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Go Back to the List September 26, 2019
'Follow your heart' in choosing a degree, International career counselor tells students

DESPITE the cancellation of classes due to bad weather, the 29th Career Counseling and Guidance Fair organized by International Education Specialists (Inter-Ed) still attracted thousands of senior high school (SHS) and college students from all over Metro Manila and nearby provinces on September 17 and 18 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

At least 30 universities, mostly located in Metro Manila, and 10 international educational institutions participated in the fair by showcasing their various course offerings for tertiary and graduate studies.

Helen Bartholomew, founder of Inter-Ed, said the fair was intended to guide SHS and college students toward the tracks or degree courses they could pursue for higher studies.

So far, she said, the annual Inter-Ed fair had helped more than 7, 000 students enroll in partner universities abroad, and guided thousands of others in deciding what course to enroll in local colleges, including The Manila Times College (TMTC).

  Founded in 1980, Inter-Ed has been recognized as the oldest and premier student placement center in the Philippines. It has been offering career internships, counseling and scholarships for studies abroad such as in Canada, Europe, the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore and other Asian countries.

“We want to help the youth to understand what career planning is all about. The truth is, it doesn’t start when you’re in high school; you should start as early as possible,” Bartholomew told TMTC journalism interns during an interview.

“The right way to do career planning is to know who you are, you need to know yourself,” she added.

  You know that the problem in our system is that our young people don’t really know what course to take. So, the usual scenario is that, oh your grandma wanted you to take this, oh you should take nursing because you can go overseas kahit hindi naman niya type, and then, o kaya ‘yung boyfriend — like my daughter — ‘yung boyfriend niya gustong mag-IT (Information Technology) eh hindi naman siya magaling sa IT,” the 63-year-old career counselor cited.

She said through the years, she had encountered thousands of students who spent so much money and devoted their time by doing something that was against their will.

“After they graduated, they told me [the course they took] was not the course they wanted,” Bartholomew said.

   Through the Inter-Ed fair, she said its student-centered placement programs had been able to help high school students and learners make the best, informed choice for their future paths.

“Its purpose is for the students to know what course they will engage in, what are their interests, instead of their parents or friends suggesting what course they should take. It will help them discover their specialties,” Bartholomew explained.

While Inter-Ed was founded in 1980, it hosted the 1st Career Counseling and Guidance Fair in Manila in 1988, where partner academic institutions helped students gain more perspective on the various opportunities available for them.

“We’re doing this to tell the young people to follow their hearts. Be passionate in what you believe to be your dreams, what you want to achieve,” Bartholomew said. “You have to think about… Is this the job I will do for the next 30 years of my life,” she said.

“In order to know what the person wants to be, it should match the personality in terms of attitude, passion and area of interests,” she went on to explain.

Citing her experience when she was in high school, Bartholomew said an aunt advised her to take up chemistry in college, noting that one of her cousins who took up chemistry managed to migrate to the United States.

But then she retorted: “Tita, hindi nga ako marunong mag-multiplication table, tapos mag-chemistry pa ako (Aunt, I could not even do a multiplication table and you’d want me to take up Chemistry)?”

“I know my limitations. So, not knowing that in those days I was being realistic and pragmatic, I see things black and white, and then that’s how we started. We want to help the young people understand what career planning is all about,” she shared.

Career planning, she reiterated, should start as early as possible. “You develop your skills. If a child is good in drawing, he can become an artist, she said, explaining that parents must encourage their children to hone their talents and allow them to pursue courses that best fits them.

“Certain occupations require strong personality. Don’t pursue a course in marketing if you are timid; you won’t be able to sell the products. I’m just saying that you have to choose a job that fits your personality,” she explained. “You need skill and passion. What we are looking for is personality.”

Bartholomew said she believes that the fair had been successful in helping students decide on the college degree courses to take and in which university. “We are successful because people talk about it.”

Representatives from the participating colleges and universities distributed brochures, flyers, bookmarks and other printed materials with brief introduction of what to expect in their respective academic institutions.

Some used games with tokens as prizes; others offered free services like haircut to attract students to their booths. The University of Santo Tomas (UST) stood out with its cheering squad dancing while chanting its slogan.

Roger Bartholomew, president of Inter-Ed, said the event was generally focused on helping the students to make the transition they need to have the future they want. He echoed his wife’s advice that students should follow their heart and be passionate in finding the course and career suited to them.

Apart from TMTC and UST, other local academic institutions that joined the fair were Emilio Aguinaldo College, Mapua University, Lyceum, Far Eastern University, De La Salle University (DLSU), Southville International School, Trinity University of Asia, Ateneo de Manila University, Enderun Colleges, Philippine Christian University, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Technological Institute of the Philippines, San Beda University, Malayan Colleges Laguna, Centro Escolar University, Assumption College, Miriam College, University of the Philippines, Adamson University, MINT College, Santa Isabel College of Manila and Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific.

Among the international universities, those that put up booths at the fair were William Angliss Institute (Melbourne), Central Queensland University, Beakin University, James Cook University, San Mateo Colleges of Silicon Valley and Carlton Prep Academy.

Robert Vincent Michael Ferrer, a moderator of DLSU-Araneta, said the fair was helpful for people to know that DLSU is not only in its big campuses in Manila, San Juan and Dasmariñas, Cavite, but also in Malabon. DLSU Araneta was formerly the Gregorio Araneta University Foundation that was established in 1946 as the Araneta Institute of Agriculture in Bulacan and later moved to Potrero, Malabon.

Rudolf Kyle Peralta, a sophomore journalism student in TMTC, said the fair was significant to small and less popular colleges because it allowed them to be under the same roof with the big schools in promoting their course offerings to SHS and college students.

“Through this event, we’re able to share with prospective students that The Manila Times College is very much capable of handling journalism students by providing them hands-on training not only in the classrooms, but also in the newsroom. We are being sent to cover news events on-field and we’re not just trapped inside the four corners of the classroom,” Peralta said.

A representative for Canada’s Carleton University said it was the first time it joined the event. “We like Filipino students because they are energetic,” he said.

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