travel for “free”

Who doesn’t want to travel without spending a penny on airfare, accommodation, and pocket money? Come on! The clamor for free stuff is like a common denominator for most homosapiens (if not all!).

In any case, hitting the jackpot from a lucky draw or lottery, receiving a travel gift from a friend or relative, and flying for a business trip are some of the options to travel for free.

Applying for a scholarship is another alternative. Fat chance? Nah… As they say, there’s no harm in trying…that is speaking from experience. :p You betcha! It was one ordinary day when an opportunity knocked unexpectedly.

Although when I saw the notice, the due date shows that I’ve already missed the deadline. Without any hesitation, I still gave it a shot! Good thing the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in the Philippines accepted my late application.

It may sound crazy but the moment I saw the notice, I had this gut feeling that it’s meant for me. Don’t get me wrong…. It was not a smooth sailing process. Along the way, doubts and hindrances occurred every now and then; yet, I blocked the negative elements and focused in the application.

Below are the steps that I went through:
1. Department Head – Letter of Application Approval and Recommendation
2. University President – Letter of Application Approval and Recommendation
3. Gather required documents and submit application to NEDA main office.
4. Take and pass the written examination in NEDA main office.
5. NEDA shortlists the applicants from all over the Philippines. Alloted slots per country will determine how many will be chosen.
6. NEDA will then notify the selected applicant to apply in the partner school of the sponsoring country. In my case, it was Maastricht School of Management (MSM) in the Netherlands (a.k.a. Holland).
7. MSM selects from the applicants from all over the world.
8. The chosen applicant will then receive a conditional admission letter from MSM.
9. Submit required documents (including the conditional admission letter) to Netherlands Fellowship Program (NFP).

TheCuriousMe Note:
*** My documents reached the Netherlands embassy after the cut off time, so they advised me to request for deferment from MSM.
MSM deferred my application and gave me a slot for the following year.

10. NFP will do a worldwide selection.
(According to our Program Manager, there were more than 500 applicants from all over the world for the Managerial Control and Management Information System (MCMIS) course)
11. NFP picked 15 participants for the MCMIS.
(Participants came from Thailand, Bhutan, Philippines, Nigeria, South Africa, South America, Palestine, Euthopia… – I forgot the others :p)
12. Process documents and apply for visa then fly via Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM).

Sounds easy? How I wish. Sigh… It was VERY tough. Aside from going through a rigid screening, completing the needed documents, being deferred for one year… receiving hurtful words from the one of the university signatories was the “main attraction”. She gave me a mouthful… specifically stating: “you’re not qualified”, “you will not get the scholarship”, etc.

I didn’t even know how I managed to snag the scholarship. Let’s just say, no matter how many struggles we go through, and the light of hope gets dimmer and dimmer, if it’s meant to be… it’s meant to be. Aja!

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