“STUDYING ABROAD?” was an impossible dream for me few years ago because I had English barrier.
Every scholarship opportunity offered by many institutions always required high English score either TOEFL, IBT, or IELTS; while the only English score I had was TOEFL preparation in which the score was under 400.
This condition discouraged me to try applying scholarships till I got information about Ford Foundation scholarship offered by IIE and IIEF in 2008.
I was surprised when I saw the application forms were not in English but bahasa.
“Alhamdulillah” there was a way for me to continue my study.
From Australia Moved to Europe
United State of America had become the main destination country to continue my study. Why?
There are two reasons: academically and personally.
Academically, international relations issues both classic and contemporary have more developed in USA.
Moreover, many scholars and experts of international relations are living and teaching there.
Personally, as a person come from marginal area, I have a dream to see USA as a Barrack Obama country and I expected to meet him in person.
Additionally, an alumnus from USA sounds more prestigious.
And the last, I can enjoy longer time flying because of long distance between Indonesia and USA, there is snow in USA, and there must be more western people than Asian in the class.
Unfortunately, after applying some universities in USA, I was not accepted.
The opportunity even came from Australia, especially from The Australian National University (ANU), the best university in Australia and Asia Pacific region and one of the top 20 in the world.
I was very lucky studying in ANU. As a student of peace and conflict studies I got big opportunity to spend first semester in Bjorkness Collage, Oslo, Norway, from August 2011 to January 2012.
During studying in Norway, I got interesting experiences both positive and negative.
Positively, the subject of international relations specifically peace and conflict studies was packaged as modern courses which taught by different lecturers based on different topics every week.
The lecturers were researchers from Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO, one of the world biggest research institution) and Universitet i Oslo (UIO, The biggest national university in Norway).
Studying and living in Norway offered direct understanding to see the way Norwegian government make policy to treat the society equally both Norwegians and migrants by giving attention to detail needs of women, children, and dogs as pet of most society.
Besides, I learned to adapt with extreme environment and weather in which it could be -15 degree in winter.
Negatively, since I lived in a share apartment with five bed rooms inhabited by people from different culture and countries (Norway, Canada, USA, Iraq, and Poland) and multi professions (three students, a house servant, two construction workers, and two oil station worker), it was required me to have more patient and more understanding.
I must be able to deal with high noise made by apartment mates who always drunk.
I also must deal with behaviour of unmarried couple who always made ‘noise’ at night.
I must be accustomed to see male mates who always wear only underpants at home.
All these experiences have taught me to know and respect different cultures and life styles which were totally different with my own culture in Indonesia without negatively impacted my study.
By participating in IFP program I obtain heaps of life experiences; however I cannot explain one by one in this moment.
One important thing was all experiences have changed my perspective about west and east, Moslem and non-Moslem, prosperous and poor, and other in the positive sense. (sri murni)
Sister Rahayu Asda keeps your spirit to study and improves your writing skills.