While many OFWs are forced to make the decision to leave their children in the Philippines while they work abroad, there are a lucky few who have been able to bring their kids with them. Such is the case for Alexandra Gozum, who spent almost half of her life with her parents in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
But for many OFW families, one of the biggest decisions they all eventually have to make is deciding on the education of their children—should they complete their education in the country of their residence, or should they let them complete their studies in the Philippines?
Alex Gozum at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
For Alex, who studied in the Middle East until high school, it was a fateful visit from Philippine university representatives that helped her make her decision. She shared the story of how it happened: “During our Career Orientation Seminar back in 2015, DLSU, UP, UST, and Ateneo visited our school. I really had no idea where to go for college, but I knew I was looking for a new environment. Somewhere I would be able to excel not just in Academics, but also a place where I’d be able to freely express my ideas. A school that will help me adjust since it will be the first time for me to live far away from my family. Miles away.”
Alex (top left) with her family in Saudi
According to Alex, along with the big schools that presented in that career orientation was iACADEMY, a Makati-based school that specializes in Computing, Business, and Design. That particular school stood out for Alex.
“What set iACADEMY apart from those big-league schools is its different approach on learning. It’s like a breath of fresh air. The courses they offer and non-traditional way of learning are something that really piqued my interest. While other schools brag about their excellence, quality education, and top-notch professors and alumni, iACADEMY labels its approach to education as ‘game-changing’ and I see why they call it that way. It’s because their programs cater to the current demands of the industry,” Alex shared.
After that day, a decision was made. Alex, the daughter of a proud OFW family, was returning to her motherland for college.
On finding home away from home
Being away from her family has been a challenge, Alex shares, especially as she was entering college and needed the most support from her family more than ever.
Luckily, adapting to the new environment and culture became less difficult, she shared, due to the accepting atmosphere and tight-knit community in iACADEMY where she chose to go to college.
“I felt at home during our first day. The people inside the school are what makes it different. In other schools, they might just see you as a number out of thousand students that they have. In iACADEMY, I felt that I was part of a family. I have been able to do so many things that, at first, I thought I couldn’t do. The school supported me and made me feel that I wasn’t alone despite the distance from my family.” Alex recalled the feeling of being in her first days of college as a BS Marketing Management student at iACADEMY. On weekends, Alex worked as a Student Ambassador, receiving mentorship from other iACADEMY members.
“iACADEMY has not just helped me with my career but also as an individual. Sometimes you just have to have someone who will believe in you, who will support you, and that is how I describe the people inside iACADEMY,” said Alex.
The school also takes security and partnering with parents in their child’s learning journey to a different level. iACADEMY’s Senior High School has an ID system that sends email notifications to the registered parents or guardians whenever the student enters or leaves the building. iACADEMY also boasts on an open communication line – email addresses of departments are available in case any parent would have any inquiry.
Alex, on landing her internship with a big company
“As a marketer, iACADEMY has equipped me with the skills that the industry currently needs. We have to adapt to the changes. I’ve enjoyed my course in such a way that I was able to learn the design aspect of business like Video Prod, Graphic Design, Advertising Photography, and many more.”
These skills soon helped Alex when she was applying for an internship position in the world’s largest food and beverage company, Nestle.
“We were 118 applicants at that time, and other students came from different universities here in the Philippines. After almost 2 weeks of waiting, I got the position,” Alex shared.
She admitted that, at first, she didn’t think that she would be accepted as some of the other applicants came from renowned universities.
“At first, I was thinking that they would prioritize the students who come from big universities, but that experience proved me otherwise. Maybe before, that is how companies chose their potential employees. But right now, just like how technologies evolve, recruitment strategies change as well. And that is something that the students and parents need to understand,” Alex noted.
Alex at her Nestle internship
“The first thing I was asked in the interview was if I had any sample projects related to the internship position I was applying for. Thanks to iACADEMY for their output-based approach in teaching, I was able to present a portfolio even though I was still a business student that time,” she added.
At iACADEMY, Alex shares, series of activities are conducted that let its students apply classroom learnings by producing outputs and projects. The Project-Based Learning (PBL) Expo and sem end exhibitions are just a few of the school’s initiatives aimed at showcasing and bringing out the students’ fullest potential. Events like these, iACADEMY Game Changers are challenged to put their skills and creativity to the test with projects that will serve not just as an evaluation of what they learned within the semester, but also to benefit the community through solutions for sustainable development.
Partnered with top-notch companies like IBM, Amazon, Unity, PricewaterhouseCoopers, among others, iACADEMY ensures that its students will gain the right skills and knowledge for their chosen career path. Transforming education to fit the demands of the 21st century, iACADEMY produces graduates whose skills are in demand by industries and aligned with global standards of learning.
On setting the right attitude for work and everything else
Alex with her iACADEMY classmates
Alex ends her story with some inspiring words, “I think what I have learned the most is that no matter how educated or well-skilled you are, how you treat other people inside or outside your community will always matter. In this competitive world, no skills will help you overcome the challenges or obstacles, but the right attitude will.”
“For the parents working abroad, I understand how hard it is to be away with your children. I understand the fear. But if you want a place for your child to grow and succeed with their chosen career, a safe environment, a family that will support and make your child feel that he/she is not away from you, iACADEMY is here to serve as your child’s second home,” she underscored.
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Contact: (02) 8889-5555