*student speech during the ASAS Completion Ceremony, July 19, 2018
Good day everyone.
Today, exactly a month ago, I and most of us Filipinos here stepped foot on Sydney. I remember it vividly, it was a cold morning, we were very excited but nervous at the same time as to what will happen in that day, in the following weeks and months ahead. Fast forward to today, I feel that I have learned a lot, but maybe not enough to call me a real Sydneysider. Truly, most of the learning we got is because of this ASAS course.
On our first day, we were strangers. Now, a lot of us call each other friends. We went through a lot and made it through together. I know more hardships and challenges will come, and it will be harder for us to support each other as we will be going to different faculties and programs. But I hope that once in a while, we can meet, have a meal or just sip coffee, reminiscing about these days, about today, on how we survived our ASAS course not just by ourselves but together. My classmates, let me reecho one of the things I kept hearing when I arrived here- we only have each other. As we continue to struggle and be better, please remember that we have each other and when you feel down or needing someone to talk to, you can count on us. You may feel lonely, but you are not alone.
To our teachers, we thank you for the patience and for making us ready to enter a new phase of our life. We can never really be too prepared for what will happen but thanks to you, we feel a bit more learned, a bit more ready, and a bit more confident. Our culture in the Philippines, and maybe some other parts of the world taught us that teaching is one of the most noble profession. I do not know if you are aware of the gravity of your impact to us are, but please do remember that whatever we accomplish, a lot of it is because of you (and probably if we fail too). But fret not dear teachers, the ASAS course is the building block of our masters’ studies, and from what we have experienced, I am confident that all of us will finish on time, and with flying colours. Thank you so much.
Most of our discussion revolved around Moyo, foreign aid and it’s effectiveness. And it kept me wondering if it was deliberate on the part of the University to choose this, as the underlying theme of this course. I feel that we are being challenged, as the direct recipients of foreign aid to our country, to prove that Moyo is wrong and that yes, we are a living proof that foreign aid works. The investment given to us by our funding institutions, mostly from the Australian government is an investment not just on ourselves but to our countries as well, and we have the responsibility to ensure that the return of investment will be higher. When we return to our country, we are better not just for ourselves but for our people. I work in the development sector of our country and I always keep in mind that I bring with me here in Australia the struggles, dreams and the hopes of the poorest people I have had the honour to meet. I know a lot of us feel the same. We will not fail them.
We represent the best of our people. It was an honour to have met you all. Remember that what we can do, our potentials is always greater than our struggles and our hopes. Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat.