Studying abroad opens doors of learning and growing. The opportunity to learn at the international context, exposures and experiences, modern technology, and among others are some of good things to acquire for those who decided schooling outside country land.
Along with those benefits is the journey of growing personally and professionally that accompanied by life’s challenges; new environment, people, culture, food, weather, language, etc.
For the group of Bangsamoro scholars studying in Turkey, this reality is what pushed them to organize themselves into one towards unity.
“We formed our group and named it as Moro International Students Association (MISA) in July 2015 to unite Bangsamoro students abroad”, Ashrap Omar disclosed.
Ashrap is taking masters in education in Anadolu University in Eskişehir, Turkey.
He shared concern about numerous Moro scholars outside country who lack the chance or capacity to apply their acquired learning in serving the communities when they returned home.
“By organizing ourselves, we hope that we can work together and have specific actions to take on how can we contribute to the journey towards peace and development in the Bangsamoro”, Ashrap told.
Ashrap added that MISA also intends to provide assistance to their fellow scholars who have difficulty with adjustments in all aspects like the foreign culture, weather, food and among others.
Rahib Kadil, also a student of masters in education in Anadolu University in Eskişehir, Turkey specifically mentioned about the difficulty in learning the Turkish language which he consider a big challenge as per his experience.
His colleagues, Zulkarnain studying masters in Agricultural Economy at Çukurova Üniversitesi and Nashrudin Kusain, taking doctoral degree in Philosophy at Selçok Üniversitesi also shared the same story.
The two and the rest of the group believed that sincerity and determination to learn and finish their respective courses was the key to survive this particular challenge of their journey abroad.
Why study abroad and how did you, grow by Turkey experience?
For the group, schooling outside country land for free is a golden opportunity to take.
“Only few Bangsamoro have masters or doctorate degree obtained abroad and this Turkey scholarship is being offered so this is indeed a chance for us that we must not miss”, Khalid stated.
Khalid revealed that his perspective of helping became wider when he went studying international.
“Before, I was only thinking of my family, but now I would say that my objective of learning is to be able to contribute for the Bangsamoro”, he stated.
Zulkarnain believe that learning at the international context is very important to have wider and get different views from other countries.
“It is important that we are open for learning from other nation to see their leadership style, management and culture”, he added.
For Nashrudin, his intention of schooling in Turkey (which he believe similar with colleagues) is to gain knowledge, have exposure and experience, and learn new technology and skills.
“I would say that before, I have less or younger thinking of things around me, but now I believe that I became mature through the wisdom brought about by my experience in Turkey”, he shared.
The Moro International Students Association (MISA)
Founded in July 2015, with fifty-five current members, the MISA was organized to unite Moro students schooling abroad. The group believed that by uniting themselves, they have strength to surmount the challenges ahead of them outside country land.
“We help each other, from adjustments, basic needs as individual and as student, and Bangsamoro”, Ashrap told.
Accordingly, whenever they learned of Bangsamoro coming to Turkey for schooling or short course trainings, they would willingly come to welcome and for any assistance that may be needed.
Aside from this, Benamine Ubpon, MISA president added “in the case when one of us gets his/her scholarship freeze, our association is ready to help through the fund we collected from our monthly fee in the Association”.
Benamine is taking doctoral degree in Management and Organization at Yıldırım Beyazit University in Ankara, Turkey.
Duly registered in Turkey government, the MISA has the legitimacy to ask for sponsorship from other organizations, which helps in the sustainability of the Association.
The group also disclosed that through forming the MISA, they are able to help in the prevention of radicalism among youth who are vulnerable to such ideology.
“By organizing ourselves, we can at least be certain that our group and other co-Bangsamoro youth will not be influenced by those groups promoting violent extremism”, Benjie stated.
MISA has regular activities being conducted in Turkey like advocacies and fora on Bangsamoro wherein they share stories of the Moro struggle in the Philippines to gain sympathy and support.
“The Moro struggle is alien to them, they do not even know what or who the Bangsamoro is until we told them our story, presented to them facts, data and photos which touched their emotions”.
At present, while on vacation here in the Philippines, Benjie and his group are working together to hold series of fora for the youth and young professionals to orient about the scholarship opportunities in Turkey, share experience abroad and among others.
They are also being invited by some local organizations to speak about the same topic to encourage and inspire others of their stories.
“The MISA wanted to establish a good image of organized Bangsamoro youth schooling or finished studies abroad so that others who have the same story like in other countries may replicate us and so there will be a better and stronger actions to take to help in the Bangsamoro”, the group stated.
“The Turkey government has been supporting the Bangsamoro with various humanitarian foundations extending assistance to the communities through seasonal programs like Ramadhan and Qurban, relief aid to persons/families affected by both conflict, man-made or natural calamities, scholarship programs for Bangsamoro youth and soon, the establishment of Bangsamoro University”.