Filipino celebrity (and now International Student) Rhea Santos admits living in Canada is a lot harder than she thought


Rhea Santos is finding out for herself that living in Canada isn’t exactly easy. She recently moved to Canada to study Broadcasting and Online Journalism at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Burnaby, BC. Read more to find out why Rhea Santos admits living in Canada is a lot harder than she thought.


The 40 year old Rhea Santos might just be another international student at BCIT, but in the Philippines, she’s somewhat of a celebrity.

Born in San Mateo, Rizal, Santos grew up in Marikina. She went to school at St. Scholastica’s Academy, and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Mass Communications at St. Paul’s College in Quezon City.

She got her first taste of broadcasting by interviewing her future co-host Arnold Clavio for a school project. She interned with ABS CBN during her third year at St. Paul’s.

The statuesque Santos didn’t originally plan on becoming a journalist. Growing up, she wanted to become a beauty queen. In 1996, she joined the a local swimsuit competition and won a “Best in Swimsuit” award. She also dabbled in modelling and even tried out for Binibining Pilipinas before pursuing a career in broadcasting.

She’s known for her work on several GMA shows including Unang Hirit, Reporter’s Notebook and Tunay na Buhay.

Santos joined GMA in 2000, working as a segment producer before joining Unang Hirit in 2001.

She hosted several shows, including Frontpage, At Your Service-Star Power, Eat Bulaga, Pinoy Abroad, News on Q (which became GMA News TV), Draw the Line and DoQmentaries.

Her years of broadcast journalism included hard-hitting reporting, including her work with Jiggy Manicad on the Reporter’s Notebook covering the Maguindanao massacre in 2009, reporting on the State of the Nation Addresses of the Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino and Duterte administrations, the Royal wedding in the United Kingdom and the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

One of her last shows for Unang Hirit was a Lenten special which was broadcast live from Israel. Her final appearance before heading off to Canada was a special episode of Tunay na Buhay, which featured her life story.

Santos is married to businessman Carlo de Guzman, with whom she has two children.


We don’t know Rhea Santos personally, but we’re big fans.

From what we can tell, Rhea Santos came to Canada as an international student, having applied for a study permit from the Philippines.

How hard is it to become an international student in Canada, you may ask?

Well, it’s not any more difficult than coming to Canada as an immigrant.

You just have to do your homework and understand Canada will welcome you with open arms…

…as long as you’re qualified under the specific immigration program that you’re applying for.


What is a Study Permit?

A Study Permit is a document issued by the Government of Canada that allows Filipinos to study at colleges in universities in Canada.

Not all colleges and universities in Canada are allowed to take in international students. They must be part of a special list of designated learning institutions.

In most cases, Filipinos who wish to be international students in Canada must have a valid Study Permit.

Before you apply for a Study Permit, make sure you have all the necessary documents.

FYI, the Government of Canada doesn’t want you applying for a Study Permit when you’re in Canada on a Visitor Visa.

Take note that a Study Permit is not a visa. You won’t be able to enter Canada with just a Study Permit.

Filipinos can apply for a Study Permit faster through the Student Direct Stream.


Wondering if you can join Rhea Santos in Canada? Here’s everything you need to know about BCIT’s School of Business Broadcast and Journalism Diploma program.

Where is BCIT?

BCIT is located in Burnaby, British Columbia.

What is the Broadcast and Journalism Diploma program?

BCIT’s Broadcast and Journalism Diploma program is a two year course, from September to May. Students enrolled in the program will receive specialized training for positions in the media industry.

For the program’s practicum, students will have the opportunity to work in the Canadian media industry, including local TV and radio stations, as well as production, sports and entertainment organizations.

What can I do after completing the Broadcast and Journalism Diploma program?

After completing the program, students can find employment in newsrooms, sports stations and media relations companies. Some BCIT graduates have also founded their own video production companies.

BCIT posts career opportunities specifically for their graduates on their website to help them find employment prior to completing their programs.

How can I apply to study as an International Student at BCIT?

You can apply as either a full-time or part-time International Student at BCIT.

If you are applying as a full-time International Student, you will need to apply and meet the minimum entrance requirements. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Full-time students are automatically signed up for all the courses required. You are also required to meet the minimum requirements for visa application set forth by the Government of Canada, including Proof of Funds and a valid Work Permit that will allow you to be employed during the co-op portion of the program.

If you are already in Canada, you may apply as a part-time student. As a part-time student, you will have to sign up for the courses yourself. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Part-time students must already have valid status in Canada prior to application.

For more information about applying for the Broadcast and Journalism Diploma program, please contact the BCIT International Student Centre by email at

BCIT International Student Centre (Burnaby Campus)
Building SW01-1170
3700 Willingdon Avenue
Burnaby, British Columbia
Canada, V5G 3H2

BCIT International Student Centre (Downtown Campus)
Room 782 – 555 Seymour Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada, V6B 3H6

You can also send general inquiries to:

Judy Phipps
Administrative Assistant
604-432-8863 |

Mary Kay Thurston
Admissions Coordinator
604-432-8668 |


Rhea Santos is living her best life as an international student in Canada. We’re fairly certain that she’s going through the exact same adjustment period as many Filipinos, but we’re pretty sure she’s doing just fine.

It’s not that she’s having a hard time in Canada, but we’re fairly certain that a lot of things caught her by surprise when she first got here.

She’s learning how to do all the fun stuff, like:

  • Doing her own laundry (wash, dry, fold)
  • Making her own dinner
  • Sorting out the trash (recyclables, compostable, garbage)
  • Ordering a double double
  • Taking public transit
  • Paying for bills online
  • Taking an Uber & Lift
  • How to dress in layers (more for warmth than for fashion)
  • and a whole bunch of other stuff that she probably doesn’t get to do on her own in the Philippines!

Rhea Santos loves sharing her Canadian adventure with her fans. Check out what she’s up to these days. Give her a follow on Instagram: @msrheasantos

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