Mark John Castillo: A Southenian Global Korea Scholarship Grantee

Mark John Castillo: A Southenian Global Korea Scholarship Grantee

March 11, 2020, Mark John Castillo, a STEM graduate nurtured from Pasay City South High School achieved what many of us dreams of accomplishing, arrived in Korea, for he was one of the chosen scholars of the Global Korea Scholarship program granted to 4 selected students in the Philippines.

Scholars are granted free airfare to Korea, resettlement allowance worth KRW 200,000, living allowance worth 900,000 KRW- 1,000,000 KRW, medical insurance worth KRW 20,000 (per month), free tuition fee and completion grant.

The Global Korea Scholarship, according to its website, intends to provide opportunities to international students to conduct advance studies in undergraduate and graduate programs in promotion of mutual friendship between countries. The scholarship program requires the applicant’s both parents to be a citizen of his/ her country of origin. The applicant should not hold Korean Citizenship and have finished formal education in elementary and high school before date of arrival in Korea. Furthermore, should be under the age of 25 at the age of entrance with adequate health mentally and physically, to stay in a foreign country for a long time.

‘”It all started when my sister was just scrolling on Facebook and saw the Global Korea Scholarship. At first I had no interest in it, but thought of trying it out since there is nothing you could lose in trying,” Mark recalled, now 19 and is taking Korean Language Program for 4 months since March at the Dongseo University in Korea.

Mark was from a general public high school in Sorsogon. He eventually transferred to Pasay City South High School to spend his last 2 years in high school. Hence, as a transferee, he expected his journey to be uneasy for him for he considers himself as an outcast.

Amidst the pandemic, he had struggles in supporting his financial needs for the scholarship. It was hard to gather the needed documents and requirements for his application since transportation was uneasy at that time of the pandemic.

Mark did commissions that helped him financially in pursuing the scholarship. “It was hard to gather documents during the pandemic, and I didn’t want to ask for money to my family, that is why I am glad I had my commissions,” he said.

He is required to take Korean Language for a year and pass the Korean proficiency exam, so that he can continue and eventually take Chemistry as his course in the Kyungpook National University for 4 years in Korea. Then after graduating, he plans to take his Master’s Degree in Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

 “The research opportunity in Pasay City South High School became a catalyst on achieving my goal to conduct research and answer my curiosity,” said Mark,

Mark was recognized as an academically excellent student with recognition of with Highest Honors on their graduation rites, with an outstanding performance in Science. His experience in STEM UP by Telstra, helped in developing his innovative skills which greatly helped him on his application for the Global Korea Scholarship.  He added, “Telstra helped me in having the guts to pursue science. They provided the set of people, like Reinabelle Reyes and Hillary Andales, who became my inspiration.”

His actual first choice was BS Biology as his Pre-Med course. He has thought of everything as something unplanned and said “Go with the flow lang.” Thus, he believes that, “it does not matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop,” –Confucious.

And now, he forever cherishes science, his experiences, and guidance given by his alma mater since he puts it as his alas in every unfortunate encounter he has in life.