Wednesday, August 22, 2007

He never said "NO"...

I have just received notification that I was chosen as an Alternate Candidate for the Fulbright Program 2008-2009. There were 167 applicants this year and the Board approved 9 Principal Candidates and 3 Alternate Candidates. That’s about 7% out of the total number of applicants. Not bad huh?

So what does an alternate candidate mean? Well, we have been approved by the Board as candidates but, due to limited funds, are not guaranteed funding for our graduate degree unlike principal candidates. We can be upgraded to Principal Candidates if: (1) any candidate backs out for any reason (although I don’t imagine anyone doing that. I know I wouldn’t but hey I might just get lucky! Hehe) and (2) if there are additional funding that comes in.

The good news is that in the past 5 years, ALL Alternate Candidates went on to take their graduate degrees along with the Principal Candidates. This was achieved by encouraging all candidates to pursue studies in universities which offer grants or scholarships for their studies. This way, they don’t spend 100% on each individual candidate and gets the funds spread out to both Principal and Alternate. So now, it is crucial for me to find a university that offers my graduate degree program (Museum Education) and offers scholarships to students.

So now, just like the Principal Candidates, I go through the application process and submit all requirements to PAEF (Philippine-American Education Foundation, they facilitate Fulbright in the Phils) who in turn will forward my documents to the Institute of International Education (the US agency that arranges academic placement for most Fulbright nominees and supervises them throughout their stay in the U.S).

Right now, I am in Singapore for an internship with DHL Asia Pacific Regional Office. I am currently involved in CSR and Corporate Communications work. I just started this internship last week. I will write a separate blog on my internshp and the exciting new things I am learning everyday.

Another good news is that PAEF does not require me to go home to the Philippines and terminate my internship with DHL- in fact I was told that I can even finish it since school does not start until September 2008. I will be corresponding with them via e-mail or phone. I will just have to make sure that I submit all necessary documents to them way ahead of the deadline and attend a couple of mandatory seminars towards the end of May. We will also need to clarify if I can take the GRE in Singapore or if I need to go to Manila for that.

So it’s another round of prayers and begging from Him from now until the time I get accepted to a university.

I guess last year, when I asked Him for this Fulbright Grant, He did not say “NO”. He just said, “Ethel wait until you are more ready for it”. In the same way that 2 years ago, when I asked for the same DHL internship I currently hold, He also said “Later”. I suppose this whole experience with DHL and Fulbright is a lesson in patience and trust. And believe me, I have learned a lot!