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A newly industrialized country and emerging market in Asia, the Philippines has welcomed an increasing number of international students in recent years, and is also a popular tourist destination – not surprising when you look at those tropical, sunny beaches. However, the Philippines has more to offer than an attractive coastline; those who study in the Philippines will be able to explore its fascinating mix of Islamic, Malay, Spanish and American influences on Filipino culture.

Applying to universities in the Philippines 

There are two intakes for entry into universities in the Philippines, one in June and one in November. You should apply directly to your chosen university, providing an academic transcript relevant to your level of study. Depending on the university and program, you may also need to provide letters of recommendation and/or sit admission exams.

As the language of instruction at most universities in the Philippines is English, you’ll need to prove your proficiency with a test such as IELTS or TOEFL if you’re not a native.

Applying for a Philippines visa

All international students will need a student visa, which you’ll need to apply for from the Philippine embassy or consulate in your home country after you’ve gained admission at a Filipino university. You’ll need to provide the right documents (which should be stated on your embassy’s website) and then attend an interview at the embassy or consulate. Your Philippines visa will be valid for a year and is renewable each semester. The documents you’ll typically need include:

  • Your passport, which should be valid for at least six months after you intend to leave the Philippines;
  • Your completed visa application form;
  • A medical health certificate (DFA Form 11) with life-size chest x-ray and laboratory reports; 
  • Three photographs of yourself;
  • A police clearing certificate;
  • Your notice of acceptance to study at a university in the Philippines;
  • Proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay, or a scholarship;
  • Your paid visa fee.

Fees and funding

International students looking to study in the Philippines will be pleased to read that living costs are very low – you’ll only need around US$4,200-6,000 per year. Tuition fees are also on the low side. Universities set their own fees and they will vary between programs, but you’ll pay an average of US$1,000 per year at public universities and US$1,200 to 2,500 at private institutions.

Note that your student visa does not allow you to find part-time work in the Philippines while you study, so you can’t supplement your expenses as you go.

Health and safety 

You should secure health insurance before you study in the Philippines. You may be able to acquire this from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, which provides affordable health insurance for all citizens. However, you should also check the options available in your home country. It’s also a good idea to visit your health professional before your visit to check if you need any vaccinations before you set off to the Philippines.

The Philippines’ location on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ makes it prone to earthquakes and typhoons, the latter of which can be expected during the rainy season from June to November. There are also numerous volcanoes in the Philippines. It’s wise to read up on what to do in case of any natural disasters. As of April 2016, the island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago are considered dangerous due to terrorist activity so visitors are not advised to visit these locations. 

About Philippines

The Philippines, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines, is a sovereign state in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. The country is estimated to have the second-largest gold deposits after South Africa and one of the largest copper deposits in the world.

The Philippines is located in Southeast Asia. The country is an archipelago of more than 7,100 islands in the Pacific Ocean. More than 800 of the islands are inhabited. The country is bordered by the Philippine Sea to the east, the South China Sea to the west and the Celebes Sea to the south. The geography of the country is mostly mountains covered in tropical rain forests and many active volcanoes exist. English is widely spoken and with a population of nearly 100 million, the Philippines is the world’s third largest English-speaking nation. Filipino and English are both official languages, although Spanish and Arabic are spoken in the country as .well. The currency is the Filipino peso, abbreviated PHF and sometimes spelled piso. The country has been inhabited for nearly 70,000 years. The Philippines is rich in mineral resources, including copper, nickel, chromite and zinc. The Philippines was the first Asian country to compete and win a medal in the Summer Olympics in 1924.

The Philippines has a tropical climate with three seasons. June through September is generally rainy, October to February is cool, and March through May is hot and dry. Temperatures are usually warm, ranging from about 21 degrees C to about 32 degrees C. January is usually the coolest month and May is usually the hottest month. Temperatures at higher elevations tend to be somewhat cooler, averaging about 18 degrees C at about 1,500 meters. Annual rainfall is more than 5,000 millimeters in some areas and less than 1,000 millimeters in others.

People in the Philippines are known for their hospitality and happiness and the culture is a blend of east and west due to significant Spanish and American influences. In fact, many people, streets and towns have Spanish names. Many festivals throughout the country preserve cultural traditions such as folk dancing. Cuisine in the Philippines is a mixture of Polynesian, Spanish, Chinese and American foods and many dishes include coconuts, mangoes and seafood. Recreational and cultural activities revolve around water, including swimming, surfing, diving and snorkeling. Tourist attractions include marine parks, rice terraces, mountains and underground rivers. Popular spectator sports include basketball and boxing. Mountaineering, cycling and karate are also very popular recreational activities.

Cost of Living
The cost of living in the Philippines is quite low, and students will only need about US$350 to US$500 each month. Students are generally not allowed to work with a student visa.

Visa Requirements
All international students require a student visa to study in the Philippines. Once the student is admitted to a Philippine institution, the student may apply for the visa at the Philippine embassy or consulate in their home country. After all of the proper documents have been received, the student must make an appointment to appear for an interview at the embassy or consulate. The visa is good for one year, but may be renewable after each semester. Students in a formal exchange program may receive an Exchange Student Visa, which is valid for the entire period of the student’s program. Documents required to obtain a visa include the student’s passport, visa application, a medical health certificate (DFA Form 1) with life-size chest x-ray and laboratory reports and a police clearance certificate.

Study in Philippines

Higher Education in the Philippines
The higher education system in Philippines is modeled after the American education system and includes bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Students earning professional degrees are usually taught American standards, such as the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles for accounting students.

Why Study in the Philippines?
More than 5,000 international students already study in the Philippines every year. In addition to having one of the best education systems in Asia, all education programs, including master’s programs, are taught completely in English. The quality of the faculty is very high — higher education institutes employ 115,000 teachers with master’s and doctorate degrees.

The Philippines has more than 2,200 universities and other higher educational institutions, including satellite campuses and local colleges, along with several international schools. About 650 schools are public and about 1,600 are private. There are 110 state universities.

Tuition and Program Duration
Tuition at both public and private schools is generally low. Annual tuition at a public school is about US$ 1,000 and annual tuition at private schools runs from about US$ 1,200 to US$ 2,500. Most master’s degree programs are 1-2 years depending upon the school and academic discipline.

Academic Year
Schools in the Philippines usually use the semester system. The first semester begins in June and runs through October. The second semester begins in November and runs through April. Both semesters include one week of exams after classes have ended.

Post-Graduate Opportunities
Graduates of Philippines master’s programs will find that their degree is recognized all over the world. Students with degrees in engineering are particularly in demand, but all graduates will find opportunities. Non-native English speakers who wish to pursue a doctorate in the US, UK, Canada or other English-speaking country can use a master’s degree from the Philippines as a stepping stone to those countries as they will have proven their ability to accomplish studies in English.

Health Insurance
Foreign students may be able to pay for coverage through the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, which provides affordable insurance to all Philippine citizens. However, students should check insurance options available from their home country or international insurance options.

Unlike most Asian countries, Filipinos do not eat with chopsticks. Most meals are eaten with a spoon and fork due to the style of dishes.

Credit cards and US dollars are widely accepted throughout the country in addition to the peso. However, when traveling to rural areas, students should carry cash.

Students traveling to the Philippines from Africa or South America should check to see if they need a yellow fever vaccination prior to arrival.












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