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

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

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: , , , , | 454 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

From the EU Delegation: Erasmus Mundus Alumni Database Update

Dear all,

We are updating the Erasmus Mundus alumni database (hopefully to have a complete list) to look into
the possible involvement of the alumni in EU Delegation events this year and for future collaborations.

In this regard, we would like to request some basic information from you, and please kindly send to us the following:

Current Position:
Contact address: email and phone numbers

Year of Completion of Erasmus Mundus Programme:

Please send the information to me at Grateful for your response by 1st of March 2012. 

Thank you.

Thelma Gecolea
Public Affairs Officer
EU Delegation to the Philippines

Categories: Alumni, Announcements | Leave a comment

Contributors wanted!

Are you an Erasmus Mundus student or alumnus with something to show or tell about your EM experience? We would be happy to hear from you. Share your stories, tips and photos with the Pinoy Erasmus Mundus blog. Citizenship is not an issue; non-Filipinos are welcome. Feel free to email your suggestions, proposals or drafts to

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

Vote for your Erasmus Mundus Course Representative

All EMA members are welcome to cast their votes to select their course representative!

Just log in to the EMA Community, read the instructions, look at the profiles of the candidates and press the VOTE button!

The online elections are over on March 21st, 2011 (23:59 CET).

Feel free to contact us with any questions.

[via EMA]

Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Students | Leave a comment

Filipino graduates summa cum laude from doctoral degree in Germany

An alumnus of the University of the Philippines School of Economics and the Erasmus Mundus program European Master in Law Economics, Alfredo R. Paloyo, 29, obtained his doctoral degree with the highest distinction in the Ruhr University of Bochum (RUB), Germany.

After three years at the Ruhr Graduate School in Economics (RGS Econ), Paloyo defended his dissertation, “The Armed Forces and Society: Econometric Analyses of a Military Drawdown and Compulsory Military Service”, on January 29 of this year and graduated with the degree of Doctor rerum oeconomicarum (equivalent to a PhD), summa cum laude.

The RGS Econ is a joint program organized by RUB, the Technical University of Dortmund, the University of Duisburg–Essen, and the Rhine–Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI).

His dissertation dealt with two themes: (1) an impact analysis of the German military base realignments and closures and (2) the labor-market and human-capital effects of compulsory military service in Germany. His supervisor is Prof. Dr. Thomas K. Bauer of RUB and RWI. His previous works have been published at Defence and Peace Economics and the European Business Organization Law Review.

The 2002 (B.S., cum laude) and 2005 (M.A.) alumnus of the UPSE entered the RGS Econ in 2007 after completing the European Master in Law Economics (LL.M.), an Erasmus Mundus program of the European Commission. The EMLE was jointly awarded to Paloyo by the Erasmus University of Rotterdam (Netherlands), University of Hamburg (Germany), and the University of Bologna (Italy).

He graduated as the best student of his EMLE cohort and also earned the award for the best thesis for his work, “Minority Foreign Ownership of Filipino-Controlled Corporations: An Exploratory Study”. His thesis was supervised by Prof. Ronald J. Gilson of the Stanford Law School and Columbia University’s School of Law.

Paloyo was previously a Teaching Fellow at UPSE, an Assistant Professorial Lecturer at De La Salle University Manila, and a Research Associate at the Institute of Human Rights of the UP Law Center. Currently, he is a researcher at the RWI, evaluating the minimum-wage policy in the construction sector for Germany’s Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

His father, Wilfredo N. Paloyo of Camalig, Albay, and mother, María Lourdes R. Paloyo of Tuguegarao, Cagayan, are both self-employed. His brothers are Dr. Siegfredo R. Paloyo, a Clinical Associate Professor at the Philippine General Hospital and a member of the kidney transplant team of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and Wilfredo R. Paloyo, Jr., a Metadata Specialist for the Dow Jones Corporate Media Group in Barcelona, Spain. Both his brothers are also graduates of UP.

Categories: Alumni | 10 Comments

Survey of Erasmus Mundus students and alumni

The purpose of the longitudinal survey is to measure the impact of Erasmus Mundus on the career prospects and on personality of students’ and alumni.

This year the survey contains additional questions on employability. The reason for that is that the Commission wants to have more specific insights in the career development of alumni, including the measures taken by Erasmus Mundus courses to enhance student employment perspectives.

Participants in the survey would greatly help the European Commission. The more people fill in the questionnaire the more usable are the survey results, so that the EC can further strengthen the focus of the Erasmus Mundus programme on employability.

Filling in the questionnaire will take max 20 minutes for students and max 25 minutes for alumni. As a sign of appreciation, 45 online bookstore vouchers of EUR 50 are offered as prizes.

As a student or graduate of Erasmus Mundus you are the one who knows the most about the programme! Tell us about it!

The survey will be open until March 10th, 2011.

[via EMA website]

Categories: Alumni, Students | 1 Comment

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