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Jose Rizals Education Abroad

Jose Rizal studies continued in UST until he was unhappy at the Dominican Institution. Rizal was disgusted of its primitive method of instruction and the racial prejudice of Dominican Professors against Filipino students and he was brought to realization that pursuing further studies abroad will be much better. Aside from studying in Spain, he was on a Secret Mission. Secret Mission: to observe keenly the life and culture, languages and customs, industries and commerce, and governments and laws of the European nations in order to prepare himself in the mighty task of liberating his oppressed people from Spanish tyranny.

Academic Journey to Spain

His departure for Spain was kept secret from Spanish Authorities, friars and even his parents especially his mother because she would not allow him to go but he was secretly supported by his brother, Paciano. In order to avoid detection, he used the name Jose Mercado, name of his cousin in Calamba. Before his departure, he scribbled farewell letters to his parents and his sweetheart Leonor Rivera. On May 3, 1882 he boarded on Salvador bound for Singapore. He was the only Filipino passenger. The captain of the ship, Donato Lecha from Asturias Spain, befriended him. They landed on Singapore on May 9 and registered to Hotel de la Paz and spent a couple of days sightseeing.

Studies Completed in Spain

On November 3, 1882, he enrolled in Universidad Central de Madrid taking up two courses: Medicine and Philosophy & Letters Aside from those courses, he also studied painting and sculpture in the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando; he took lessons in French, German, and English under private instructors and practiced fencing and shooting in the Hall of Arms Sanz y Carbonell. He was conferred the degree of Licentiate in Medicine by the Universidad Central de Madrid on June 21, 1884. The next academic year, he studied and passed all subjects leading to the degree of Doctor of Medicine. However, he did not submit the thesis required for graduation nor paid the corresponding fees. He was not awarded his Doctors Diploma. Jose Rizal also finished his studies in Philosophy and Letters with higher grades. He was awarded the Degree of Licentiate in Philosophy and Letters by the Universidad Central de Madrid on June 19, 1885 with the rating of excellent. Attacks of homesickness inspired him to write You ask me for Verses. During his stay in Madrid his vision broadened to the point of awakening in him and understanding of human nature, sparking in him the realization that his people needed him. He joined the CirculoHispano Filipino whose members were Filipino residents in Madrid and some Spanish born students. He wrote El Amor Patrio wherein he expressed his love for his country. In La Solidaridad, he published the Indolence of the Filipinos to refute the Spanish criticism that the Filipinos were indolent and lazy. He said that the colonial policy of divesting the Filipinos of the fruits of their toil, the climate that was conducive to the slow tempo of progress, the lack of incentives to work harder, some causes why the Filipinos were seemingly indolent.

Studies Opthalmology and travels in Europe

In 1885, after studying at the Universidad Central de Madrid, Rizal, who was then 24 years old, went to Paris to acquire more knowledge in ophthalmology. Among all branches, he chose this specialization because he wanted to cure his mothers failing eyesight. On February 3, 1886, after gathering some experience in ophthalmology, he left Paris and went to Heidelberg, Germany. He worked at the University Eye Hospital under the direction of Dr. Otto Becker, a distinguished German ophthalmologist. On April 22, 1886, Rizal wrote a poem entitled A Las Flores de Heidelberg (To the Flowers of Heidelberg) because he was fascinated by the blooming flowers along the Neckar River, which was the light blue flower called forget-me-not. He transferred to the University of Leipzig to study psychology and history. Here he became a friend of Professor Friedrich Ratzel, one of the historians who helped change the methods of historical research. Rizal also contemplated to enroll as a student of Law in the famous University of Heidelberg, but his brother Paciano was not favor of it. While Rizal was in Paris, he kept busy writing his Novel. During his free time, he visted his fellow counymen Pardo de Taveres and (Trinidad, Felix and Paz) including Juan Luna. Luna painted a historial canvass, The Blood Compact in which Rizal posed as a Sikatuna and Trinidad as Legaspi. He also posed for a group picture called The Death of Cleopatra wherein he dressed as an Egyptian priest. The book which is Rizal was writing he named it Noli Me Tangere was finished in Berlin on February 22, 1887. But on that day in Berlin, Rizal desperate. He had no money to publish his book vainly he was struggling to save money by eating only one meal a day. Due to financial constraints, Rizal had to look for the cheapest book printer. He was charged P300 for 2,000 copies and he had to borrow the amount from his friend Maximo Viola. The book finally came out in March 1887. The Filipino commemorate February 22, 1887 as the birthday of Noli Me Tangere, for it was that book that made Jose Rizal the inevitable leader of the Filipinos, and started him on the road to martyrdom and immorality. After a visit to Vienna, Rome, and a few other cities of Italy. Dr. Rizal took a ship from Marseilles and started home on July 5, 1887, at last ready to operate upon the cataracts in his mothers eyes.