Find out more about the Filipino Society and other societies you can join at Portsmouth.

I’m in my second year studying Criminology and Forensic Studies and I'm sharing my experience in joining the Filipino Society. I have just finished my time as Secretary and will be Vice-President for next year. 

Joining Portsmouth and the society

I joined the University of Portsmouth in 2019 after completing my A Levels. My time here has been so much more than I imagined. Every student comes to university with some degree of nervousness and excitement, as it is a time where you can become more independent in life.

During my freshers week, I had a lot of fun hanging out with my flatmates in Chaucer House, exploring the new city and meeting people in my course. During Freshers' Fayre, I was already interested in joining the Filipino Society. When I got to the stall, everyone was really lovely and helpful and little did I know I was talking to my future housemate for my second year when I was signing up.

At the time, I was pretty introverted and going to these events was a great way to ease into the uni lifestyle. There were events like the Meet and Greet, Bowling night, Halloween Party, Christmas Pot Luck and Winterball.

Running for society secretary

I decided to run for secretary of the Filipino Society around February 2020. My role as secretary was to keep track of meeting notes, clarify any information, send emails and help other members when they needed it. I enjoyed being part of Filipino Society and wanted to do the same for the incoming students.

Key skills in any committee role and for life are good communication, organisation, and teamwork skills. Developing these skills and building that experience and network outside your studies is also essential for your future. I had experience doing this sort of thing during my internship at Universal Pictures, so I thought I would be a good candidate. 

Starting second year during a pandemic

When the pandemic struck before we even started the new academic year, it was a big shock for everyone. Many societies had to find a way to organise virtual events for new and current members.

With the leadership from our President, Danna and Vice-President, Franchesca, and the rest of the committee members support (Reziel, Nicole, Lourise, Andrea, Dwayne, Jensen and Miles) we didn’t let the circumstances of the pandemic stop us. Around August last year, we were already creating plans and new ways to connect with members.

We held many virtual events hosted via zoo throughout the year, all posted on our Instagram account – @uopfilipinosociety – which you should definitely check out! There are several events which I personally loved. One was The Livestream Fundraiser in December where all our proceeds went to Step Up PH for the people affected by the deadly typhoons in the Philippines. We even invited ‘The Voice Kids UK 2020’ winner, Justine Afante, to perform with other talented performers.

In April, we hosted our Careers Conference to learn from the society’s Alumni who found work in their respective fields of work. We had alumni talks from BioMedical, Finance, Architecture, Engineering and other career backgrounds and helped with CV making and interview prep.

This year the Filipino Society won Best Collab event (Filsoc Talent Show), Best Filsoc Duo (Portsmouth AND Southampton), Best Event (Shisha Night) and Most Active through Filifest Awards. Filifest is a student-led culture organisation for the wider Filipino community. The Student Union also awarded us the ‘Best Student Collaboration’ for our Filsoc Talent Show.

Hopes for third year and becoming Vice-President

I know my time being part of Filipino Society is not over yet, but writing this blog has given me a chance to reflect on everything that has happened during these past few years. In all honesty, without joining Filipino Society, my university experience would have been very different. I’ve made many happy memories that I hope I will never forget, along with the friends I created in filsoc.

The new committee for next year hopes to continue to follow our mission and vision for the Filipino Society. If you are reading this and have a slight interest in joining the Filipino Society, don’t be afraid to send us a DM on our insta or Facebook page. That’s all it takes.

Hopefully, if all goes to plan, I will be meeting you in person in our Freshers’ Fayre stall, where I started this journey from the beginning.

Tamarra Anabeza is studying BSc (Hons) Criminology and Forensic Studies in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Portsmouth.