Taking the leap and studying abroad through Wanderfest

After five years of trying to achieve the goal of “connecting Filipino students and educational opportunities,” held their sixth bi-annual Wanderfest International Education Fair at the Makati Ballroom Insular Life Building, Makati City last November 8.

Participants were given a glimpse of different universities represented in the event—such as Queensford College in Australia, University Canada West in Canada, and Waseda University in Japan—while opportunities for online courses and other educational-related prospects, like KOKOS International and Career Consultants Network, were also given the spotlight.

“We’ve done research before and we found out that one of the biggest problems being faced by Filipino students is not being certain where to go in terms of their education,” said Josh Arellano, the Head of Study Abroad at 

He explained that this stumbling block inspired his organization to help students “make more informed and better decisions” on their educational journey.

Out of their comfort zone

A speaker for the event, Bachelor of Science in Communication graduate from the University of the Philippines Los Baños Myrrazen Consulta shared her experiences as a student representative of the University of Trento, Italy, during the 2017 Fall-Winter semester, describing it as a “roller coaster life”.

“Being an exchange student was one of the best life-changing and empowering experiences that I ever had in my life,” Consulta reminisced. Though she initially feared not graduating on time due to enrolling in non-accredited subjects and spending time traveling, she came to find new experiences and friends during her journey worthwhile. She also expressed the anxiety of being “thousands of miles” away from her family for six months. 

Yet as she experienced being in a foreign territory filled with uncertainty, Consulta realized, “It is normal to be scared.”

Photo by Enrico Sebastian Salazar

Immersed in culture

Reminiscing about her experiences as an exchange student in Italy, Consulta noted that students on exchange should not only focus on their academics during their stay, but also enjoy traveling foreign locales. 

“You are there not only as an exchange student, but also as a [traveler]—50 percent study, 50 percent travel or explore,” she stressed.

One concrete example Consulta gave was her time with the Erasmus Student Network, a European youth organization that supports international exchange students on their travels. She recalled her group going to Munich, Germany, and attending Oktoberfest, the country’s annual beer festival held every late September to early October.

Emphasizing how being an exchange student is a “once-in-a-lifetime experience”, Consulta was immersed in the country’s people, food, and culture. She mentioned that she was grateful she “took the leap” and experienced Germany for that semester, gaining a newfound appreciation for the country’s unique features.

Seizing the opportunity

Wanderfest, being one of the manifestations of’s goal to assist students on exchange, also featured another educational agency that shares a similar objective. Offering a peek of educational opportunities in Australia, guest speaker and KOKOS International Country Head Haycee Pineda noted the country was the third most popular destination for international English-speaking students globally, behind the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively. Additionally, she claimed that Australian universities are not just recognized nationally, but even globally.

She also gave a basic overview of the requirements for studying in Australia. Among the requirements clients need to meet is proof of their proficiency in the language of English, either in the form of a Pearson English Language Test or International English Language Testing System result.

As an arm of international education and migration consultation organization KOKOS International, she assured that her company will not only supply a handful of migration services to their clients, but even continued assistance after the end of their initial services, such as the extension of visas.

Pineda also boasted KOKOS International’s linkages with all of the “Ivy League universities” in Australia—with 22,000 courses offered over 1,100 institutions in the country, the programs available in Australia “are literally from A to Z.”

“Your options are limitless,” she declared.

Along a similar line, Arellano acknowledged the decision to go on exchange being “really big”, yet  urged the audience to make a critical decision and seize the opportunity if they can. He further assured that the event’s organizers and partners will be there to help them every step of the way.

Enrico Sebastian Salazar

By Enrico Sebastian Salazar

Contributor of University and Vanguard since TLS 58. Internal Development Manager in TLS 59. Currently designing the new website.

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