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Pregnancy+

Buat ibu-ibu yang baru pertama hamil kaya saya, saya saranin download aplikasi Pregnancy+ deh di HP. Membantu banget. Kan banyak tuh yang udah tau hamil pas masih awal-awal sambil ga tau apa-apa tea tapi buat nanya-nanya ke orang lain atau bahkan ke keluarga sendiri kok kaya terlalu awal juga yah. Nah, ini dia solusinya! (iklan pisan, kaya yang di-endorse aja haha..)

Tapi beneran deh, aplikasi ini lengkap banget infonya, dari apa yang terjadi tiap hari dan tiap minggunya sama tubuh dan jabang bayi kita saat hamil, panjang dan berat standar si bayi, ukurannya kira-kira udah segede apa tiap minggu, foto USG 2D dan 3D bayi, tracking berat badan kita, sampe tempat nyatet jadwal kunjungan ke dokter dan ide nama-nama bayi cewek atau cowok.

Saya yang tinggalnya jauh dari Ibu dan ga bisa setiap saat nanya juga ke Ibu mertua, terbantu banget sama segala informasi yang disediakan aplikasi ini. Di saat saya bingung ini badan kok rasanya gini ya. Mau nanya entar ketauan hamil, padahal belum mau bilang-bilang. Diem-diem aja malah panik dan khawatir sendiri. Eh, alhamdulillah info yang disediain hari itu ternyata ngejelasin tentang hal yang lagi saya pertanyakan itu. Jadi saya juga bisa cerita ke suami kalo ternyata keluhan saya yang kemarin-kemarin itu penyebabnya begini looh, blablablabla.. suami jadi ngga was-was lagi.

Tapi sayangnya, aplikasi ini cuma free sampai hari ke-99, begitu saya mau buka hari ke-100 ternyata harus bayar, hiks.. Sempet berkontemplasi beberapa lama sih, seminggu lebih ada kayanya, kira-kira worth it ngga sih bayar buat aplikasi ini, abis ngga punya kartu kredit. Tapi karena udah jadi kebiasaan tiap hari untuk ngecek info disini, selama beberapa hari ngga bisa akses aplikasi saya jadi merasa sedikit kehilangan arah, akhirnya bilang ke suami buat pinjem kartu kredit dan bayar kelanjutannya sampe tamat (ngelahirin). Harganya kalo ngga salah Rp 69ribu.

Begitu udah bisa diakses lagi, saya ngebut baca info seminggu terakhir yang saya ketinggalan dan nyesel banget kenapa pake mikir lama buat bayar aplikasi ini. Keluhan-keluhan saya selama seminggu terakhir ternyata ada jawabannya disini. Tapi yaudahlah, yang penting udah bisa lagi.

Lewat aplikasi ini saya juga jadi bisa ngebandingin berat badan bayi saya sama standar normalnya harusnya segimana. Eh ternyata, dari awal berat bayi saya udah jauh meninggalkan standar, haha.. Saya segala dimakan sih, soalnya ngga ada yang bikin mual atau muntah, semua makanan enak dan saya makan semua yang enak, hehe..

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Tapi paling kaget waktu kontrol di minggu ke-34, dokternya bilang minggu ini standarnya 2300-2400 gram ya Bu, eh anak saya ternyata 2600 gram lebih. Saya inget-inget lagi, terakhir kontrol itu hampir sebulanan yang lalu karena dokternya cuti makanya saya jadi ngerasa agak bebas dan banyak makan-minum yang dingin dan manis. Abisnya makin lama makin gerah banget, dan hanya makanan-minuman dingin manis yang bisa menyegarkan dahaga dan bikin saya hepi lagi. Eh, anaknya malah jadi kegedean. Dokter terus wanti-wanti, 2 minggu lagi beratnya saya harap tetep di kisaran ini yah. Waduh, gimana caranya ya dok?

2 minggu selanjutnya saya lewati dengan was-was, makan ngga tenang tapi tetep banyak, minuman dingin manis saya kurangiiin banget. Begitu kontrol, alhamdulillah berat badan saya ngga berubah jauh dari 2 minggu lalu, tapi begitu dicek dokter, eh anaknya ko malah nambah 300 gram jadi 2,9 kg!! Lemes deh sama panik. Harus gimana lagi biar anaknya ngga naik drastis berat badannya. Mana gula darah saya rendah, jadi kaya simalakama: kurang makan, berat anaknya ngga naik tapi saya pusing banget. Kalo makan, berat anaknya naik tapi saya seger. Emang lebih gampang itu naikin daripada nurunin yah.

“Ibu, ini anaknya udah 2,9 kg di minggu ke-36. Kalau mau lahir normal, jangan kegedean anaknya nanti Ibu susah ngeluarinnya. Mulai sekarang minumnya air putih aja, kurangin nasi dan yang manis-manis.”, dokter ngasih wanti-wanti lagi.

Hari pertama kedua setelah kontrol, saya jadi ngga makan nasi sama sekali tapi banyakin sayur dan lauk. Ibu saya yang udah mulai nemenin di rumah semenjak saya cuti terus nawarin nasi karena khawatir asupan nutrisi saya malah kurang tapi saya tetep nolak.

Tapi emang dasar lidah orang Indonesia ya, hari ketiga keempat saya ngga kuat terus makannya heboh lagi pake nasi porsi normal. Untungnya hari Sabtu, pas saya jadwal kontrol itu, hari pertama puasa Ramadhan ini, jadi saya ikutan puasa deh sambil khawatir jangan-jangan anaknya udah 3 kg lebih soalnya saya ngerasa perut saya makin gede aja kesini-kesini.

Begitu ketemu dokter, ditanya, “Berat bayinya minggu lalu berapa sih?”

“Kalo ngga salah 2,914 kg deh dok.”

“Ibu puasa?”

“Iya dok.”

“Bagus bagus,  ini berat anaknya turun dikit sih jadi 2,8 kg”

Wah, artinya sesuai standar berat bayi 37 minggu di Pregnancy+!! Alhamdulillah, senengnya luar biasa. Artinya seminggu ke depan saya bisa makan dengan tenang, haha.. Ternyata puasa ngaruh banget yah. Saya beberapa kali ngajak ngobrol bayi saya mencoba ngasih pengertian dan nguatin dia juga supaya ngga kaget diajak puasa.

Udah dari 3 minggu lalu dokter juga nanyain apa ASI saya udah keluar. Sayangnya belum sampe sekarang, khawatir lagi deh. Kenapa yah? Saya udah rajin bersihin, udah banyakin sayur tapi belum ada tanda-tanda kesitu. Dokter akhirnya nyaranin supaya frekuensi makan vitamin pelancar ASI-nya ditambahin jadi 2x sehari. Mudah-mudahan berhasil deh.

Minggu depan pas jalan 38 minggu, jadwalnya saya periksa panggul untuk menentukan apa saya bisa lahiran normal dan berapa baiknya ukuran bayi saya supaya bisa keluar dengan lancar lewat panggul saya. Sejauh ini sih dari hasil kontrol, posisi bayi saya kepalanya udah di bawah dan udah masuk rongga panggul makanya kadang kerasa sensasi keteken-keteken gitu. Artinya sebentar lagi nih, deg-degan deh.

Bismillah… Semoga dilancarkan dan diberi kemudahan. Mohon doanya ya 🙂

 

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Maternity Leave

Some would prefer to start it as close as possible to the due date while I just want to start it as soon as I can regardless my due date.

I feel like my body and mental health can’t take it anymore.

This is my first pregnancy and I don’t know what to expect, or to be precise, what exactly I would face any time sooner.

I want to prepare my mind and body for whatever that will come, instead of facing workload at office and terrible traffic on my way to work and after.

I just hope my baby will come at the right time. Meanwhile, I’m doing everything I can to meet her sooner.

Yes, it’s a girl 🙂

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Pregnancy without (too much) hassle

Alhamdulillah, sekarang udah masuk 7 bulan kehamilan. Kalau diinget-inget 7 bulan lalu gimana taunya lucu juga.

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“Mmmm, aku tidak tau harus bereaksi bagaimana”, suami saya cengar-cengir salting waktu saya pertama kali ngabarin kalau saya hamil.

Saya bengong, speechless.

Mempertimbangkan karakter suami yang emang lempeng, saya emang ngga berharap dia bereaksi kaya di film-film dimana sang pemeran suami berteriak gembira lalu memeluk dan menggendong pemeran istri (ga bakal kuat juga sih).

Tapi saya berharap, at least, dia bilang, “Alhamdulillah, semoga blablabla…”, pokoknya yang menyejukkan hati deh, tapi ini ngga.

Terus saya jadi bete, haha..

Tapi terus saya mikir, kami sebelumnya pacaran 7 tahunan haha hihi huhu hehe terus. Setelah nikah, dalam waktu kurang dari 1 tahun banyak hal-hal yang jadi lebih serius, salah satunya ini dan wajar kalau dia kaget. Menjadi orangtua juga kan bukan tanggung jawab yang ringan. Banyak yang harus dipersiapkan. Dan setelah menikah, kami juga sebenernya sepakat untuk berdua dulu aja selama setahun pertama tapi tidak menunda untuk menerima kepercayaan seperti ini (previous post).

Tapi, seiring bulan demi bulan kandungan saya membesar, tanpa perlu kata-kata, saya tahu kalau suami jadi lebih considerate sama saya, walaupun agak ngedumel dikit, hehe.. Karena sebelumnya apa-apa saya ladenin, sekarang kalau di rumah jadi gantian ngeladenin. Dulu lebih sering dipijetin sekarang gantian mijetin karena badan saya sering pegel-pegel dan sakit pinggang. Dulu suka minta digarukin kalau punggung gatel, sekarang saya yang gantian minta digarukin karena tangan akrobat dikit suka kram. Dulu kalo pulang ngantor nyetir pusing terus minta gantian, sekarang ditawarin gantian nolak.

Tapi, alhamdulillah, walaupun banyak orang bilang kalau lagi hamil itu macem-macem ceritanya, lebih sensitif terutama, saya ngerasa biasa aja tuh (padahal ngga nyadar orang-orang di sekeliling ngerasanya gimana. Kalau saya lagi nyebelin itu sih emang dari dulu. Kalo lebih nyebelin lagi ya emang aslinya begitu, haha.. Bukan karena lagi hamil aja).

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Saya happy-happy aja selama hamil. Malah yang dulu dikit-dikit berantem atau debat sama suami sekarang bisa diitung sama jari berapa kali marahnya selama hamil ini. Tapi pernah sih waktu itu entah kenapa, hormon lagi memuncak (yak, salahkan saja hormon) terus ngamuknya ruarrr biasaaaa.. Suami saya juga iseng sih orangnya (yak, pokoknya bukan salah saya)

Jadi ceritanya waktu itu lagi di jalan pulang, terus saya seperti biasa kan ngobrol sama suami terus nanya,

“Tadi siang makan apa, Jo?” (Bojo – Bahasa Jawa suami)

“Mmmmmm, kasih tau ngga yaaa?” biasaa tengil.

“Makan apaaaaa???” ga sabar.

“Coba tebaaak…”

Terus saya mulai nebak segala macem mulai dari Yoshinoya, Hokben sampe soto ayam, tapi ga ada yang bener.

“Makan apaaaaaaa…..!!!” mulai naik darah.

“Tebaaak….” masih nyebelin ga mau ngasitau.

“Tiga huruf..” mulai ngasih clue, tapi namanya lagi hamil, kadang otak suka agak susah dipake mikir.

“Tiga huruf..???” saya mikir tapi ga ada ide blas!

“Apa siiiiiihhhh? ABC? DEF?” saya mulai naik darah lagi.

“Masa ga tau sih, coba tebaak..” sekarang pake cengar-cengir.

Karena sebel saya manyun, biarin aja ah paling nanti juga ngasitau sendiri. Tapi entah kenapa waktu itu tuh saya rasanya kepo bingiiiiittttsss, pengen tau dia makan apa tadi siang. Sampe akhirnya ga ketahan lagi, saya nangis sejadi-jadinya terus pake mukul-mukul dan nyubit-nyubit padahal suami saya lagi nyetir di jalan.

“Kamu tuh jangan permainkan akuuuuu, huaaaa… aku tuh pengen tau kamu makan apaaaa, huaaaaa….” drama banget.

Suami saya kaget ngeliat saya marahnya sebegininya. Dia dieeem ajaa..

Sambil nangis tersedu-sedu saya masih mikir, tiga huruf apa sih yang suka dimakan suami saya. Ada kali 15 menit mikir ditambah manyun, baru deh keinget, KFC!!!!

Saya diem aja, terus pelan-pelan tangisnya reda, tapi masih bete.

Abis suami saya minta maaf terus saya dijajanin daging steak rib-eye (mureh anaknya) terus saya ngga bete lagi deh.

Yaah begitulah cerita marahnya, cuma itu aja yang parah.

Ngidam aneh-aneh juga ngga, cuma makan aja terus, dan pengen yang enak-enak (iya, kaya steak rib-eye yang dicoret tadi). Alhamdulillah masih bisa dibeliin suami atau dijangkau gojek. Mual juga kalau laper atau telat makan aja. Paling akhir-akhir ini heartburn dikit tapi disendawain terus dikasih yang anget-anget udah deh sembuh.

Pada satu kesempatan, pernah sampe Ibu mertua saya jawab gini waktu saya ditanyain Tante ngidam apa,

“Dia mah ngebo, enak wes.”

Saya kaget. Iya sih, saya suka ngebo, tidur terus, kalo weekend bangun kesiangan, kurang banyak bantuin di rumah tapi parah banget ya ma sampe dikatain ‘kebo’? 😥

Usut punya usut, ternyata artinya ngebo buat orang Jawa itu ya yang hamilnya ngga banyak permintaan kaya saya, ngga ngidam aneh-aneh, ngga mual parah. Kalo di Sunda kan istilah kebo buat ngatain yang pemalesan, yaa emang jadi males sih soalnya berasa capek terus (halah, alasan).

Tapi yang paling bikin saya shocked adalah stretchmark di perut bawah. Dari awal hamil udah pernah dibilangin sih kalo gatel jangan digaruk, jadi saya rajin pake body butter. Tapi gatelnya paraaaahh, udah pake body butter juga tetep aja ngga ketahan jadi sadar ngga sadar saya suka garukin dari luar. Taunya setelah ngaca (kayanya pas 6 bulanan) udah bergurat-gurat merah, coklat, ungu doooongg, hikss.. sedih, balikinnya gimana yah.

Katanya sih nanti warnanya memudar tapi guratan-guratannya ga akan ilang.

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Ya udahlah gimana entar aja.

Karena udah lewat 28 minggu, saya udah mulai ikut senam hamil juga. Terus ketemu sama banyak ibu-ibu muda yang senasib perutnya, haha.. Terus ngobrol sama salah satunya,

“Udah berapa minggu, mbak?” saya nanya memulai percakapan.

“Saya udah 30 minggu.”

“Wah, mau masuk 8 bulan dong yah”

“Eh, enggak! Saya bulan kemarin baru 6 bulan kok”

“Loh, 6×4 kan 24, 8×4 = 32”

“Masa sih, bukannya 6×4 = 32 yah?”

“Bukaaaaaaan, 6×4 = 24!!”

“Hah? Iya yah, salah dong saya. Maklum lah ya, kalo hamil suka agak dong-dong”

Iya deeeeeehh, seenggaknya saya bukan yang paling parah, hihihiii…

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Entar lanjut lagi ya ceritanya, hehe…

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Never ending question

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Tulisan tahun lalu, beberapa bulan sebelum hamil 😀

Indonesian people have a special interest in other people’s life. Sometimes too much.

  • “Have you got any boyfriend/girlfriend?”
  • “When are you going to get married?”
  • “Are you pregnant yet?”
  • “When will you give your child siblings?”
  • Blablabla…

I have passed the moment when people asked me the first two questions.

However, they are now shifting to the question number three.

Deep inside, I have a mixed feeling about this.

My husband and I prefer to enjoy the first year without baby, just the two of us.

But we aren’t delaying it.

If I get pregnant during the first year, it’s a blessing.

But I know that both of us are not ready yet. It is a big and serious responsibility. We just need a little bit time to be prepared mentally.

However, the pressures bothered me a lot. The questions keep on coming from many, along with some beliefs on the consequences of delaying the pregnancy.

I know that it was some kind of positive attention, that it wasn’t intended to pressure me or anything, but it does the opposite. It put me under a lot of pressure.

My husband will study abroad next year and I want to accompany him. I want to get pregnant and give birth when I am close to him.

I want to have baby when I am ready and no one can force me when I am not.

So, let’s be patient and reply the third question politely.

Meanwhile,

think about this issue: Mind your own womb.

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I love Indonesia

My country and its people are far from perfect. I have been complaining a lot about numerous unbelievably annoying situations from politics, corruption, red tape, economic problems, poverty, environmental degradation to people’s behavior. And I don’t intend to stop anytime in the future.

But I love my country, even with all its negativities and absurdity. Every Indonesian will think the same way, too.

We have so much problems but guess what, research proved that we are among the happiest country in the world! This is hilarious. I even got into serious discussion with my family to talk about this. And we came into conclusion that this is happened because of our general mindset to take everything easy and stay positive everytime we face problems, hahaha… You want proofs? Check this out: http://www.wowshack.com/dont-let-the-floods-get-you-down/

No wonder a lot of foreigners also fall in love with Indonesian culture, aside from its natural landscape. Another proof? Check this video out: a play by ANU’s students, performed in Javanese language, the most spoken local language in Indonesia. They even do better than most of us. Thumbs up! 😀

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Ngga betah

Kali ini saya mau nulis dalam bahasa Indonesia aja deh, meminimalisir kemungkinan ketahuan sama orang sini yang sangat menjunjung tinggi ‘good image‘ sebusuk apapun keadaan aslinya.

Saya sekarang sedang menyelesaikan tahun kedua studi master saya di salah satu negara tetangga Indonesia. Buat yang pernah baca tulisan saya sebelumnya di blog ini mungkin bisa tahu dimana saya sekarang (ngga akan saya sebutkan lagi karena alasan yang sudah disebutkan di atas). Tinggal disini sebenarnya oke-oke aja, banyak banget yang bisa disyukuri: uang beasiswa saya mencukupi, saya bisa patungan nyewa apartemen yang keadannya lumayan bagus berdua sama temen sekelas, dan keramaian dan skala kotanya juga mirip sama Jakarta atau kota-kota Indonesia lainnya. Karena kedekatan geografi, ada juga kedekatan budaya dan kesamaan karakter dengan orang-orang Indonesia. Hal-hal ini harusnya bikin saya jadi salah satu yang paling siap secara mental diantara temen-temen saya yang rata-rata berasal dari Benua Eropa, Amerika Latin dan Afrika, yang harus menghadapi tempat baru, orang-orang baru, budaya baru dan semuanya yang baru. Harusnya saya jadi yang paling nyaman dengan kondisi hidup disini, paling bisa beradaptasi dengan baik, paling menikmati segala keadaan disini. Tapi nyatanya ngga. Saya jadi yang paling kecewa disini,

Andai saja persiapan studi dari pihak universitas ngga sekacau ini. Andai saja di hari ketiga saya disini, saya sama 2 temen saya ngga diteriakin sama Kepala Program Studi Pascasarjana hanya gara-gara menuntut hak untuk ngambil beasiswa di saat mereka ngga menyediakan informasi sama sekali tentang kondisi yang harus dipenuhi untuk ngambil beasiswa. Andai saja kualitas pendidikan disini baik (sama ITB aja masih kalah jauh). Andai saja fakultas punya kerjaan lain yang lebih penting daripada memperkarakan status Facebook temen saya yang nyentil renovasi lobi gedung dan orang-orang yang ikut nge-like dan komentar disitu, termasuk saya.

Terlambat dan telak. Kesan saya terhadap kota dan negara ini udah terlanjur jadi jelek banget gara-gara orang kampus. Ditambah pengalaman pergi kesana kemari disini yang seringkali ditipu supir taksi bikin saya jadi antipati banget sama semua hal disini. Saya ngga semangat menjelajah negara baru kaena sering ditipu, saya males bersosialisasi sama orang-orang lokal karena mereka tukang gosip dan pundungan. Yang pengen saya lakuin cuma dua: cepet-cepet beresin kuliah saya dan pergi dari sini.

Mungkin saya ketemu orang-orang yang salah, mungkin tinggal disini sebenarnya ngga seburuk yang saya pikirkan. Tapi sayangnya, kesan saya masih sama bahkan setelah 5 bulan tinggal disini.

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Study in Germany (Studi di Jerman)

This post will be bilingually-written in English and Bahasa Indonesia, to convince those seeking the opportunity studying abroad to choose Germany as their study destination. The information are mostly derived from personal experience, and various informative websites and blogs for some reality-check (the list is presented at the last part of the post).

I hope you find it useful!

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WHY GERMANY?

Free education for all! 

Starting from early October 2014, with the decision to overturn tuition and fees in Lower Saxony, Germany, all universities is now tuition-free (Forbes, 2014).  And not exclusively for Germans only, but also for immigrants coming from various countries. However, you should aware of these conditions:

  • For German-language programs, either bachelor, master or doctorate, minimum C1 proficiency in German language is a must to ensure that students can actively participate in the class (this is the part where students have to pay for their own). Students can register to a German-language institution either in home country or in Germany. Prior to enrolling in the university, international students applying for bachelor program in German language also have to enroll in Studienkolleg and pass the entrance test (Feststellungspruefung).
  • For International program taught in English, the TOEFL score is a more important requirement. Generally, you need 550 to be able to apply for international program in Germany. Proficiency in German language is not necessarily mandatory, but some programs required a certain minimum proficiency, probably more for the reason to help the students in their daily life. And this is IMPORTANT: some international programs are free while some are not. So, it’s necessary to check first whether your preferred programs is tuition-free or not. But, don’t worry, there are a lot of scholarships offered, for example from DAAD, or other education-supportive organizations like the Ministry of Education in your respective country.

Though it’s tuition-free, each semester the students still have to pay the contribution fee which costs vary in different states of Germany. I remember I paid around 230 Euro every semester. This contribution fee will benefit the students back since most of the money is used to pay the 6-months public transport pass (semester ticket). The remaining fee is used for administration and student organization activities.

Similar high quality in all universities

All universities in Germany possess equal high quality. Some universities may be more known to people because of the historical background or certain achievement in the past and recent years but all in all, they are similar in quality. The lecturers are also highly qualified. Most are professors or doctors with additional comprehensive experience in research, project work and even cooperation with institutions in developing countries (AGEP).

Naturally, the lecturers have their respective teaching style, but generally they are so open to input and feedback from students. Different from Asian culture where teachers are regarded more superior than the students, and students are expected to follow all the instructions without many protests, in Germany (and probably in other European countries as well) teachers are as equal as students. Students can easily talk to the lecturers and complain to them without hesitance if they encounter a poor quality of teaching (which are rarely the case, but I experienced some), because the lecturers are bound to maintain their high quality and improve even more.

Best European country for student

During my 1-year study in Germany, I happened to travel to some neighboring countries and be able to compare living expenses in every country. Without much thought, I was thinking to myself, Germany is really the best country for student. The price of stuffs and the quality it bears is undeniably the best. You can get many stuffs (for example food, student dorm, etc) with cheaper price but still with the best quality.

Returning Experts Programme

If you have completed a study or training, or employed at least two years in Germany and would like to return to your country of origin to take up career there, you can apply for financial support for travel and transport, salary topping up payments, internship allowance or workplace equipment from Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM). For further details about the requirement please refer to this site.

Reliable Transportation System

Despite the transportation workers’ strikes that often happened, Germany’s transportation system is still among the best I have ever experienced so far. Its excellency lies on the punctuality, safety, networks and cleanliness, whether it is in the train, bus or tram. And there are always interesting offers from Deutsche Bahn (DB), the main railway operator in Germany, to travel inside or outside Germany, during weekdays or weekends. For frequent travelers, you can apply for DB Bahn Card and get 25%, 50% or even unlimited travel chances by paying certain amount of Euro for membership.

WHY NORTH RHEIN-WESTPHALIA (NRW)?

NRW

Because North Rhine-Westphalia is the current emerging federal state and the most populous state out of the 16 federal states in Germany (around 17,5 million in 2013). It is located in the heart of Europe, in the plains of the Lower Rhine and share borders with the Netherlands and Belgium. Four among Germany’s ten biggest cities (Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund and Essen) are located here. You may also known some other cities like Aachen, Bonn, Bochum, Duisburg, Münster, etc, and yes, they are all in NRW, too. 

In the 1950s and 1960s, Westphalia was known as ‘Land von Kohle und Stahl’ or the land of coal and steel. After WWII, the Ruhr Region was one of the most important industrial regions in Europe (Wikipedia). The mining sector may have declining at the moment, but NRW is still home to large industrial corporations of world as well as dozens of smaller companies which are leaders in their respective business fields. It is the current economic center of Germany. In 2013 NRW earns EUR 599.8 billion, 21.9 % of the German GDP, putting it at the top of all German federal states, and also generates 4.6 % of the European GDP (EU-28). 16 of the 50 largest companies in Germany are based here, e.g. Bayer, Deutsche Post DHL, Deutsche Telekom, E.ON, Metro, Rewe, RWE, ThyssenKrupp. (NRW Invest, http://www.nrwinvest.com/NRW_at_a_glance/)

North Rhine-Westphalia is home to 14 universities and over 50 partly postgraduate colleges with a total of over 500,000 students in 2012 (Wikipedia). Let me tell you the biggest advantage for studying in NRW. All students will get a semester ticket, or student transportation pass which can be used to travel to all cities in NRW by public transportation modes!! That means you can go explore more of the Germany culture in NRW by visiting Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Essen, Aachen, Bonn, Bochum, Duisburg, Münster, etc for free! I feel like a Hogwarts students with the magic wand. One simple swish (to show the driver or controller my ticket) and I am able to go everywhere around the state without having to spend even one cent for transport. As far as I know, not all states in Germany has this similar policy, in many cases the semester ticket is only valid within the city area only. And you know what? I can even go to Netherlands for free using a direct train from Dortmund to the bordering cities, Enschede. Really exciting, huh?

Characteristics of NRW Cities (Source: http://www.humanempire.com/Nordrhein-Westfalen)

WHY DORTMUND?

The most prominent characteristic of Dortmund is of course, Borussia Dortmund (BVB)! The football team is part of a large membership-based sports club with 100,000 members,making BVB the third largest sports club by membership in Germany. Dortmund plays in the Bundesliga, the top tier of the German football league system, and it is one of the most successful clubs in German football history (Wikipedia).

During a year studying in Dortmund, there were considerable number of matches held in Signal Iduna Park Stadium located so close from my student dorm. I happened to witness the thrilling fanaticism that Borussia Dortmund fans are having for their beloved club. From children, to teenager, adults, grandparents, and the city itself are always so enthusiastic to support BVB with all their best efforts. The Borussia Museum and the fan shop of Borussia Dortmund is always crowded. Jersey, t-shirt, jacket and many other souvenirs are sold out easily. I need to struggle a lot to find a perfect shirts for my family and boyfriend.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t ever get the chances to watch a match of Borussia Dortmund during my stay in Germany, so I had not yet able to watch the interesting play of BVB and the enormous support from its supporters with my own eye in the stadium. But anyway, I can’t even stand being in a crowded place for too long, so I doubt that I can manage until the end.

The devotion of German people to football are unquestionably tremendous. I was there when Germany won the World Cup 2014 and heard people screaming during the matches and watched the celebratory fireworks. Again, I chose not to participate in mass-watching or mass-celebration, since it was Ramadhan and the matches time were always coincidentally collide as the ifthar or breaking the fast time.

A good news for football fans from all around the world! Deutsches Fussball Museum (DFB) or Germany’s Football Museum is currently being built in Dortmund since 2013. The construction will finish in 2015 and the museum itself is planned to open during summer next year. So, this is a must visit place for all people coming to Germany and Dortmund particularly. Don’t miss this out! (Too bad, I already move from there. Jeez, why do good things always happen after you leave the place?)

There are so many interesting places in Dortmund, like Phoenix See, Dortmunder U (an art museum which formerly a brewery), Dortmund Zoo, Florianturm, Operahaus, etc. You have to visit them as well.

Dortmunder U

Dortmunder U (Source: Private Documentation)

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Phoenix See, an artificial lake on the former steel works, Phoenix East in Dortmund district Horde. Named after the legendary bird, Phoenix, it symbolizes this area’s rebirth into a better livable one. (Source: Private Documentation)

WHY TU DORTMUND? 

When I applied for studying in Germany, I initially thought like this, that I don’t care wherever it is as long as it’s in Germany. But then, after I got accepted in Technische Universität (TU) Dortmund, I realized that I was so grateful to be able to study here. Aside from the mobility advantage for living in NRW, I also enjoyed many facilities from the university which makes my study easier here, such as:

  • H-Bahn (“Hängebahn”, or “hanging railway”), a suspended, driverless passenger suspension railway system. The system has been developed by Siemens. This H-Bahn connect north and south campus in only 3 minutes ride (by walking it takes 20-30 minutes). Really makes our mobility easier. I remember when I still lived around South campus and have to go to North Campus on the weekend, it was a torture since it’s not working at that time.
TU Dortmund H-Bahn (Source: Private Documentation)

TU Dortmund H-Bahn (Source: Private Documentation)

  • Uni-card. Well, it’s most probably like this in the whole Germany but i still find it very fascinating that you can put money on your Uni-card and pay for meals in the cafeteria or copy and print many things with a very cheap price. We can transfer some money from our ATM card to Uni-card using a specific machine. To borrow and return books in the library is also very easy since you just have to scan the barcode and then the system will automatically put the data in your Uni-card.
  • Free language course. Really, this is so exciting! I took 2 semesters German language course and also enrolled in Spanish class (but sadly, my schedule didn’t allow me to continue until the end). A girl in my Spanish class even enrolled in 4 different language classes, took advantage of this chance to learn languages for free to the fullest. However, of course it is taught in German, so it’s a challenge for me to learn Spanish in German since my ability in those 2 languages are still not enough.

Well, that’s basically it. There are a lot more reasons to study in Germany, NRW, Dortmund and TU Dortmund. Just browse for it and feel free to ask if you have any question, I’ll do my best to help you find the answer. And since I only lived in Germany for a year, please correct me if you find any inaccurate information.

Now, let me treat you to an interesting video from BBC about living in Germany, ‘Make Me a German’.

Enjoy! 🙂

Further information about studying in Germany can be checked in these websites:

The post version in Bahasa Indonesia will be updated soon.