“Make sure that working abroad is what you really want. What you see in social media does not give you the whole picture, there will be challenges and struggles.” That’s what Erchie Artiaga has to say for those who dream of finding work abroad. Her words of advice may serve more as a warning sign instead of painting a picture of one living the life, but Erchie’s story is a story of success.

Although success seemed to be in her footsteps, the achiever in Erchie recognized that success nevertheless came to her only after perseverance and hard work. As a straight arrow type of student, she completed her education as a consistent top achiever. She then worked three and a half years at a hospital in Ormoc City to gain experience before she managed to fly abroad.

She considered those years as one of the toughest times in her life. The same Erchie who graduated Valedictorian and consistently came on top of the class tasted defeat when she failed to pass the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) by only half a point. She felt life kicking her in the butt as she thought of the borrowed money she used for the exam while at the same time her long-time relationship with her then boyfriend also hit rock bottom.

That romantic relationship soon crumbled, but Erchie held on to her dreams. She joggled hospital work with her online review and just a couple of months later, she took the IELTS exam again. This time she passed, and life itself rewarded her perseverance.

Erchie now works as a Practice Nurse in New Zealand where she also found the man who forever changed her life for good. Now happily married and financially stable, Erchie lives in a comfortable house she owns with her husband John. Driving herself to work in her own car, she dreams of Pinoy food, her family in Carigara, the people’s happy “bahala na si batman” attitude, and the holidays and fiesta celebrations in her home country.

Out of all her achievements, she considers her life lessons as her ultimate treasures in life. It’s those life lessons she’s taken to heart that keep her grounded. Her final words of advice for those seeking a greener life abroad? “Do not be afraid or intimidated by other people. Learn to stand for yourself and be assertive if you know in your heart that you are right,” says nurse Erchie, just like a genuine Waray would say.

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