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Pinoy Abroad

Pinoy scholar graduates from Yonsei University in South Korea

A Pinoy scholar just graduated from Yonsei University, one of the three prestigious schools in South Korea.

According to Ian Cruz's report on "24 Oras," Wednesday, Ace Spencer Apolonio, 24, earned a degree in chemical engineering.

Coming from a low-income family, Apolonio said he had to stop studying after graduating from high school.

Still determined to get a college education despite lacking finances, he searched for scholarships on the internet. Among those he found was a Korean government scholarship in 2014.

He failed on the first time he applied, but instead of giving up, that only made him more motivated. While waiting to apply for the second time around, he used his remaining resources to learn new skills.

In his interview, Apolonio said he expressed how much he wanted the scholarship.

"Sabi niya po, 'Nag-apply ka last year. What if 'di ka ulit makapasa ngayong taon? Anong gagawin mo?' Ang sabi ko po is ang dami ko na pong problemang pinagdaanan," he said.

["I was told, 'You applied last year. What if you won't pass again this year? What will you do?' I said that I already went through a lot of problems."]

"Isang taon po ako nag-prepare para rito. 'Di po ako titigil hangga't 'di ko po makuha ito kasi ito lang po ang aahon sa’kin sa kahirapan," he added.

["I prepared for a year for this. I won't stop until I get this because this is the only thing that will save me from poverty."]

When he got the news that he successfully passed, Apolonia said he went straight to his grandma Susan Najera, who cried along with him.

Apart from studying, Apolonio also put up businesses in South Korea, so he could still provide for his family back in the Philippines.

"Nakakabili na po kami ng one month worth of groceries. Nabilhan ko po 'yung lola ko ng appliances so masasabi ko po na medyo malaking pera na rin po siya," he said.

["We're now able to buy one month worth of groceries. I was able to buy some appliances for my lola so I can say it's a quite a sum of money."]

Najera, meanwhile, couldn't help but be proud of her grandson's achievement after his efforts.

"Kung may isa kang pangarap sa buhay, 'pag nag-pursigi ka at consistent ka sa mga ginagawa mo towards that goal, I think there's only one inevitable result—you get nearer sa success," he said.

["If you have a dream in life, when you work hard and you're consistent with the things you do towards that goal, I think there's only one inevitable result— you get nearer to success."]

Yonsei University joins Seoul National University and Korea University as part of the Sky Universities which were featured in the Korean drama "Sky Castle." —Franchesca Viernes/MGP, GMA News