Postcard to home: Micael Baguio

Published in the June-July 2017 issue

Micael Baguio from the Philippines is one of nine Southern Cross University students to be chosen for the Gold Coast’s prestigious team of Mayor’s Student Ambassadors alongside 30 other international and domestic students from the city.

The students went through a rigorous selection process to be named ambassadors and were inducted in a ceremony with Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate.

Gold Coast Mayor’s Student Ambassadors from Southern Cross University. (Micael front right)

Their adventurous role includes engaging in iconic activities, attend government, community and industry events and share their experiences with the world through storytelling on social media to promote the Gold Coast as a top study destination.

Ms Baguio, who is studying her Master of Business Administration, said the University had the largest representation of students from any Gold Coast institution.

Study Gold Coast CEO Shannon Willoughby said this year there were triple the number of student ambassadors, both international and domestic, and the program would have a strong focus on student experience, employability and the Commonwealth Games.

As part of the program students enjoy professional development and public speaking opportunities, engage with media, industry, government representatives and international trade delegations, enjoy exclusive local adventures and promote the Gold Coast – ‘Australia’s Favourite Classroom’ as the best student city to study, work and visit.\

Micael also recently competed in the Southern Cross University 10km Run at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon.

 

What I love most about living on the Gold Coast is I can study, have a part-time job and have fun at the same time. Southern Cross University on the Gold Coast offers international students so many great opportunities. The beautiful beaches and the Hinterland are my favourite places. You can visit them anytime without having to worry about it being clean, because it is so well-taken care of.

Micael Baguio surfing on the Gold Coast

I love studying at Southern Cross University’s Gold Coast campus. Firstly, the classes are such a fantastic new experience where I get to learn new things every day. Secondly, the location is just heaven on earth. On weekdays I have classes and work, but on weekends I love sneaking into the water for surf with friends or just hang out in the beach, which also helps me focus more when I need to do assignments and study for class.

The third and best thing about studying here in Australia is meeting new friends. I have been really lucky to have met beautiful people from all different countries here in Australia – it’s the most wonderful thing to happen in my life so far. It’s amazing when my friends and I hang out and talk about our different cultures, languages, and even food, which mostly happens over a barbecue – a tradition we have adapted from the Australians which really makes everyone feel welcomed and loved.

As a Mayor’s Student Ambassador we are given the opportunity to make direct connections with the local community through volunteering, such as Bleach Festival and the 2017 Gold Coast Careers Festival which I have taken part in. Study Gold Coast provides us with exciting fun activities each month which helps us learn new things and enhances our personal development.

Micael Baguio at the Gold Coast Hinterland

Next month we will go whale watching! I haven’t been up close with whales so I’m really looking forward to it. I really admire how the Australian people take care of their wildlife, maintain their oceans and hinterlands, particularly with the trail-blazing research and work at Southern Cross University in this field. It makes my heart happy knowing I’m in an environmentally-friendly country.

I also decided to take part in the Southern Cross University 10km event at the Gold Coast Marathon. I was inspired by my eldest brother as he is triathlete and has joined Ironman competitions and always pushes me to be more active and fit. This was my first time ever running in an event, but my family and friends have been really helpful in telling me that I can make it, so I gave it everything I had and it was awesome. For training, I went to the gym for full-body workouts and the treadmill, but most days I also go for a brisk walk or jog along the beach to try to get used to the colder climate here compared to the Philippines.

I’m entering the fourth session of my Master of Business Administration this July, which also signifies my first anniversary in Australia – yay! I’m hoping specialise in Health Services Management to apply it to my bachelor’s degree in Nursing. There are times where my units are challenging because my background is in health not business, but I like the challenge because I’m learning many things – which is the reason why I took this course, to improve my knowledge and skills.

Micael Baguio at Gold Coast Council Chambers

My life in the Philippines was good because I was living with my family, who always served great food! Here in Australia, I’ve learned to become more independent and prepare my own food. I used to eat rice with the main dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Philippines but it completely changed when I got here.

I was surprised seafood is expensive here in Australia because it’s super cheap in the Philippines. Filipinos are also into music events, family-friendly activities, but the difference is that we have to pay a fee back home, whereas here on the Gold Coast, most family-friendly events are free. I really love how people value their family and social life both here and in my home country.

What I miss most about the Philippines is my family and friends. I think that’s the hardest thing about studying abroad, but I know that it is for my own good and for my future.

It’s really amazing how technology works nowadays though and Philippines is only two hours behind. My friends were having a bridal recently and I was actually there through video call!

The warm, friendly, active and often laid-back lifestyle on the Gold Coast has been a great experience and I have gained a knowledge of Australian culture and I feel very welcome. Cultural diversity is valued on the Gold Coast, and as an International student I find it very important that people here are open to other cultures.

I can’t wait to be with my family and friends again soon, but here in Australia my friends have been my rock and family. I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be and I’m forever thankful I came to this beautiful place.

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