Luigin is from Quezon City in the Philippines and is currently studying a Bachelor of Social Work at Griffith University, Gold Coast campus. He is a passionate emerging social worker who values fairness and equality in all aspects of his life.
What made you want to study abroad?
It has always been a dream of mine that one day I would study abroad. I am eager to see what the world has to offer and would like to have my horizons broadened by immersing myself in different cultures. Whenever I watch movies or television series set in a different country, I would often ask myself what it is like to be there to live in a place full of traditions, cuisines, and perspectives unlike my own. This sentiment made me choose Australia for its multicultural background, that satisfied my hunger for knowledge and culture.
Why did you choose Griffith University?
I chose Griffith University because it is dedicated to bringing out the best in its students. It impressed me as an international student regarding the services they provide in helping the students reach their goals. Not to mention the activities and events they often create to make our university life worthwhile before graduating. It shows that Griffith University prides itself in promoting a study-life balance, in which international students like myself would have the time to explore the beauty of the Gold Coast.
What do you love most about your life in Queensland?
Living in Queensland is fantastic because it is unlike anything I have been to before. There are the beaches, the cities, and the wonderful works of nature joined together in one state. Plus, people here are nice, which made me understand what ‘mateship’ is. Despite being here for almost three years now, there are places I have yet to explore and are waiting to be discovered.
What was your biggest fear about starting your student journey?
Moving to Australia was a big leap. I was only eighteen years old when I decided to leave everything behind and forge my own path. My biggest concern at that time would be not fitting in with others and the anxiety for using English to communicate. In those days, I was a naïve foreigner living in a foreign land I barely knew. I made some mishaps and miscommunications that made me appear awkward to others, but you will never learn unless you make mistakes along the way.
How did you overcome your fear?
The thing about my psyche is that if I am afraid of something, I must go and face it head-on. This is what I did to blend in with the crowd. I practised talking in English and absorbed all the information I could to better understand this country. Politics, culture, and even its history was no exception. Before I knew it, I was engaging with the locals and understanding their points of view. It is amazing to have your horizons broadened and see the imperfections underneath our superficial understanding of the world. Remember, we only see 1/10 of a country’s culture, according to the Iceberg Model.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice I received came from a friend back in the Philippines. He taught me the value of risk-taking. It does not matter if it will work out or not, what is important is that I tried. His words of wisdom guided me to where I am now today. Had I stayed in my comfort zone, I would not have had the courage to follow my interests and be comfortable with the unknown.
Who in your life has had the most influence on you?
There are lots of people that influenced my life. But if I must choose one, it would be my mother. She taught me the value of hard work and personal responsibility. I would never have learned to overcome any obstacles in life if I did not apply them. She showed me that they are the keys to success because she embodied them in her life.
What has been a key moment in your life as an international student?
One key moment in my life as an international student would be the time I finally started university here. I realised that I am no longer in my country with people of the same background as myself. It was such a different environment in which I had the opportunity to meet different kinds of people from all corners of the world. It was an amazing opportunity to learn every day, both inside and outside of the lecture rooms.
Do you do any volunteer or extra-curricular activities?
I am currently a volunteer for the GUGC Student Guild. It is probably the best decision I made so far because I enjoy helping set up the events for Griffith University and participate in them. It helped me come out of my shell and become the best version of myself. I never realised that I could be this social with other student volunteers, including showing them my weird sense of humour. On top of that, I made friends along the way and created some memories that would last a lifetime.
Where can we find you at the weekend?
You would normally find me at home studying or doing my assessments. I am the kind of person who would do stuff in advance without following the university schedule. I like to keep myself organised so that I would have the time to bond with friends.
What are your dreams after graduating?
I intend to pursue a career as a social worker in the future. I want to make a difference in other people’s lives by upholding human rights and social justice. The work is both demanding and rewarding since I am the architect of someone’s future. This does not mean that social workers have the answers to everything, rather we are here to facilitate and empower our clients in order to achieve their goals.
What is your favourite quote?
‘The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.’ – Miriam Defensor Santiago.
Instagram – @luigin_teofilo
HUMANS OF GRIFFITH INTERNATIONAL
At Griffith University, we celebrate diversity and difference. Our community is made up of students from around the globe, all with a unique story to tell.
In this Humans of Griffith series, a selection of our international students have chosen to share their experiences, unedited in their own words – from the challenges of studying abroad, to building community and independence, and their dreams after graduation and beyond.
No matter who you are, or where you are in the world, whatever your study journey, Griffith University is with you all the way. Find out more at griffith.edu.au/international.
Interested in sharing your story? DM us on Instagram @griffithinternational.
View more Humans of Griffith student stories here.