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British Council IELTS prize helps PH students realise their dreams of international studies

Krystel Mae Peñaflor

Philippines – The British Council, the UK’s international organisation for educational and cultural opportunities, has announced the 26 regional winners of the 2021 IELTS Prize. In its tenth year, the IELTS Prize has supported more than 300 students in East Asia region to date; helping them pursue their dreams of studying abroad.

This year, prize winners in the region include three outstanding IELTS test takers from the Philippines: Krystel Mae Peñaflor, Sophia Ramos and Zyrene Estallo.

‘I consider this as my greatest achievement during this uncertain time,’ first prize winner Peñaflor shared. ‘When I got my admission to the University Exeter, I realised that I will become the first Filipino to take MS Island and Biodiversity Conservation. I didn’t want to lose this once in a lifetime opportunity just because of my financial challenges.’

Millions of students had to readjust their study plans due to the continued disruption of the pandemic. IELTS, the world’s popular high-stakes English proficiency test, has been a crucial part of students’ entry requirements, especially for students in the region wishing to study in the United Kingdom, the US, Canada and Australia.

‘One of the advantages of IELTS Prize is that the scholarship can be awarded to undergraduate and postgraduate students in their university of choice in any country. Application process and requirements are very specific… The British Council looks beyond academic grades which sometimes are crucial in other scholarships, but more importantly, they recognise the aspirations and potential of aspiring international students,’ Peñaflor said.

She also has some advice for IELTS test takers on how they can ace their test. ‘Sign-up and study the Road to IELTS. The course offers online materials, sample videos, teacher tutorials, and timed practice tests which enables them to simulate mock questions and get familiar with the actual test. [Test takers] can also explore the British Council website for other online courses on grammar and vocabulary… And join IELTS webinars where they can ask expert educators from the British Council about tips on improving their English language skills.’

The British Council received over 600 applications and interviewed over 80 high flying individuals who excelled in their IELTS test and explained their intentions to contribute to society locally or abroad after study.

Trish Thomson, Regional Marketing Director for the British Council in East Asia said, ‘The IELTS Prize recognises high performing students that demonstrate academic excellence and commitment to excel during international study. More importantly, they show the determination to take what they learnt during their time abroad and use it to benefit their communities when they return home. It is our privilege to help these talented individuals make their mark in the world that is rapidly changing. International study is one way they can prepare themselves to thrive in the future.’

The British Council in East Asia invites all students planning to study abroad and interested in taking IELTS tests to the 2021 IELTS Prize Virtual Award Ceremony which will be live-streamed on British Council IELTS Facebook pages across East Asia on 30 September. This 45-minute online celebration is open to anyone. It will be great opportunity to learn from the IELTS Prize winners on how to ace IELTS test and how their lives have and will change as they embark on their new study journey.

‘I [hope] my education will inspire and empower young people, especially women to pursue their dreams of studying abroad so that when we return home, we can advance science and technology for our country’s development,’ Peñaflor added.

For more information about IELTS prize, visit https://www.ieltsasia.org/ph/ielts-prize

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