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News and Events :

ALTER- IEC ties up with over 15 universities in Philippines, with global exclusive rights for programs in medicine, engineering, Pharmacy, Optometry, Physiotherapy and various other programs taught in English.

Nursing to the Ends of the Earth
Source: http://thepinoy.net/?p=1226

By Erwin Cabucos?MANILA, Philippines - Theresa Lisondra’s hands were trembling when she hung up the phone in a small company clinic in Zamboanga City. It was the call she had been waiting for. The words of the caller from the 20-bed hospital in an outback town in Australia kept drumming in her head. In need of a nurse. As soon as possible. The nursing supervisor had been forthcoming: “It’s a small healthcare facility and the town is not much bigger either. And we need your help. Will you come and work for us?”
Theresa dashed to an Internet café, hardly blinking as she scanned the screen: “Welcome to Balranald, New South Wales. Wheat’s everywhere. Population: 1500. Forget about clubs, cinemas and food courts. There’s an IGA, a local cooperative sort of general store, and the next Woolworths, the major grocery chain in the country, is one hour away.”

She breathed in and felt her palms sweating. “Should I go for it?” she thought. “Will I survive there?” She made a decision. “At least it’s in Australia,” she reassured herself. If she could survive the poverty in the Philippines, she could make it in the outback, she thought.

Her initial worries, she recalled, were the duties she’d be assigned to do: Would they be different from what she was doing in the Philippines? How about the people I’d be working with? “At that time, I still hadn’t been exposed to a proper hospital setting,” she added.

After flights from Zamboanga to Manila, then on to Melbourne, the shy Filipina nurse hopped on a bus for a 15-hour journey to a town “so quiet, I could hear the chirping of a bird on a wheat stalk at the side of the road.” There was only one bank—the Commonwealth Bank, which is serviced by a post office agent.

Despite the challenges of her new environment, Theresa considered herself lucky. The only girl among three children born to Tirso and Victoria Lisondra of Zamboanga City, she now had the opportunity to earn dollars and send money to augment her family’s survival income.

Actually, it was not Theresa’s first time in Australia. She had been on an AusAid Scholarship to study Nursing at the University of Newcastle, which is situated in a coastal town two hours by car north of Sydney. While at the university, she did her practice as a clinical nurse at the city’s John Hunter Hospital and the Mater Hospital.

After completing her degree in Australia, Theresa returned home to practice her profession in Zamboanga’s needy areas, only to find that her Australian nursing degree was not recognized in the Philippines. “I was appalled! I had studied for four years in a first world country and yet what I learned was not good enough for the Philippines!”

She learned that to be recognised as a registered nurse in the country, she had to go through two more years of studies and had to work in a hospital setting. “I wasn’t prepared to do that,” says Theresa. “At the back of my mind, I had plans to somehow find the means to go back to Australia.”

In the meantime, she found work as a clinic nurse in a plywood processing company in Zamboanga, treating wounded workers and earning six Australian dollars a day (about P200). She laughs about it now. She currently receives about 50 Australian dollars or about P1,900 an hour on weekends.

“And it was hard work at the clinic,” recalls Theresa. “You attend to a wounded patient, apply first aid, call a doctor and organise transport to a bigger hospital if needed, and so on.”

Things were not as busy in Balranald, she adds. “I had to do physiotherapy, blood letting and collection, injections, cannula application, time management, taking charge of the ward, etc. But I get to have a rest as well.” The staff were very helpful, she says. “I was in a small town where people had big hearts.”

Eventually, Theresa admits, she got bored. “I asked my supervisor if there was a Filipino community in town, and she gave the name of the local pharmacist whom she thought might be married to a Filipina.” This was after all a small town where everyone kind of knows everyone else. “My head nurse called the pharmacist straightaway and she was right: the pharmacist’s wife was the only other Filipino in town! I was given a number.”

When she attended Mass that Sunday, Theresa found that there was actually a third Filipina in town. Her two kababayans didn’t even know each other, she recalls. “I had to introduce them. It seems they mostly just stayed indoors for fear of becoming dark from the sun. I laughed.”

Apparently, the two other Filipinas had thought that Balnarald Hospital’s predominantly aboriginal patients had gotten their dusky color from Australia’s fierce sun. Theresa took it all in stride. “My patients’ skin color does not matter to me. When I help, I help genuinely—and that’s what drives me as a nurse. It’s so rewarding to be able to help someone, seeing them getting better.”

Like other professionals, Theresa faces challenges in her job. She recalls instances when she had to collect blood from a drunken patient. “The needle wobbled as his arm shook. It was scary,” she says. “There were also times when my patient’s family would look for another nurse even when I was in the room with them. I felt degraded and belittled. I suspect that some people, Caucasians especially, believe that because I’m Asian, I’m not good enough.” She decided to approach them nonetheless, asking confidently and with a smile if she could help them. “I wanted to show them that I was just as qualified as the other nurses,” she recounts.

After a year at Balnarald, Theresa was able to buy her own car. No longer dependent on public transport, she drove to the cities and decided to transfer to the coastal and cosmopolitan cities on the east coast of Australia. She went back to work at John Hunter Hospital and the Mater Private Hospital, in the same city where she had studied nursing. Surrounded by acquaintances from her university days, she felt quite at home. Filipinos, one of the fastest growing migrant groups in Australia, were everywhere and maintained their social ties through community events and festivities.

But Theresa wanted to see more of this vast continent and registered herself through a nursing agency. Being single and free, she thought she could have the time of her life seeing more of Australia. From doing the big cities, she was eventually posted to small New South Wales towns, including Denman (population: 1500) and Yeoval (population: 450), and later to big cities, including Canberra—the nation’s capital with a population of over 320,000.

Looking back on those years, Theresa compares working as a nurse in remote areas, with her nursing duties in cosmopolitan cities. “In the city, you only focus on ward duties. The blood letting, physiotherapy and other tasks are assigned to other professionals.”

Two years after, she applied for—and was granted—permanent residency. After a couple more years, she got her citizenship. But Theresa never forgot Balranald and says that given the chance, she’d like to come back to work in one such quiet place because she could easily save and send more money back home.

For the Balranald assignment, Theresa applied online through websites like mycareer.com.au and seek.com.au in Australia and sent them her resume. “Far Western Area Health Service, which manages the Balranald hospital, was the only one that responded,” she recalls. “They interviewed me over the phone and sent me the visa to work on a contractual basis. It was so easy. I was even given an establishment allowance, including a plane and a bus ticket.”

Theresa says it is easy for other Filipino nurses to have their degrees updated and to work as registered nurses in Australia. Salaries can reach up to $65,000 a year. Filipinos who have degrees other than nursing can also have their previous studies assessed by the National Office for Overseas Recognition or NOOSR.

“It is easier to study nursing in Australia than in the Philippines,” she says. “Students in Australia are only given tasks to study or practice, or to write about as an essay to complete a subject. Students in the Philippines are given exams every week or every two weeks. That can be very exhausting.”

As for possible life partners, Theresa pauses before admitting that she hardly sees any young men her age. They could be in the pub, she surmises, not exactly her scene. “I think I’m really destined for a Filipino guy,” she says. “And anyone interested in applying for the position of that special one simply needs to speak up and not be shy,” she adds, laughing.

This year, Theresa hopes to be able to bring her mother to visit Australia. “I want to show Mamang the beautiful places here. I’ll think she’ll enjoy them all.”
Erwin Cabucos writes fiction and non-fiction for Philippine publications, including Filipinas Magazine in New York and Bayanihan News in Australia.

Source; http://theseoultimes.com/ST/?url=/ST/db/read.php?idx=6404
The Seoul Times

Philippines Becomes ESL Destination

By Jake Reed
Staff Writer/Assistant Editor

By Jake Reed
Staff Writer/Assistant Editor

When Koreans think of studying English abroad countries like the USA and Canada come to mind. Yet, for almost 30 years, South Koreans have been being educated in English in the Philippines.
In order to create awareness of the benefits of studying

English in the Philippines seven school representatives set up booths at Coex's Pacific Hall in Seoul for the bi-annual Korea Student Fair on March 29-30, 2008. Hundreds of Koreans could be seen seeking information on their educational future abroad.

As an underdog of in terms of ESL education, this South Eastern island nation has been pushing forward an awareness campaign in South Korea.

First secretary and consul of the Philippine Embassy in Seoul, Sylvia Marasigan, gave her thoughts on as to why people should study in her country. "The distance to the Philippines is shorter and the prices are more reasonable than other countries offering English education" she said.

Having qualified personnel teaching students is also a concern. The Philippines is certainly not lacking in such. "Filipinos speak English from birth and the language acts as the medium in which we are educated" exclaimed the first secretary.

She also feels that "the South Korean government should allow people from her country to teach English just like people from other recognized countries that have it as their national language."

uition depends on how long you want to study. The shortest curriculum is 8 weeks and the longer ones peak off at 24 weeks. The cost of living is also considerably cheaper than other western countries who attended the Student Fair.

The history of the South Koreans learning English in the Philippines started in the 1980's and became immensely popular in the early 90's. The most popular cities are Manila, Cebu, Baguio, and Boracay. In terms of costs, Baguio is amongst the most inexpensive places for accommodation and tuition. Some of the pricier cities include Manila and Cebu.

The Philippines offer a competitive alternative to already established English teaching destinations with a more than fair price and a much shorter trip




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