Author Archives: musanggala

Erasmus Mundus Forum is now open!

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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

Results jitters

Hello, EM applicants!

I’ve noticed a lot of tension and excitement in the comments section lately pertaining to the results of the 2012-2013 intake. Because there is a lack of a proper forum for the topic, it’s inevitable that this blog is flooded with your updates, which we welcome.

One thing I would like to request for you is to be very patient. I know you’ve been waiting for a long time. I’ve been there and I know how it feels like. Don’t get stressed about things that are beyond your control and add to other applicants’ nervousness. Just state your update (or the lack thereof), but please don’t vent here. The results will greatly impact on your life for the next few years, for sure, but it’s not reasonable to expect an inter-country committee poring through hundreds of application to fit their timelines into yours. Some consortia have finished their processes ahead but don’t let that be your standard. Each consortium has its own timings, though they all have the same deadlines at the Commission.

If it’s any consolation, I only heard about the scholarship decision in late June. I believe a lot has improved since then (six years ago).

Good luck and keep us posted. We’d be happy to hear from you.



Your Admin

Categories: Announcements, Erasmus Mundus, Students | 1 Comment

Pinoy Erasmus Mundus cited in Emanate, the EMA magazine

The Pinoy Erasmus Mundus blog was one of the EM-related blogs featured in the Blogosphere section of Emanate, the magazine of the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association. In issue 5 (December 2010), Pinoy Erasmus Mundus was pointed out by Russian MSc EuroAquae alumnus (2005-2007) Kostya Vasilyev, alongside the Euroculture Globetrotters blog and the Erasmus Mundus page on the Russian Facebook equivalent, among others.

The blog is a platform for communication and “first aid” for the Erasmus Mundus students from the Philippines in Europe. It contains plenty of information about Erasmus Mundus presented in a very organised and easy to read manner with some humour as well. it is enough to have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions section of the blog. I am sure the blog will be interesting not only for students and graduates from the Philippines, but for other students willing to get similar information about living in the EU as well.

Thank you for the mention, Kostya!

Categories: Erasmus Mundus | 2 Comments

Get HOSTed

I’m sharing this for the benefit of international students in the United Kingdom, EM or not. Do take advantage of HOST UK and and be open to an experience will give you a new perspective on life in Britain.

Categories: Life in Europe | Leave a comment

Love is such a beautiful thing

The blog’s been quiet for several weeks, but we’re still here…

Sharing something from a trip I took two years ago. Happy day of hearts, everyone!

Categories: Erasmus Mundus, Life in Europe | Leave a comment

Erasmus Mundus alumni bike trip in Jakarta

Southeast Asian Erasmus Mundus alumni (plus Jennifer Lenhart of the EMA Steering Committee) touring old Jakarta last November by bike with a rider/driver.

Can you imagine bringing the Southeast Asian alumni over to Manila and taking calesas around Intramuros? Just a thought.

Categories: Alumni | 2 Comments

EHEF Jakarta 2008

by Abby Yao

Selamat datang to Indonesia! And what a welcome we received. On the first weekend of November, three Filipina Erasmus Mundus alumnae–Jill (EMLE 2006-07), Vilma (MSPME 2006-08) and I (CoMundus 2006-08)–were in Jakarta to attend the European Higher Education Fair (EHEF) at Balai Kartini in the city’s business district.  We joined EM alumni from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to help promote and spread awareness about the Erasmus Mundus scholarships.

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Like EHEF Manila held at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel early this year, EHEF Jakarta had booths of exhibiting universities from all over Europe to provide information about their course offerings. The European Union booth, the fair’s largest, had information materials about the EU for the EHEF visitors to take home. The EM alumni were at the booth to answer questions from prospective applicants. In addition, there were Erasmus Mundus talks by Mr. Koen Nomden of the EC in the seminar rooms. The two original talks were suffocatingly packed. When Hungary backed out of their session slot, EM stepped in and still had a capacity crowd.

The European Union booth

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On Day One, we put on our EHEF shirts and  EM Alumni Association (EMA) pins. My spiel began with this: “If you have any questions about the Erasmus Mundus scholarships, I would be happy to answer them.” And the questions just kept coming. (Maybe I was smiling too much.)

We stayed at the booth from 10am until nearly 3pm, after which we left for a city tour arranged by the local coordinators who were also EM alumni. We braved Jakarta traffic and headed by bus to Museum Bank Mandiri, passing by MONAS (National Monument) and the Istana Merdeka, their version of the White House. After the bank tour, we went around the old part of the city on bikes.


Just like tourists

By nightfall, we were on our way to Lara Djonggrang restaurant, perhaps the most beautiful restaurant I had ever seen. After tasting the local specialties, it was time for business. Jennifer from the EMA Steering Committee brought up the plan to form the Southeast Asian chapter and key issues were brought up for discussion.

Jill, Vilma and Iqbal setting up

Day Two was another full day. Jill, Vilma and I were early at the venue, so we helped out in unpacking the booklets and brochures, and spreading them out on stands and tables. We were often mistaken for Indonesians, more so because we wore batik shirts. I had to tell people approaching me that I can only speak to them in Bahasa Inggris. By 5pm, the crowds were thinning out and we could finally take it easy. All the non-Indonesian alumni (except us Pinays) left early that afternoon to catch their flights, so we went to Plaza Semanggi with the Indonesian alumni for dinner. The three of us stayed for two more days of sightseeing and shopping in the capital.

Being at EHEF was an exhilarating experience for me. The turnout was incredible. From an expected 4,000 attendees, the visitor count reached 15,000 for the weekend–a smashing success on all counts. You could really feel the number of people because the booth ran out of materials though there were stacks of them everywhere at opening time. I am also sure that I spoke to at least a hundred students and parents over the course of the fair.


EM Alumni in batik

Discussing with the Pinays, we thought of how to promote EM in the Philippines and about the lessons we picked up from the organization of the event. There is much left to do in terms of awareness and information, especially outside Metro Manila. Our hope is to make Erasmus Mundus one of the most sought-after postgraduate scholarships for Filipinos. But for now, the immediate task is to persuade alumni to register at the EMA site and become official members of the alumni association.

Side view of the EU booth

Working as a team with fellow alumni was fun. Although I had never met the other alumni before (and I only met Jill and Vilma at EHEF Manila after our programs), our studies in Europe certainly brought us together. Being from different courses was even an advantage because we could refer queries for particular programs to fellow alumni.

To the EMA, the EC delegation and the alumni who volunteered their time and effort to bring us all together in Jakarta, terima kasih! We look forward to the launch of the Southeast Asian chapter next year and working with you in events like this in the future. Sama-sama, anything is possible.

[More Jakarta posts on my blog over the next two weeks.]

Categories: Alumni, Erasmus Mundus | 5 Comments


[Published in Youngblood, page A11, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 5 July 2008]

Studying in two countries where it often rained made me imagine the Philippines as eternally sunny. Now that I am home, I realize how silly that notion was. As the monsoon showers fall on Manila, the sound of the rain takes me back to my last days in Denmark, where I found out that, at 25, I still had a lot of growing up to do.

Perhaps we were spoiled at the student residence in London, where our rooms were cleaned every morning and we had scrumptious desserts served with our meals. Arriving in Roskilde, Denmark, for a semester as an exchange student, I was stunned to find that the room for which I was charged a P100,000 deposit was empty. I survived my first week through the kindness of strangers: a student who loaned me an extra mattress and a sleeping bag, a secretary at the university who sneaked out plates and utensils from the cafeteria for me, and others who will never know how grateful I am that they disposed of their furniture at the dumping shed where I found a bed and two chairs.

Raised in a two-income household in the Philippines, I relied on the house help for every domestic chore. Forced to do the same chores in a foreign land, I took the challenge rather seriously. Simple tasks like cleaning the room and the toilet gave me a sense of responsibility. I cooked for myself but spared my new friends the torment of eating my embarrassing kitchen experiments. And though I ended up washing my clothes in the bathroom sink, I enjoyed doing the laundry because it gave me a break from reading and writing.

As the Danish students were reclusive and other Asians were more so, I found myself in the company of European students who were also trapped in that quiet hamlet without commercial establishments. We weathered the winter by singing on the karaoke and dancing, and enjoyed the 18-hour days when the sun was out. Life there was vastly different from London and Manila. That was until the festival came.

[continue reading here]

Categories: Life in Europe | Leave a comment

Have camera, will travel

Every international student needs a laptop and a camera. Studying in different universities means you must be prepared to be mobile, so the sizes and weights of your gadgets do matter.

Being a student overseas is an opportunity to discover the strange and unfamiliar (and everything else less so). I started a photolog last month to showcase a few images I took on my Erasmus Mundus journey. Join me as I go retrace my European experience every day, one image at a time.


Categories: Life in Europe | 4 Comments

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