and left Manila with nothing from the embassy then arrived in Rome to find all my fellow scholars with their respective stamped documents.
  6. If required, have the DFA authenticate all relevant documents (mainly school transcripts). Have all these documents translated into the language of your host country. Have these authenticated by the embassy. In the case of the Italian embassy, all of these are necessary and these processes are quite expensive and time-consuming. Be sure to allocate enough time and money, and bring good books–you’re in for a long wait.
  7. Pack everything but keep within the luggage limit! All Europe-bound carriers are rather strict. Come to think of it, all airlines are now rather strict.
  8. Photocopy everything you have. I mean everything. Have 1×1, 2×2, and passport size photos made. At least eight of each. Print out photos of family and friends as well, for your new home.
  9. Make sure you have enough money to survive for two months in your home country. If there’s space in your luggage, bring food as well. Instant noodles will tide you over the worst days.
  10. Say goodbye to Jollibee.

Upon arriving at your host country, in this case, Italy:

  1. Find your way to your home and avoid getting cheated by the cab driver. If you don’t have a home yet, find a place ASAP. Remember that September is the influx month for new students from all over the country and the world, so competition will be fierce.
  2. Inform your local contact point and your supervisor and the Central Executive Committee of your program and your course representatives and your embassy that you have arrived safely. Oh, and your family of course!
  3. Buy a SIM card and bus card. WIND is a good provider, for 10€ a month you can have 400 minutes of calls, 400 SMS, and unlimited internet. This is pre-paid, so don’t forget to load up. Also find your closest groceries, bus stop, police station, emergency room, wet market, garbage bin, and so on.
  4. Open a bank account immediately, so as to receive your salary as soon as possible. But don’t expect anything before two months. Seriously. Don’t. For EMJD GEM students, UniCredit is your best bet as it’s the bank the school uses so there are fewer delays with your stipend.
  5. Apply for your Permesso di Soggiorno. Ask your university for help, but if they are unable to help due to bureaucratic matters, suck it up and fend for yourself.
  6. Apply for your Tessera Sanitaria. As employees who are taxed more than 50% of our income, EMJD students have the right to the national health service. EMJD GEM students have a declared income of 2800€, but what we end up receiving monthly is around 1500€, and even less during December. Be prepared to devote two weeks to this process, more if you have specific medical concerns like diabetes or if you have your family in Italy with you.
  7. Apply for a Carta d’Identita. This is basically a redundant identification document. Despair at the sheer amount of paperwork!
  8. And when this is all over, or whenever you need a break, be a tourist. Bureaucracy can sap the life out of the best of us, and believe me when I say the Italian system is one of the worst I’ve ever experienced in the world. You really don’t have much leeway either, as if you don’t put on a brave face and handle all the official things you may end up facing worse complications. That said, Rome is beautiful and travel around Europe is cheap so once you’re all settled and legal, go for it.
When in Rome...don't be ashamed to be a tourist!

When in Rome…don’t be ashamed to be a tourist!

[Admin’s note: While the views expressed in this post are the author’s own, I agree with the two-month rule on money when dealing with the Italians, having experienced it first-hand. Always have a contingency plan!]

Categories: Erasmus Mundus, Life in Europe, Students | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Erasmus Mundus Philippines Statistics 2004-2013

Bar graph of EM Philippines stats compiled from EACEA data.

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Master’s Students 2 12 31 16 38 27 24 17 27 31
Doctorate Candidates  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA 0 2 1 4
Scholars (Academics) 0 1 0 2 3 1 2 NA  NA  NA
Categories: Erasmus Mundus | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

My First Erasmus Mundus General Assembly

 By Kate Alyzon Ramil, GEMMA 2009-2011

When I first received the invitation to attend the General Assembly, I was really excited and at the same time nervous. I did not know what to expect or what was expected of me. On the one hand, it was a time to reconnect to Europe and the rest of the EMA members, and on the other, it was a responsibility. How would I best contribute to the Assembly? How would I best represent my programme, GEMMA, and my region, South East Asia?

Arriving in Barcelona dissolved all the worries and the tiredness that I experienced all throughout the long journey. Some people discouraged me to attend since it was just a 2-day meeting and getting a visa was a tedious process, not to mention the cost of the trip. But, seeing 200 people who were mostly Programme Representatives from all over the world strengthen my feeling that my decision was right. I was one of the many who believe that being a Programme Representative is not just a title but a duty that we willingly take.

Friends across the nations – EMA GA attendees

The 2-day meeting felt like a month for its fruitfulness and depth. With that short span, we managed to discuss relevant issues within EMA and beyond like the Statute of EMA, elections, changes in European Commission, and the parallel sessions. We had socials, too, to get to know each other in fun and creative ways like EMAzing Race, Tapas Night, World Café, and the Parade of Nations.

The election was an integral part of the GA. Not only the contenders for the positions of President and Vice President were capable of leading the Association but their vision, dedication and passion were truly inspiring. In the end, it was Leasa Weimer of the North American Chapter who won the Presidency; and Pavan Siriam of the Indian Chapter won as her Vice President.

The parallel sessions had both the interest groups and the regional groups. We had the opportunity to check different professional groups and committees to get to know EMA more intimately, and, in a way, to entice us to be more proactive which, I reckon, was effective.

The South East Asian Region, to which I belong, was a small but very diverse group. There were 9 of us in total: Edu Yuliardi, Ira Purnomo and Tesa Fiona Kaban from Indonesia; Carolyn Lee, Lex Tan Lih Yiang and Ansalm Ho from Malaysia; and Amil Tan, me and Shiella Balbutin from the Philippines. We discussed our plans for our region which was led by the EMASEA Vice President, Shiella, and the EMASEA Promotions Coordinator, Lex. We, of course, decided to take steps in strengthening our group by encouraging other members to also take the lead especially the countries in our region that were not represented in the last GA. We planned on a regional meeting and a continued aggressive promotion of Erasmus Mundus scholarships among the South East Asian students and professionals.

Representing the EMA South East Asia Chapter

Pinoy Erasmus Mundus in Barcelona: the author, Shiella Balbutin and Amil Tan (top) and snacks from home that they shared during the GA (bottom)

I could not also forget that during our South East Asian dinner, we were gracefully joined by the former President of EMA, Chunyu Liang, and the International Veterinary Students’ Association (IVSA) Publication Officer, Manel Millanes.

Attending the GA was like a pilgrimage and having an epiphany—that tiny voice that said, in Phil Cousineau’s words, “Now is the time to lead your ideal life.”

Images courtesy of EMA and SEA group members

Categories: Alumni, Meetings | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

[UPDATE] Welcome to the UK: Pre-departure Briefing for UK-bound Students

Every year British Council conducts a Pre-departure Briefing for UK-bound students. The briefing covers topics ranging from academic life, accommodation, cost of living and many more that aim to help incoming international students.

This year’s Pre-departure Briefing for students will be on 03 August, Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the British Council office in Ortigas Center, Pasig City. The briefing is free. To reserve a seat, please email Please bring your CAS or offer letter.


Categories: Announcements, Students | Leave a comment

The 20th Sibiu International Theatre Festival: The World Takes Center Stage

Our European correspondent Mari-An C. Santos immerses herself in world culture at one of Europe’s top performing arts festivals.

In 2007, Sibiu, Romania was named a European Capital of Culture. This meant that the city in the middle of the region of Transylvania came into the spotlight and under the radar of tourists. But in practical terms, it meant an influx of capital in order to improve systems and structures in anticipation of increased tourism.

These firedancers are thousands of miles away from tropical beaches but are just as intense

These firedancers are thousands of miles away from tropical beaches but are just as intense!

FITS (Festivalul International de Teatru de la Sibiu) or the Sibiu International Theatre Festival is ten days of various performances not limited to the four walls of the theater, a convergence of acrobats, brass bands, street performers, mimes, comedy-musical groups, and improv artists. Its 20th edition was held from June 7 to 16, 2013. FITS is the first festival to be held annually among the top three performing arts festivals in Europe and ranked third after Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland and Festival d’Avignon in France.

It's easy to guess where these bagpipers are from

It’s easy to guess where these bagpipers are from

This year, participating groups came from several continents: Argentina, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Georgia, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Serbia, UK, and USA. The streets, concert halls, churches, parks, cafes and fortresses came alive in a vibrant, pulsating series of performances. Aside from the multilingual theater, dance, music, circus, and street shows, there were also complementary activities like art exhibits, film screenings, conferences, seminars, workshops, book launches, and fora.

“The Tragedian,” a three-part four-hour one-man show about British thespian Edmund Kean, one of the most talented Shakesperean actors of all time, may look scary on paper, but the concept and execution itself were engaging. With a big box and dressed in a coat, the solitary actor walked into the dark hall singing…and as his face was revealed by the spotlight, we were all sucked into this story tracing Kean’s life from childhood til death. The actor not only used different accents to differentiate each character but used his entire body to bring to life each distinct person. Between acts, I would be surprised as I checked my watch to find that an hour had already flown by.

All you really need is one man and a trunk of props

All you really need is one man and a trunk of props

“Hot Dog,” a German modern dance tribute to Andy Warhol is also a condemnation of our market-driven, commercialized society. However, more telling is how it makes one think and rethink just how pervasive is advertising and consumerism in our daily lives.

The multi-awarded Romanian production of “Faust” sent shivers up my spine. With a large cast, it was an inspired version of the classic struggle of man between good and evil and, ultimately, free will. The actors as well as the stage design and direction were astounding. It was like being transported to hell!

The truly ingenious “A Streetcar Named Popescu” was also a Romanian production but performed in Romanian, English, German, and French—all at the same time, and inside a running tram. It dramatized the life of poet Cristian Popescu with limited space, an ensemble of expressive actors, and beautiful verses.

The very strong and serious Polish examination of history and how it weighs down on present society was portrayed in “A Piece on Mother and the Fatherland.” In it, the bruised Polish psyche was revealed through references to modern movies and verses.

The hilarious British puppet improv “The Table” employed one cardboard-box-and-cloth puppet and three puppeteers. And a very big table. I wonder, is the Philippines ready to welcome improv that does not involve embarrassing or humiliating people in the audience or public figures?

A Caribbean parade is always colorful

A Caribbean parade is always full of color

From classics by Chekhov and Shakespeare to contemporary tributes to Andy Warhol and adaptation of Antoine de St. Exupery’s classic novel…From Renaissance music to contemporary chorale… From Scottish bagpipe bands and Belgian performers on stilts to Caribbean ethnic performances that reminded me of our very own Ati-Atihan…the Sibiu International Theatre Festival made the performing arts more accessible to the public—not only to Romanians, but to a multitude of tourists.

As if this hubbub of activity was not enough, there were also the Sibiu Book Festival that gathered voracious readers, talented writers, and enthusiastic publishers as well as the Sibiu Performing Arts Open Market that was an accessible venue for performance arts groups to market their latest works to interested members of the public.

Catching some summer sun in one of the outdoor performances

Catching some summer sun in one of the outdoor performances

How was all of this achieved, you ask? With a lot of logistics and many volunteers, plus the concerted effort of private organizations, businesses, and the government. All of the performances were in the native language of the performing group, all of them used Romanian supertitles (think film subtitles, but flashed above the stage instead) and quite a number of them were translated into English. However, the beauty of art is that it transcends languages…and this was proven well during this festival. Maybe next year, a Philippine group will be a part of it.

Curious about Sibiu? Read more about the cultural heritage and attractions of this Romanian City here.  

Categories: Life in Europe | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sibiu: A Cultured City

Take a trip back in time

Take a trip back in time at the Transylvanian Fortresses Medieval Festival

Journey to Sibiu, Romania, with our correspondent Mari-An C. Santos, and soak in the culture of her second hometown in Transylvania – with Count Dracula safely out of sight.

Sibiu was declared European Capital of Culture in 2007. Every year, since 1985, the European Union awards this distinction to one or more cities to highlight its cultural and historical significance. Consequently, these cities have experienced economic gains from increased tourism. A former German enclave founded in the 12th century and named Hermannstadt, Sibiu is in the middle of the region of Transylvania and at the heart of Romania. A small city at 121 sq kms, it pulsates with life throughout the year. On any given week, in fact, you can enjoy at least one cultural performance. It never gets boring, as long as you know where to look!

Recreation Destinations

In such a small area, there are several museums. The best among them is the Brukenthal Museum, housed in the former Palace of Samuel von Brukenthal, former governor of Hermannstadt during the reign of the Habsburgs. The oldest museum in Romania, it houses a rich collection of Romanian and European art from the 16th to the 18th century, including Jan van Eyck’s Man in a Blue Cap.

The History Museum has an admirable Transylvanian gothic architecture as it used to be the Old City Hall. It has an extensive collection of stone pieces dating back all the way to the Neolithic age that were excavated from all over the region. The Saxon Ethnographic Museum has a collection of material culture that helps people understand better the beginnings and life of Transylvanian Saxons. There are also museums of natural history, pharmacy, steam engine, and hunting weapons.

Traditional building at the ASTRA Museum

Traditional building at the ASTRA Museum of Traditional Folk Civilization

The 250-acre ASTRA Museum of Traditional Folk Civilization showcases houses and windmills, wine and fruit presses, and other such mechanisms as well as wooden churches throughout history from different parts of the country. Here, you can visualize village life. There is also a lake where boats may be rented and a stage on its banks where shows are sometimes held. It is the second biggest open-air museum in the world.

Sala Thalia is home to the State Philharmonic that performs every Thursday night. During special events and festivals, there are more performances. The Radu Stanca National Theatre hosts several plays monthly throughout the year, some in Romanian and some in German. The Sibiu Ballet Theatre Company, composed of ballerinas from America, Europe, and Asia, stages many different classic and contemporary performances throughout the ballet season. Gong Theatre stages innovative puppet and mime performances geared toward children but still very enjoyable for adults—or children at heart. They stage these in Romanian, German, and sometimes, English.

Places like the Habitus Bookshop, ASTRA Film Center, and Casa de Cultura Sindicatelor host film screenings every week. I was even surprised when I saw Poziția Copilului (Child’s Pose), Romania’s Golden Bear winner there, because after the screening, the film’s lead characters came into the venue for a Q&A!

All the world's a stage when festival season comes to Sibiu

All the world’s a stage when festival season comes to Sibiu

Festival Seasons

Aside from these regular or semi-regular entertainment options, there are many annual festivals that make the city come alive! Respiră. Teatru. is an innovation as, for 25 hours in March, there are non-stop performances in different venues. This is in celebration of World Theatre Day. The Sibiu Jazz Festival gathers musicians from various European countries and is held every May.

Huet Square, the oldest settlement in Sibiu, is transported back to the old market days with the Huet.Urban festival. Different vendors and organizations display their wares or their crafts. It is also turned into a green space with beautiful landscaping. The Sibiu International Theatre Festival invades not only theatres but cafes, streets, churches, and parks of Sibiu for 10 days in June. This year, there were groups not only from Europe but also the Carribean, Mexico, Argentina, Japan, and South Korea.

Get ready for cultural experiences beyond the ordinary!

Get ready for cultural experiences beyond the ordinary!

The TIFF (Transylvania International Film Festival) that makes the rounds of the region, is held here in mid-June. The Romanian-American Music Days culminate on the 4th of July. The ARTmania International Rock Festival attracts music fans in August.

Knights and ladies walk the cobbled streets for the entire month of August during the Transylvanian Fortresses Medieval Festival. Here, you’ll hear the traditional music and watch accompanying dances, as well as see jousts and different laborers showcase their work.

The ASTRA Film Festival International Festival of Documentary Film and Visual Anthropology in October is a week-long feast of thoughts and ideas from all over the world. Of course, the unmistakable and iconic Main Square is transformed by the Christmas Fair and market that happens for the entire month of December. Highlights are the big Christmas tree and the mid-sized ice skating rink.

Over and above are summer and winter sports events, different market showcases, bike tours, fairs, and innumerable activities. Not to mention, its proximity to other tourist attractions like Medias, Biertan, Cisnadie, Cisnadioara, Paltinis, Transfagarasan Highway, and Transalpina Road. This is why Sibiu is a good, strategic place to have as a home base.

Read more about Mari-An’s life in Sibiu here.

Categories: Life in Europe | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Vacationing OFW? A first-timer’s guide to POEA and the OEC

UPDATE: The information on this post may no longer be correct. Please refer to your nearest POEA/POLO office or Philippine Embassy for the latest guidelines and procedures.


As thousands of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) take their holiday leaves to spend Christmas and New Year in the Philippines, we would like to give some tips to OFWs, especially those who are coming home from their overseas employment for the first time.

Filipinos returning to their job site abroad cannot leave the Philippines without an Overseas Exit Clearance (OEC). Unconstitutional, perhaps, but there is no way around it if you have a work permit stamped on your passport. Briefly, here are the steps for POEA and the OEC.

For first-timers

Follow these instructions and you should be able to complete the requirements within a week:

1. Go to the POEA office for processing. Before you go, check the list of requirements in POEA’s list of OFW services and procedures. Make sure to come early, bring a pen and be prepared for a long wait.

  • If your contract is in a language other than English, have it translated.
  • Make sure your contract has a repatriation clause. If your company doesn’t allow it (as most EU countries cannot change the standard contract), just ask them to print the repatriation clause on a company letterhead and sign it. Copy the repatriation clause of POEA’s standard employment contract, item #12. Attach this to your contract. When POEA checks your contract, make sure that you point it out to them that you already have the repatriation clause, because by default they will give the letter of compliance for the repatriation clause and ask you to come back with the signature of the company representative. Alternatively, just give your company HR the heads-up that you will be sending over the letter of compliance for their signature.

2. If you were recruited directly by the company, follow “Documentation of Landbased Name Hires“. Follow the process/requirements for Skilled Workers.

  • DAY 1: Queue at POEA. Submit the documents and get a referral for your Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) and the list of affiliated clinics for your medical certificate. At the end of the hall, give your PDOS referral and get a schedule for the PDOS. If you’re lucky you can do it in the afternoon but otherwise you come back the next day. Note: Medical requirements vary per country and POEA-accredited clinics will know what tests are needed for each country. Prices and the speed at which medical results can be obtained depend on the clinic, so call up a few to check. Some can give results on the same day, while some will require you to come back a few days later.
  • DAY 2: Do your medical check-up and attend the PDOS. Have the PDOS certificate photocopied.
  • DAY 3: Return to POEA with the completed set of requirements (including PDOS certificate + medical certificate). If there are no issues, you will then pay the USD100 POEA processing fee, OWWA membership (USD25 per contract, maximum of two years), PHILHEALTH Medicare (P900 as of February 2012) and PAG-IBIG membership (P100). The receipt will serve as your exit clearance. You may also pay additional for monthly PAG-IBIG should you wish to contribute on the spot

3. Before you depart from the airport, you need to have your OEC validated at the OFW counter. OEC bearers are exempted from travel tax and terminal fee at the airport. Click here for the location map of POEA-Labor Assistance Counter at NAIA.

For returning OFWs with valid employment contracts

If you have had your current contract processed at POEA, you will no longer pay for OWWA membership. There is a P100 processing fee and P100 PAG-IBIG membership. If your last departure was over a year ago, you may also need to pay Php1,200 for one-year Philhealth coverage.

1. Proceed to POEA. The process will take at most half a day at POEA main if the queues are long. To avoid the queues, schedule your appointment via POEA offices, including those at airports, also issue OECs. Just make sure to allocate enough time to get it before your flight. There are also satellite processing units at Trinoma, SM Manila and Duty Free main for the holidays. Bring the following:

  • Philippine passport valid for six months from time of departure
  • Valid working visa/work permit
  • Proof of employment such as certificate of employment, company ID, pay slip, and other equivalent document
  • Previous OEC with receipt of OWWA membership.

2. Alternatively, get your OEC from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office at the Philippine Embassy nearest you prior to returning to the Philippines.

3. Bring your OEC with you to the airport on your departure from the Philippines.

Please note that a new employment contract requires OFWs to repeat the process of first-timers. POEA processing fee is waived for extended contracts (same employer renewal).

Happy holidays, everyone!

DISCLAIMER:  The above information is applicable to landbased skilled and professional workers directly hired by companies overseas. Processes for agency recruits, seabased workers, low-skilled workers, and household service workers may be different. As we aren’t experts on this subject, kindly consult Pinoy forums specific to the particular countries and industries where you are employed or wish to be employed if you have any particular situations to discuss.We are also unable to answer questions about job openings overseas or about specific situations regarding the OEC. For more info, please contact the labor office nearest you.

Categories: Alumni | Tags: , , , , | 456 Comments

European Higher Education Fair 2012 Manila


Filipino Erasmus Mundus alumni participated in the recent European Higher Education Fair at the Peninsula Manila. At the European Union booth, they answered questions of prospective applicants and provided useful information to fair attendees.

Read EMA SEA VP Shiella Balbutin’s recap of the event on the EMA website.

Categories: Alumni, Erasmus Mundus, Other events | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prague plays host to EMA’s 6th General Assembly

By: Shiella C. Balbutin, EMA Southeast Asia Chapter VP


The beautiful city of Prague, Czech Republic was the host of the Erasmus Mundus Association’s 6th General Assembly last June 22-23, 2012. The event was held at the Faculty of Education, Charles University.

Close to 160 participants from all over the world, who are members of the EMA Steering Committee, boards of EMA regional chapters, representatives of Erasmus Mundus courses, officers of the European Commission and other members of the association, gathered together for the annual event. As in the past, formal presentations and discussions are usual features at the GA. It opened with the welcome greetings from Radka Wilddova, Dean of the Faculty of Education of Charles University; Martine Dere from the Directorate General of Education and Culture of the European Commission; as well as from Jean Carlos Pelicano and Hady Abi-Nader, President and Vice-president of EMA.

Other presentations were from Jordi Curell, Director of Lifelong Learning: Higher Education and International Affairs of the European Commission; Katarina Nevedalova, member of the European Parliament and VP of the European Youth Forum; Jana Fiorito and Edith Genser, representatives from the Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Commission; and Tahia Devisscher, Erasmus Mundus Quality Advisory Board. Moreover, there was a discussion on the “Erasmus for All” proposal; voting session of the EMA statute; and the meetings of the service teams, professional networks and regional chapters.

Despite the packed two-day schedule, the GA also organized interesting social and cultural activities which delighted the participants. One of which was the “City Hunt”, conducted the day before the GA. During the game, participants were divided into groups and were given tasks to accomplish within a given period of time. It was a great way to establish camaraderie and to see the sights of Prague, albeit hurriedly.

The EMA-South East Asia Chapter Members from Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam

Other highlights of the event included the fellowship dinner on the boat while cruising along Vltava River and passing through Charles Bridge. The beautiful sunset and skyline of the city served as backdrop of the cruise.

The EMA-SEA VP presented the chapter’s accomplishments and plans during the “World Map Session”.

Moreover, it was a time of firsts. For the first time, the GA put the spotlight on the EMA Regional Chapters via the “World Map Session”. It featured the presentations of all chapter representatives wearing their traditional costumes. This certainly reinforced EMA’s rich cultural diversity. As VP of the South East Asia Chapter, I was tasked to introduce and present our chapter’s accomplishments and activities.

During “World Coffee Break”, the chapters showcased flags and delicacies from home (Shiella brought the famed Philippine dried mangoes)

Another first-time feature was the “World Coffee Break”. Prior to the event, we were requested to bring sweets from home and these were showcased and put on display at the chapter booths. It was a very interesting experience as the participants enjoyed sharing and eating the variety of food from different parts of the world. I brought the Philippines’ famous sweet dried mangoes and they were such big hits!

It was another productive and successful GA. It certainly proves that for all the members, finishing our EM courses is not the end but the beginning of a happy journey with EMA.


Read more about EMA alumna Shiella Balbutin’s Prague trip on her blog

Categories: Alumni, Erasmus Mundus, Meetings | 4 Comments

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