Tuesday, June 27, 2006
It all began last year at the Cineuropa Film Festival at Shangri-La Plaza. While The Spanish Apartment (L'Auberge Espagnole) isn't the best PR vehicle for Erasmus Mundus (watch it to see why not), it was interesting to find out that there is an inter-cultural study program in Europe. The festival's programme had a link to the Erasmus website, so I checked it out.
I got excited when I saw that they offered an MA in Communication because I had always wanted to take postgraduate studies abroad.
I was thrilled to know that the course will allow a student to attend two universities in different European countries because I love to explore new places.
I became ecstatic when I read that they offered a total of 25 scholarships, of which three are for Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka or Vietnam.
That's when doubt started to creep in. Three scholarships. What are my odds?
With some prodding from my mom, I prepared an application and submitted all the requirements in December 2005. Then the six-month wait began.
One Saturday morning, I set about making a Yahoo group for my cousins. I opened my mail and saw a subject line that made me nervous. After opening the message, I screamed and ran upstairs to tell my mom. It felt unreal, as if I won the lotto. (Actually, it is like winning the lotto, except I have to spend the money in a particular way. No matter.)
The reality of living on my own far, far away from my family has dawned on me. There is much work (legwork, homework and paperwork) to be done. Applying for three visas with two months left before my departure is no joke.
After doing the math, I estimate that I'll spend half my savings buying what I need even before I step out of Heathrow, even if I charge my airfare to the travel allowance. Either that or I'll spend more if I buy the same things abroad.
But somehow, this will work out.