The opportunity to move abroad can be cause for envy for some and a burden for others.
For Eulalia Curaming, an English as an additional language (EAL) specialist teacher at International School Brunei (ISB), it was a one-of-a-kind adventure.
Before she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from a teacher training institution in the Philippines, Curaming knew she wanted to pursue a Master’s degree as she felt the need to deepen her knowledge in English language education.
“Early on, I gathered that the more I learn, the more I sense how little I know. So I took a Master’s degree at the same university,” she said.
She moved abroad due to her husband’s work commitments. While the overseas teaching opportunities were vast, she recognised the limitations of her academic qualifications, in terms of global competitiveness.
She said, “Some countries such as Australia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam do not fully recognise my degrees. I felt the need to pursue a higher degree that would be recognised internationally and make me competitive in the global job market.”
This led Curaming to enrol in the Master of Arts (Applied Linguistics) programme at National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NIE NTU, Singapore), after earning her qualification from British Council Singapore.
“NIE was my top choice because I envisioned being part of a reputable institution that has a long tradition of excellence and academic competence. NIE offers the degree of my dream – applied linguistics – which was perfectly in sync with my intention to better understand language-related enquiries,” she said.
She added, “NIE has instilled in me the importance of being theoretically-grounded, pedagogically competent, open-minded and research-oriented. Through the rigorous coursework, I learnt the intricacies of language acquisition, language teaching, assessments and multimodal literacies that serve as my foundation in my current role as an EAL teacher.”
Other than improving her competency in teaching, Curaming also realised the opportunities the NIE programme affords. She highlighted the way the NIE faculty constantly pushed the boundaries of her intellectual capabilities.
“I will never forget the thought-provoking classes with my professors. Our lively discussions and scholarly debates were a seabed of critical explorations,” she said.
As an international student, Curaming was heartened by NIE’s warm and inspiring atmosphere.
“Everyone I met at NIE was open-minded, with an admirable level of respect towards people of diverse backgrounds.”
Asked about her advice to prospective international students, Curaming said, “I strongly advise anyone who would like to join NIE to keep an open mind. Make the most of the courses and get connected with different people from diverse backgrounds. Also, be constantly abreast with current issues.”