MANILA, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Eighty Filipinos have been awarded and accepted to study at several Chinese universities this year, the Chinese embassy in the Philippines announced on Friday.
After carefully evaluating several applications, the Chinese embassy said the China Scholarship Council has approved the applications of 80 Filipinos to receive the 2019 Chinese Government Scholarship.
"The issued scholarship grants for this year covered major such as international relations, corporate management, clinical medicine, engineering management and Chinese language for undergraduate, master's and doctorate degrees," the Chinese embassy said in a statement.
The Chinese embassy further said the 80 scholars will be provided with free tuition, free lodging, stipend and health insurance for Peking University, Tsinghua University, Xiamen University, Jinan University, Fujian Normal University and many other prestigious universities in China.
Among the 80 scholars this year is Melvin Chua, 23, who sold dish sponges in the Metro Manila to fund his education from grade school to college. His personal story went viral after he announced on Facebook last year that he finally earned a college degree, thanks to 13 years of hawking dish sponges on the streets. After his inspiring story came out, Chua was nicknamed the "sponge boy".
"I am excited. I am very happy and grateful for this rare opportunity, it's a big opportunity," Chua told Xinhua in an interview.
According to Chua, he has been given a chance to earn a master's degree in international business administration at Renmin University of China in Beijing.
Chua, who has been working at a multinational company for a year now, said he is looking forward to his new adventure in Beijing that will kick off next month and ends in 2021.
"I am ready to take on the new challenge," he added.
The Chinese Government Scholarship is offered annually, providing opportunities to study in over 200 universities in China. The scholarships are awarded through the Chinese embassy in different countries worldwide.
The Chinese embassy in the Philippines in charge of scholarship applications is currently in the process of delivering admission letters to the selected Filipino students.
"This is in pursuit of their aim of promoting people to people exchanges between China and the Philippines," the Chinese embassy said.