Chasing a dream usually means stepping out of your comfort zone. Sometimes, it means diving into a new place with a different culture, away from what you’re used to.

For Zeny Joy Celzo Camero, this step is crucial to opening a pivotal chapter of personal and professional advancement. Thus, pursuing a Master’s Degree at the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is a clear plan for career growth.

In this story, we explore Zeny’s amazing journey—from why she chose to study in Malaysia to her current role as APU’s Regional Representative, bridging Filipinos to education opportunities.

A Quest for Quality Education

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Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) campus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Zeny was born and raised in Pangasinan and lived there until high school. She relocated to Caloocan City to study in Manila, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in Marketing at Our Lady of Fatima University in Valenzuela.

Dreaming of independence, Zeny has always wanted to study abroad to stand on her own.

Going to a different country for education is both challenging and a chance to grow up.

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Being far from family means she has to learn important life skills like managing time, setting priorities, and being disciplined. This journey is about taking responsibility for herself, assuring her family that she’s not just focused on her studies but also on becoming more mature with determination.

She says, “I believe that studying internationally will give me more chances to explore jobs with great opportunities, salary, and career-wise,” adding, “Even if I decide to go back to my home country, I believe that local employers may offer a good opportunity for me.”

After getting her diploma, she boldly pursued her Master of Business Administration degree at APU.

Her choice was not just about education but a strategic move for career growth.

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APU is an award-winning international university in Kuala Lumpur, showcasing high-quality education and cutting-edge technology. | Photo by APU

APU is an award-winning educational institution in Kuala Lumpur, standing as a beacon of excellence in education, offering a dynamic and innovative learning environment.

APU is renowned for its commitment to delivering high-quality education and combines cutting-edge technology with a multicultural atmosphere. With diverse programs spanning technology, business, and engineering, APU ensures students are well-equipped with practical skills and a global perspective.

APU’s reputation as home to an international student community comprising over 13,000 individuals from 130 diverse countries has amplified Zeny’s aspiration to seek further education within its walls and beyond.

“APU is known for its Multicultural University, and meeting new friends from different countries is a great opportunity for me to learn more about different countries entirely different from my own. To be open-minded with the differences of various people without traveling to each country, they are from.”

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APU has an international student community of 13,000 individuals from 130 diverse countries, making it a multicultural university. | Photo from APU

A Second Home

Transitioning from Manila to Malaysia at 21, Zeny faced a whirlwind of new experiences.

However, APU became her guiding light. “APU helps me to adapt to everything because they never leave their students behind,” she reflects.

From the first steps off the plane, APU orchestrated a supportive environment, organizing event orientations and creating avenues for international students to adjust seamlessly.

“APU became my second home. I love how APU takes good care and guides each of us.”

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Zeny together with her batchmates on their orientation day as international students. | Photo by Zeny Camero

From dedicated lecturers to supportive staff, Zeny has discovered a second home. Lecturers impart their wisdom with a flair for teaching, ensuring each lesson is learned and deeply understood. The staff, always approachable, have been invaluable, particularly for a newcomer like her navigating the intricacies of university life.

What stands out is the friendliness of fellow APU students, where willingness to help transcends differences in religion, age, and nationality, Zeny adds. Indeed, it shows the inclusive spirit of the APU community.

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APU offers holistic approach to academic and personal growth for its students. | Photo from APU
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The university features many amenities conducive for learning. | Photo from APU

APU's Impact on Personal and Academic Growth

Zeny didn’t shy away from acknowledging the challenges she faced—culture shock, language barriers, and a demanding academic schedule. “I did my research regarding Malaysia and APU before my arrival to prepare myself,” she notes, underlining the importance of preparation.

APU’s multicultural environment has helped her adjust more easily. “I became more open-minded because of APU. I was exposed to diverse thoughts, cultural backgrounds, and opinions.

Zeny together with Dissertation Supervisor Dr. Anusuiya Subramaniam & second Marker Ms. Shamini A/P Arumugam. | Photo by Zeny Camero

Having undergone significant personal growth, Zeny has evolved to embrace new ideas and adopt diverse perspectives.

This transformation equips her to thrive in diverse team settings and fosters effective communication, minimizing misunderstandings.

Moreover, Zeny recognizes APU’s role in facilitating connections that influenced her career. “Studying in APU helps me build good relationships,” she notes, emphasizing the importance of mentorships, friendships, and a supportive community in shaping one’s professional journey.

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Zeny completes her master's degree with a dissertation defense.

Zeny’s journey at APU wasn’t just about textbooks and exams; it was a holistic experience that contributed to her personal and academic growth. “I became more mature in life,” she reflects, highlighting APU’s emphasis on personal development.

Now, as APU’s Regional Representative, Zeny leverages this newfound openness to build stronger relationships in a multicultural professional environment.

She is a vital link between the university and aspiring students in the Philippines, facilitating inquiries, promoting APU through digital platforms, and establishing collaborations with Philippine universities.

With a focus on effective communication and administrative support, she ensures a seamless experience for potential students, embodying APU’s commitment to accessibility and excellence in education.

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Zeny works as APU's Regional Representative, promoting the educational opportunities for Filipinos. | Photo from Zeny Camero

Advice to Filipinos Who Want to Study in Malaysia

Reflecting on her transformative journey, Zeny Camero extends valuable advice to future Filipino students contemplating international education, particularly at APU in Malaysia.

She encourages them not to shy away from embracing a new environment, emphasizing the immense growth opportunities that arise outside one’s comfort zone.

Highlighting APU’s role in shaping and preparing individuals for the future, Zeny underscores the significance of the skills and networks developed at the university, which can serve as a distinct advantage in the competitive job market.

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Zeny advises Filipinos aspiring to study in Malaysia to not be afraid of immersing in a multicultural setting. | Photo by Zeny Camero

Moreover, Zeny reassures prospective international students that they are not alone in their journey.

Encouraging them to reach out, make friends, and seek assistance when needed, she emphasizes the welcoming nature of the multicultural community.

Aside from practical tips, such as effective time management, joining APU societies and clubs, and embracing imperfections in language proficiency, she concludes with a heartfelt reminder: “Enjoy every moment, make it memorable, and take care of yourself to stay healthy as you are far from your family.”

In Zeny’s journey from Manila to Malaysia, APU emerges as an educational institution and a catalyst for personal and professional metamorphosis.

Her story is a testament to the transformative power of international education, where challenges become opportunities, and unfamiliarity evolves into growth.

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About Author

Gelyka is a writer from Rizal. She loves conversations over a cup of coffee or craft beer, baking and cooking, and discovering stories while on the road. She is currently the Managing Editor of Teal Magazine and co-founder of Teal House Media. Follow her personal blog at www.musingsandpathways.com.

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