Expats, share your journey here

Tell us where you’re based, your immigration story, and what opportunities are available for other Isko/Iska in your field.

My background: I’m an active duty officer in US military, serving for 16+ yrs. I earned my direct commission through a military graduate program. Currently doing a 3 year assignment overseas as one of the PCM/general practitioners for a fighter wing.

I can help with mentorship for US based Iskos who would like to know life in the military as a combat medic/advanced practice clinician.


Nasa Holy Land namamalo ng tao.
Met foreign wife at a seminar…
she liked my moves.
Followed the heart and
There you go…

12 years na


Singapore. I’m using a relatively new programming language na wala pa masyadong gumagamit sa Pinas, so dito ako naghanap. Applied via LinkedIn and was hired within 2 weeks. Nagulat na lang ako yung first interview was the final one na pala. Had to resign and fly to SG within a month.

Most of the openings are for experienced professionals, not for fresh grads. Based on feedback from friends, better kung MNC mag-work. Mas stressful pag purely local company. I guess same din sa Pinas, pag local mas may politics.


Nasa disyerto. Came here originally to visit the sister who was feeling lonely and homesick, got a job and decided to try it, since I was fairly young then.

Umuwi after the first two years because I thought, it’s not for me. Opportunity presented itself after a year, bumalik, nawalan ng work, nagbalak umuwi, nakahanap bigla ulet. Ayun, andito pa rin.


Most of my family are overseas. After many years working in Pinas, someone referred me for a job in SG. Tinry ko lang then I got the job. Stayed there for many years and got an immigrant visa to Australia. Then got another opportunity and moved Down Under. Tumatanda na ako so kapagod na rin palipat palipat so I’ve decided to settle here.

Recent UP Engg grads (meaning you got your BS/MS/PhD not more than 2 years ago) can apply for a temporary graduate visa which is valid for 18 months. You can use that visa to study or get some work experience. A UP diploma is considered equivalent to Australian Qualification but generally it is difficult nowadays to get some sponsorship lalo na due to economic impact of the pandemic. They will expectedly prioritise their own citizens first.


Got here (african country) as a VSO volunteer. Got married. Got a job with an international NGO. Been living here since.

11 years na in August.



Controversial country. Got here because I visited a friend while I was on VL, ended up taking her job. The rest is history. Stories for another day. China is as complex as its history but by the length of time I’m living here, it’s pretty obvious I like it.

I have met fellow Iskos and Iskas here, mostly architects, teachers, and entertainers/musicians. A degree is one of the first things that qualify you for the Work Visa/Resident Permit here. Your employer should be providing you all the documents for this but so far, opportunities for foreign workers are pretty fair. Foreigners can also open businesses and I have helped open the one where I’m working now. There are also some Filipino businesses thriving here in our area (South China). Issue ko lang is mostly management change with my former company, also I check how a company treats its local employees kasi sila lagi overworked and underpaid. I also avoid office politics as much as possible.

There are various social organizations for expats in China that I’m happy to be part of for almost 10 years and I’m proud to be one of the few Pinoys to be on the board for 8 years and running. Most social expat groups for women are run by women na trailing spouses (usually they’re housewives when they move here), what I’m proud of is I’m one to break that mold as a working woman, not some rich oil company guy’s wife.

Challenge is mostly language. You’re lucky if you get a company that helps you with Chinese classes. Add-on yung Mandarin to get better opportunities. I’m still studying the language. My scheduled Chinese proficiency exam that was supposed to be on February 9 got cancelled after the lockdown so I used the refund for review classes.

Met hubby here, had baby here, still here until restrictions are lifted.


Mobility is quite encouraged in my current company, and in 2018, an opportunity opened up in our London office. Luckily, I qualified for it and the company moved me and my husband here.

Our Manila office initially had a lot of DLSU grads when it first opened in 2007, but as it grew, it became quite diverse, including UP alumni and a few fresh grads (via an annual graduate program).

The general rules for location mobility from one office to another are 1) at least 2 years in current role/division/location, 2) there must be a role open in the target location (pwede same division, pwedeng iba).

There are currently 11 or 12 Pinoys in the London office, all mobility from Manila office. Wala pa so far external hires from PH kasi malaki naman ang hiring pool ng UK/EU (esp lately ang daming mga Eastern EU IT). We’ll see how Brexit will affect this though.

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Nagturo ako sa UP for a few years after my undergrad.

Went on a PhD scholarship to study infectious diseases in Australia. Stayed on as a Research Fellow for various laboratories. Research was great, teaching courses wasn’t part of my job but I did plenty of guest lecturing. My favourite part was conferences! All those times being in a room with global health experts on both policy and basic science was mind-blowing. Being part of the community that brings science forward is both fulfilling and exciting. You get an appreciation for your tiny contribution to the world at large, and how your insignificance as a human being brings a perspective of the universe that makes all your mundane worldly problems pale in comparison. Of course you can still experience that feeling watching a Neil de Grasse documentary about the Cosmos. As a scientist you get first-hand validation of how you stand on the shoulders of giants.

My niche expertise is on health intervention cost-effectiveness assessment and various techniques in analysis of clinical and medical experimental data. My first love however, is teaching, hence I’ve built my own learning centre for kids in our local community, mostly teaching maths and science. I began volunteering in a local centre teaching underprivileged kids, later seeing the value of setting up my own space at home to also teach my own two daughters while they are still young.

While I mostly worked with local students, I’ve also mentored a few young academics from
outside Australia who needed help figuring out the admission process in science-or health-related postgraduate research program opportunities in Australian universities, primarily those with quantitative (Physics, Maths, Stats) backgrounds. Shoot me a message if this interests you.


What?! Di ko alam na ID ang PhD mo.

How cool is this! I find epidemiology and ID both interesting fields. I get what you’re saying about scientific conferences. I have a strong professional interest in obesity medicine so had the chance to attend/present with my medical director over a year ago. All these world reknowned experts in their niche and subspecialties coming together learning about basic science, pathophys, environmental factors and genetics while hearing about new treatment protocols and individual experiences from colleagues (local and international). The discussions are also more nuanced, i.e. “Based on our multicenter RCTs, we think may be of slight benefit yet we are aware of x,y,z weaknesses in our arguments.” What a humbling and rewarding experience. It validates what you said about getting this big picture perspective and how inconsequential our so called problems are, and that as an individual we are just a tiny blip in relative to this vast universe.

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Long winded…
Moved here to London over 10 years ago. Was in the US from Pinas as an expat. I got bored so I looked for an adventure - I wanted to go somewhere where nobody knows me.
I was having lunch one day with a German (but US based) consultant and he offered to circulate my CV to his European colleagues. Their UK office got impressed and hired me. The rest is history.

Tough first few years, especially with all the uncertainty with visas, work, etc - the UK changes its immigration rules almost every year. Anyway…all settled now and consider UK as my home.


We’re also in UK (Norfolk) for a short tour - first ‘overseas’ assignment coming from the US. Just moved 6 months ago. So far we are loving it here. The history and travel opportunities are amazing. Internet/cell phone are a lot cheaper than in the US. We save so much money in groceries (we shop at Lidl, Sainsbury, and Tesco) and we don’t eat out as often. I do miss California weather. We just bought an English Heritage membership just before COVID-19 so once the lockdown is lifted we’ll hit a few sites.


Part of the job sa isang government agency. First posting sa Malaysia. Everything and the kitchen sink ang bilateral issues natin dun. Learned to live alone–and in a foreign country at that–for six years. Maraming nakilalang tao from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low. Also had the chance to assist government officials for visits and meetings. Nagawa din ang maraming bagay–nag-emcee, naging fashion show model, sumayaw–for God and country.

Went back to Manila in 2018, and will do that same cycle in the next few years.


Hehe oo Karl, very few know. Most know me from my UPMaths background. Pero my PhD is technically from biomolecular sciences.


@penelope Are you still in Aus? Which state?

I have lots of friends from BA who used to work sa mga tax havens (Bermuda, Guernsey/Jersey Island etc). They were auditors in the Big 4 sa Pinas and directly hired sila. Some of them bumalik rin ng Pinas dahil nahomesick at di makahanap ng jowa.

Very true, Jane! I like that you mentioned your interest in obesity research. Such a modern disease, kailangan isama na sha sa listahan pag inaaral ang association ng co-morbidities, hindi na sha dapat ignore lalo sa mga older adults sa developed countries. Nakakalungkot. Parang mental health din. Kung irationalise mo parang dapat preventable sila pero sa modern society natin napakaprevalent na.

Trying to stay on topic: so far wala pa ko narerecruit na PEYUPS alumni! Naka ilan na ako from other universities. Apart from the competitive applications to scholarships, one major hurdle could be the costs associated in applying for a student visa. I know when I applied I had to scrounge up whatever I can from family to raise the funds I needed. Afterwards pagdating naman overseas eh nabawi sa scholarship ang costs. If you are hesitant because of costs, it’s certainly tricky, pero there may be ways around it, especially if the labs really want you to join them.


Yup @Brix, NSW.

Uy @ladymiss and @Jane pwede tayo mag Peyups EB - UK edition when the lockdown is over… mga next year? :sweat_smile:


Yes! Planuhin na natin. Feeling mo talaga next year pa ma-lift lockdown :embarasslaff: