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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.

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My Multicultural Family

Getting scholarship to study is just one blessing. Another great blessing I get is my new family, 17 international friends coming from all over the world: Germany, El Salvador, Chile, Colombia, Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Egypt, Philippines, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Iran. I have already felt like traveling the world with just meeting them everyday.

At first, of course it was so difficult to adjust to each other habit, way of talking, attitude, etc. 18 students come from 16 different countries and 4 different continents. Guess how lost we are on our first few months. Really, it was so tiring for me, especially because I don’t get most of what my friends saying. It is English but why is it so different?

Thankfully, as time goes by, we gradually adapt to everyone’s English by discussing a lot and sharpening our ears. There’s also Multicultural Training, which helps us to bond, and understand each other better. Through this training, I finally know that there is a cultural background to each of my friends’ prominent attitude. The trainer gave us several questions and we raised our hands if it fits our situation. One question that I remember clearly is:

“Do your culture teach you to keep the pain or complaint inside and be patient?”

Me and most friends from Asia and Africa raised our hands, but not with my Latin America’s friends. This explains a lot why most of the times, they always speak out their mind. I envy those friends, I’ve always been so timid, afraid of what people think about me if I said something. But anyway, I like all differences in my group. We are all so different and that is what makes it so interesting.

A while ago, I read an article which said that even though Indonesian people are well-known for their friendliness and hospitality, it is not entirely true. And from my experience here, that article was true. I just realized that after my friend said,

“You are friendly but you didn’t ask other ‘how are you?’ when you meet others.”

I was a little bit taken aback. Compared to my friends, I admit I am a little bit ignorant. Every time I went to class, I just say ‘Hi!’ and that’s it. Other friends show more care to others: greeting every morning with hugs or handshake, asking ‘how are you?’ and saying goodbye with hugs and handshake again. That’s the first reason.

The other reason, though generally presumed that people in Germany are cold, in every shops, every time you pay your stuffs, the cashier will give you the warmest greeting: ‘Halo!’, ‘Bye!’ and ‘Have a nice day!’ or ‘Have a nice weekend!’. Yes, they are so friendly. In Indonesia, we rarely greet each other in cashier. Interesting, isn’t it? From my observation when I’m traveling, people in neighboring countries don’t have this kind of habit, too.

Back to my multicultural family, my goal after graduating is to visit each of my friends in their countries: El Salvador, Chile, Colombia, Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Egypt, Philippines, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Iran. I will work hard collecting money to make it come true!

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The master of TOEFL- iBT

Whew, i’m on fire this weekend. I’ve written 2 posts already and now on my way to the 3rd one.

This time i’m gonna share my experience taking TOEFL iBT test. As you all know, there are some kinds of TOEFL test, such as paper based, computer based and the latest one, internet based. I’ve taken paper based TOEFL when I was in high school and computer based TOEFL in college. But for my master study particularly, I am required to take the internet based TOEFL.

The registration is done online on www.ets.org, choose TOEFL test section 》my TOEFL iBT account 》sign up 》test registration and orders. From here on you should fill the necessary information, such as name and address then choose a test date and place. Choosing a test place can be a little tricky, so i suggest you to at least know where it is a day before the test. If you are going to take iBT in Jakarta, i can provide you some perspectives since i’ve taken iBT 4 times in 3 different places. Kinda crazy, isn’t it? I’ve sacrificed 4 months salary for this.

After that you can choose 4 recipients of your test result, listed or unlisted recipients. 1 test result is automatically sent to your address. Listed recipient is an institution in collaboration with ETS and it has a numeric ID contains name and complete address. Unlisted is other institution or other personal address. But it was on 2012. My friend who took iBT in 2013 said that if you want to send your result to unlisted recipient, you have to email the ETS and ask for it. Also, for now you can only get less than 4 result papers. How lucky I was back then because one result paper costs you about $17.

About payment options, you can finish it with credit card or voucher (which you have to buy at a certain institution). Having to buy the voucher on workdays is kinda difficult to us who’s working full time at office so I suggest you pay with a credit card cause it is so much easier and faster. If you don’t have one, you can borrow your father’s or friends’. Online payment is safe and secure.

Now, about the test. iBT is a lot more comprehensive compared to your usual TOEFL test.

The first test is Reading. It is about a particular topic, such as astronomy, biology, art, history, etc. It is long and full of unknown vocabulary for me as i don’t learn even one of this topic. You’re gonna be tested mostly about your understanding on that passage. Each reading passage contains 10 multiple choice questions to answer. Don’t spend too much time on the 1st reading passage cause you still have 3 others to finish. Manage your time carefully.

The second test is Listening. If I’m not mistaken there are 6 conversation you should listen. The first two conversations is on personal topic. The rests are about the topics I mention above. Take notes on important information, it’ll be very useful when you’re answering the question.

Break time, then we’re moving on to Speaking test, the most frightening part for me. There are 6 questions and you have to form your response in about 15-45 seconds then speak to the machine in 15-60 seconds. It is exceptionally difficult, again, for me. It could be very easy for you who speak English actively. I am a planner and i always plan every words I spit out on important events (actually, being a planner has nothing to do with your way of speaking haha). And preparing response under pressure? I pretty much failed. I said too much ‘errr’ cause i’m also thinking at the same time i’m speaking.  Moreover, your test place environment really affects your confidence. I’m gonna share more about it later.

Finally, the last part! Writing! I’d better write than speak and doing it after the tense speaking session is such a relief. I am on my comfort zone while writing. You have to write 2 short essay. My tips here is to use your own words. don’t even think to use the exact same words from reading passage or conversation.  The other tips is use a pattern to write. You can google it but it’s pretty much contain the main statement on the first sentence, then supportive reason, example and restatement of first sentence.

After all it’s all about comprehensive understanding on your study material. This test is absolutely tiring but it indeed tests your whole brain and your ability to study. You read, listen then speak. You read, listen then write. It’s pretty much what you should do on your study. Academic.

Enough about the test. Let’s get going to my live report having to take iBT for 4 times in 3 different places. ETS should give me a platinum card member for doing that much tests in such a short span.

My first iBT is taken on 2011. At that time there was no test place available located near my home, so unwillingly I choose a place in Grogol, in some kind of private college. When I came in, I was so surprised. Boy, there were so many test takers (about 30-40 persons) yet the place was nothing close to my imagination. It was so dense and the distance between each test takers was so close i felt them on my comfort zone. What’s more surprising was our table was confined only with a cardboard. you could still see another test takers in direction of 11 and 1 o’clock and exchange look with them. And because each of us started differently, when a test taker beside me speaking, i was on my listening session. So, instead of listening to the test, i listened to him/her talking. Oh my God that was super disturbing! They said that your earphone was soundproof-ed enough but with that tiny distance, you could tell that there was no different in using a headphone or not. As if the situation couldn’t be much worse, on speaking part, they spoke so smooth and confident, but when i was speaking, they stared at me with a doubtful look! It was the worst test ever! I questioned ETS for the test place standard. I was going home with desperate feeling. There goes my $165 in vain.

2 weeks later i received the result. I got 88 which was quite good but my goals was 93 or above. I needed to get 93 asap so I register for another test the next month. I studied hard and was completely prepared. I was super serious this time. I didn’t wanna waste another salary of mine cause earning it was also a hard work.

This time i choose Salemba UI for my test place. One day before, i observed the place and could see nothing but I was so sure it would be better than the latter. And i wasn’t wrong. They only run the test for about 20 people and each test takers got their own cubicle, which was perfect for me. The distance was adequate, I like it. i was so confident that time. I finished my test quickly and i went home with optimistic feeling.

Instead having my result on the 14th day after the test, on the 13th days i received an email saying that they didn’t hear any words i’m saying on my speaking session so they couldn’t assess it. Meaning, i have to retake the whole test. How come? The microphone test went well. I was so shocked! I thought everything was going very well. God, why was this happening to me. This way, i also couldn’t send my TOEFL result timely to the university. I was so upset, the fact that they gave me a voucher to retake the test couldn’t even lift my mood.

I didn’t take another test until a few months later. I had to submit the score to university and I was afraid the voucher would expired soon. This time i was not preparing anything. What’s gonna happened i would let it happened. i lost my trust to this test place. I didn’t wanna get another disappointment.

And as expected, I had a problem while doing the microphone test. I was anxious so I asked for help from the standby-ing staff to make sure it worked well. The test went pretty rough but i didn’t wanna think about it. 2 weeks later i received email with 91 score. Again, i was shocked. But it still wasn’t enough. I needed 2 more points!

So i decided to take another test. For this 4th time I choose Plaza Sentral in Sudirman. The test place was so crowded, there were about 90 test takers. Whew. Each test takers got their own cubicle but the distance between was still so close like my 1st test place. Some of them competed in term whose voice was much louder so they could avenge each other for disturbing each other. I went home in blank mind but at the 14th days after the test, i received 100! Now that is a suitable score for my struggle.

Have you learned enough from my experience? Plan your test carefully and don’t forget to prepare your best state: physically and mentally.

To help you get the hang of iBT, I’m gonna share some helpful e-book. I hope it will be useful.

Good luck, I wish you all success and get a really high score 🙂

5

Journey to finally abroad

I graduated in April 2010 and since then I’ve been working in a government institution until now. During my college study, I took a German language course for 2 years and had grown more interest to Germany, especially the opportunity to study here. After working for about 1,5 year, I applied for DAAD Master’s Scholarship in Public Policy and Good Governance Program. I was very confident that I will get the scholarship back then because I thought I’ve fulfilled all the requirement and moreover, I had taken the language course which I think very substantial for my study there. The university had contacted me too to send all necessary documents and I believed that was a good sign.

But then on 2011, I received a news that I failed. I was down and suddenly lost interest in Germany. Like a broken-hearted girl, I searched for another chance in another country, hoping they would see me better and accepted me for who I am.

I looked for a chance to study in Netherlands. The system was quite different here. You should apply to the university first, then after you get admitted, you can apply for the scholarship. I found that the Master Program of Sustainable Development in Utrecht University was interesting so I applied and get admitted but it was right when all the scholarships were closed. So, I asked the university for an admission letter which valid until next year so I was able to at least apply for one scholarship. I have to admit that the management in Netherlands universities are very professional, kind and helpful. They respond your email quickly and help you with whatever you needed.

There are a few option of scholarship I could apply, such as Huygens, NFP and any other. But Huygens scholarship was terminated for study year 2012/2013 and later on so I just applied for NFP, whose all mechanism was done online so it simplified the process and put me on ease. I searched for another scholarship such as STUNED but I was told at the education fair that it was for the official government staff only (later, I find out that STUNED is open for everyone -___-). So, I didn’t wanna waste my time applying for a scholarship which I don’t have any success chance in it. But I was so sure that I’m gonna get it, because i felt that the time was so right for everything.

But you’ll never what what God has planned for you. I got an email telling me I failed the selection for NFP. Meaning, I had to postpone my study plan, ask for another admission letter valid until next year and search for another scholarship or re-applying NFP. But I realized that I had already asked them for admission letter valid until next year and it meant I would asked for 2 year postponement. Very likely that I would have to re-applying. So I made the decision to cancel my study at Utrecht University. It was not easy for me to take that decision but having imagined that I would have to re-applying the scholarship, i’d better try my luck on another scholarship.

Knowing that I won’t be going anywhere yet on 2012, I was determined to go all-out applying whatever scholarships opening on 2012 so that I could go on 2013. I was quite weary and needed a break from work. A kind of weariness that wouldn’t be solved even by vacation or taking some days off from work. I needed to refresh my mind, retrieve new knowledge and be on a new environment. So, on 2012, I applied for 4 scholarships. They were DAAD Master Scholarship for Public Policy and Good Governance -PPGG(i’ve recovered my broken heart), DAAD Postgraduate Course with Relevance to Developing Countries – PCDC, ADS and Chevening Scholarship.

I’ve heard nothing from PPGG, the selection procedure was kinda mysterious, not like 2 years ago when I applied for the first time. The only progress I’ve heard was my friend being called for an interview (and I didn’t), so I was pretty sure I had a very small chance of success.

Next was PCDC. My first choice was SPRING-TU Dortmund and the second one was TU Berlin. The news about my application came kinda late but thankfully it was a good news. The SPRING Program asked me to send the necessary documents and after about a month, they informed me that I was one of the top candidate and they wanted to have phone interview with me. I was so happy, I am one step closer to my study. And the interview went quite well,too, even though I wasn’t that confident about my answers. (By the way, I failed my second choice)

While waiting for the result, i got an email telling me that I failed ADS. Ookaayy..

Then I got an email telling me that I was accepted in SPRING Program – TU Dortmund for 2013/2014. Alhamdulillah, I was so excited but still feeling anxious. How about the scholarship? The DAAD officer told me that my admission didn’t automatically mean I got the scholarship. I have to wait for the DAAD to inform me directly. For about a few weeks my life was restless. Then the long-awaited email was coming, I got the scholarship, too!! Waaaa, Alhamdulillah!! Finally, i will be able to go to Germany! Now i can breathe easily. I am scheduled to leave in late August 2013 so I have a few months to prepare.

At this happy time, Chevening emailed my unsuccessful application. Mm, it’s okay.

On late April 2013, I got an invitation to a DAAD gathering for all the scholarship holders. It was opened with a public lecture from Prof. Julia Schehe whose research was about ‘santet’ and ‘per-dukun-an’ in Indonesia (the complete research title is Popular Religiousity and Magical Economy in Java). I was surprised, it seemed trivial fo us yet she found this a very interesting topic and she also got some interesting findings. The appreciation was so great and I really enjoyed this new knowledge. At the closing, the DAAD Director even told us to not hesitate sharing any knowledge we had. It kinda motivated me somehow 🙂

And it disenchants me. The foreigner’s appreciaton to knowledge is very admirable. They are so open-minded and this kind of attitude encourages another research and reveals another knowledge. This is an amazing chain! Indonesians should learn this attitude to be equal with other developed countries. So many brilliant people in Indonesia but their knowledge hasn’t quite appreciated here. There are also many examples of highly educated people but their attitude isn’t quite suitable with their high degree so sometimes people seeing them skeptically. We need to develop the positive attitude towards knowledge.

Back to the event, I get to know all scholarship holders from my batch and they are all so friendly and enthusiastic. We immediately bond and make a group chat. Turned out, they are all gonna leave in June and July 2013, and they have to finished the german language course online. I don’t get the course because my program is sandwich. my first year is in Germany and the second year will be in a developing country. I feel so relaxed while my friends are anxious but then I realize, I shouldn’t feel relaxed!

Unlike the ADS scholarship holders who get academic-writing training, I have to prepare my own self in my own way. I can’t waste my first few months there learning how to write an essay, it’s such a waste of my study time. Having a scholarship doesn’t mean I am now settled. This is the start of another adventure and moreover, another hard work. I have to give it my absolute best!

Considering my bachelor study and my master degree are both in spatial planning field, the course won’t be that different. But studying abroad for sure offer you a different point of view, abundant comparation from another countries and new insights on how to solve a problem. I am so grateful that I get this opportunity.

I will resign on June and be at home for 2 months before i leave for 2 years. I have been away from home for too long. I miss my family and I need spiritual recharge. I also need to learn academic writing without distraction. Please wish me success and luck! 🙂

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languages

I’m always interested in learning some foreign languages.

I have been learning English since elementary school (I bet you do, too) but still didn’t get enough of it.

I know Grammar better than I was, I can write well enough, I understand more sentences, I hear people talking in foreign films clearly enough, but still i can’t speak fluent enough.

I had been learning Deutsch (Germany) since 2007 in Goethe Institut Bandung and I did better in it than how I’ve been in English. I could speak well enough.

But I have to stopped learning it because there wasn’t any class for me (the higher is your level, the fewer is the people that will continue learning it).

Aaaah, what a shame! I actually have a plan to get my master degree in Germany.

And now, I’ve started to learn some other languages. Japanese and maybe France for later 🙂

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sedikit lagi!

–Wah, udah lama ga ngeblog 😀

Lima hari menuju sidang (Yang sudah sejak setahun lalu mulai saya kerjakan dan saya idam-idamkan untuk cepet beres, tapi mundur terus, haha..). Anehnya, saya belum ngerasa deg-degan sama sekali. Ga tau gara-gara ppt-nya udah jadi (walaupun masih baru latihan 1 kali), 5 hari masih cukup lama, atau gara2 sudah ber-positive thinking soal pengujinya *moga-moga aja positive thinkingnya bener.

Nurutin saran Papa yang bilang kalo saya harus tanya-tanya sama temen-temen yang udah lulus sidangnya ditanyain apa aja, akhirnya saya tanya salah satu temen saya yang baru kemaren lulus sidang. Di jurusan saya, mahasiswa bisa kapan aja masukin draft untuk sidang, asal masih sesuai dengan jadwal yang dikasi TU. Sidangnya ada 2, Sidang Pembahasan (SP) dan Sidang Ujian (SU). Biasanya, pertama kali itu kita ngajuinnya Sidang Pembahasan. Kalau misal draft kita dan presentasinya udah cukup bagus, bisa aja SP ini di-upgrade jadi SU. Kalau masih banyak revisinya, harus dibenerin dulu, baru bisa sidang lagi, namanya SU.

Temen saya kemaren diharuskan 2x sidang sama pembimbingnya. Jadi pertama dia cerita sama saya gimana SP itu. Katanya, waktu SP biasanya dosennya masih baik-baik, nanya yang cuma ada di draft atau presentasi kita. Nah, kalo SU, beliau-beliau ini mulai agak sedikit galak dan nanya sesukanya, kadang yang jauh dari topik. Saya langsung panik, latar belakang studi saya banyak dari UU tapi saya akuin saya ga baca satu-satu karena itu UU, haha..

Tapi overall, saya cukup pede dengan TA saya ini. Bisa dibilang ini proyek idealis dan perfeksionis saya sebagai mahasiswa. Topik besarnya saya pikirin sendiri (walaupun kemudian diarahkan ke satu fokus sama pembimbing). Manfaatnya juga bener-bener saya pikirin (saya lebih suka mengerjakan sesuatu yang hasilnya bisa lebih mudah dilihat atau dipraktekin).  Saya ngobrol banyak dengan orang-orang yang punya pandangan berbeda mengenai suatu hal. Saya banyak kenal orang-orang yang punya dedikasi buat pembangunan daerahnya. Saya belajar banyak dan semoga aja hasilnya juga bermanfaat.

Tinggal latihan presentasi, baca-baca lagi, berdoa dan minta doa 🙂

Abis lulus ngapain ya? Saya penasaran sama dunia kerja. Temen-temen saya yang udah pada kerja sih bilangnya “Enakan kuliaaaah. Kerja capeek.” But working is (for sure) a consequence for growing up. Saya ga tau saya ngerasa excited atau gimana ntar, hehe.. tapi yang jelas, kita emang harus move on terus.

Saya pengen kerja di UNDP atau BAPPENAS. Ada divisi yang menurut saya cocok dengan interest saya di bidang regional development atau community development. Nanti kalo udah kerja 2 tahun, mungkin saya mau apply beasiswa DAAD ke Jerman. Hihihi, sampai sekarang sih masih mimpi-mimpi aja, ga tau ntar kalo udah lulus dan kenyataan ternyata tidak mendukung saya untuk tetep idealis seperti waktu jadi mahasiswa kaya gini 😀

Everything has been figured out, except how to live.

So, live your life to the fullest 🙂

5

my last

hari rabu kemaren (27 Mei 2009) adalah hari terakhir ujian semester 8 buat saya dan banyak temen seangkatan. beberapa dari temen seangkatan saya yang laen masih ada ujian hari kamis jumat atau seninnya, mata kuliah pilihan masing-masing. abis gini berarti tinggal beresin TA trus lulus. wew..

hari rabu itu, kami ujian Perencanaan Perdesaan.

beda sama temen2 saya yang sukanya dateng awal kalo mau ujian, (dengan beberapa tujuan tentunya -mulai dari fenomena ‘posisi menentukan prestasi’, nyari kisi2 soal sampai dengan niat belajar bareng sama temen2 laen-), saya merupakan tipikal mahasiswa yang last minute to come. biasanya begitu soal udah dibagi saya baru dateng atau baru duduk beberapa menit pengawas dateng. bukan saya ngerasa udah pinter makanya dateng telat tapi saya paling ga bisa belajar bareng, susah konsennya. banyak gangguan. begitu gabung sama temen2 di kelas menjelang ujian, informasi baru yang baru saya tau beberapa menit sebelum ujian itu suka ga bisa masuk lagi ke otak, huhuhu.. *antara miris dan menertawakan diri sendiri*

that’s why, kalo ujian, seringnya saya dapet tempat duduk depan. ya gimana lagii, yang kesisa cuma depan, hehe.. tapi bagus deh, jadi ga ada yang manggil2 kalo ujian udah mulai (dengan berbagai tujuan tentunya -mulai dari minjem tip ex sampe minta jawaban-).  saya orangnya termasuk pelit, ogah bagi2 jawaban walaupun salah juga, hahaha.. kecuali kalo lagi baek, mungkin bisa saya kasi dikit, tapi itu juga cuma clues aja, wkwkwk..

mungkin mahasiswa-mahasiswa seperti saya ini yang bisa dijadikan basis massa pendukung Kampanye UTS/UAS Bersih di kampus. yang ga pinter2 amat tapi pede sama jawaban sendiri, hihihi.. gimanapun caranya, nyontek emang ga bagus. ujian itu tes kemampuan sendiri, bukan kemampuan bersama *buset, sok iye banget ye* mm, ada bagusnya juga pelit kalo dalam hal ginian.

balik ke UAS Perencanaan Perdesaan. begitu saya dateng, duduk di bangku kosong di depan, Bu Wati (Staf TU), lagi bagi-bagi soal di belakang. sambil nunggu soal, saya ngelirik2 dikit ke soal yang udah dipegang temen sebelah saya, elin. woh, soalnya tipe benar-salah!! arghh, i hate it!! suka menjebak si kata-katanya, ga suka! kayanya banyak juga tuh, buseet.

begitu soal udah di tangan, mm, ko kayanya agak banyak ya lembarannya?? ternyata eh ternyata sodara sodari, ada 4 lembar dengan 5 tipe soal yang beda. i was shocked. mm, tapi gpp deh, ujian terakhir bukan esai-esai seperti biasa, bosen, dan itu malah lebih bikin shock and down. gimana ngga, udah mah tulisannya pada gede-gede, panjang-panjang, banyak-banyak, baru 45 menit ujian berlangsung, udah pada minta kertas folio tambahan coba!! gimana mahasiswa-mahasiswa seperti saya, yang tulisannya kecil-kecil, pendek-pendek, dan dikit-dikit, ngga terpukul *mahasiswa2 PL seperti ini patut dilestarikan, haha*.

jurusan saya memang terkenal sesuai namanya, PL (Panjang Lebar). udah terkenal seantero ITB kalo mahasiswanya pada jago ngomong dan kalo ujian jawabannya panjang lebar. ya gimana yaa, IPSnya ITB. “jangan sampe terjebak rimba kata-kata”, nasihat dosen saya dulu, haha.. ada baeknya ada nggaknya. jangan sampe lebih banyak nggaknya.

soal tipe 1 : 30 soal benar-salah *ajegile!!*

soal tipe 2 : 11 soal pilihan ganda

soal tipe 3 : 6 soal isian dengan sub a, b, c

soal tipe 4 : 1 soal ngelengkapi bagan

soal tipe 5 : 2 soal esai singkat (tempat jawabannya udah dikotakin, biar ngga PL)

woooow, komprehensif!! jarang2 si bapak bikin soal segininya. waktu minggu terakhir kuliah, doesnnya emang bilang si kalo soalnya bakal diambil dari kuliah, presentasi paper sama soal-soal yang dibikin sendiri sama mahasiswanya. tapi ga nyangka aja bakal segininya. once in a lifetime.

waduuuh, susaaaah!! mana nilainya pake sistem minus lagi! benar 4, salah -2, ga diisi 0. arghh!! mm, calm down mia, just do it! mm, integrated rural development. mm, spesialisasi perdesaan. mm, konsep agropolitan Indonesia. mm, involusi pertanian.

begitu sampe di satu soal. “PP 1972??  syarat Pembentukan Desa?? who the heck is making this question??!!ngaku!!” saya yakin dengan seyakin2nya ini soal pasti bikinan mahasiswa, teman seangkatan saya sendiri!! huh!! abis ga ada dimana2 di semua bahan-bahan belajarnya!! pikiran saya langsung tertuju ke satu nama. off the record ah, haha.. otak saya tidak kalah pintar, langsung mengarang bebas dengan jawaban : berkontribusi terhadap peningkatan kesejahteraan masyarakat, mendorong kemandirian warga, dan pemenuhan kebutuhan pelayanan sosial. tiap jawaban bener 2 nih nilainya. smoga ada yang nyangkut satu lah seenggaknya.

Bu Wati keluar sebentar.

“mi, mi”, ari yang duduk di sebelah tiba-tiba manggil.

“mm??”, ari pinter ni, ngapain yak manggil-manggil?

“air mengalir darimana yah?”

oooh, dia nanya jawaban soal esai nomer 1. kalo mau agribisnis yang harus dipikirin mana dulu, hilir (pemasaran, target pasar) atau hulu (produksi)??

“hilir, hilir”, dengan wajah pede sambil senyam-senyum jumawa.

“oh, hilir ya”

Bu Wati masuk.

Bu Wati keluar lagi.

“mi, air mengalir dari hilir ke hulu??”

“iya ri, hilir” ko nanya lagi sih ari ini??

satu jam lewat, 95% beres. waaah, ini ujian terakhir saya sebagai mahasiswa. pandangan saya lalu menerawang ke setiap sudut kelas yang dari tahun pertama kuliah sudah menjadi ruang kuliah biasa kami (kelas NIM ganjil). senyum-senyum. one day, i’ll miss this. mau disini dulu sampe waktu ujian abis ah. merenung.

ealaaaah, masi 15 menit lagi. dan waktu berjalan amat lambat. saya orangnya ga sabaran. akhirnya setelah memutuskan untuk mengosongkan jawaban soal yang saya ga tau sama sekali (clue pun tak punya), saya keluar aja deh. ah, gagal deh rencananya.

begitu keluar, saya celingak-celinguk, bingung, ga ada sapa-sapa di luar. yang udah keluar tadi udah pada ga ada. ngapain yaa, bingung, nganggur si. setelah mondar-mandir selama 15 menit, akhirnya saya memutuskan mau maen sendiri. ih ga asik banget maen sendiri. waktu lagi jalan ke luar kampus, ada yang manggil, kiki!!

“mau kemana ki?”

“ga tau”

“maen yuk, beli ciskek, ke toko buku”

“eh, hayukk!!” kiki antusias.

aseeek, ada temen maen!! akhirnya hari itu, kami berdua merayakan hari terakhir ujian kami dengan maen ke toko buku, makan waffle, dan beli ciskek, haha.. *wafflenya enak!!* fyi, kiki sebenernya besok masi ada ujian perencanaan pesisir, tapi karena open book and open everything (termasuk laptop), makanya dia anggap ujian sudah berakhir, hahaha..

pas lagi di angkot, mau ke toko buku, tiba-tiba ada sms masuk.

Doktor. PL.05. ooh, ari. kenapa yah? *saya namain gini di phonebook soalnya inget jaman bom bali dulu, doktor azahari, hehe*

“miooooong, air mengalir dari hulu ke hilir. -_-”

hah?? apaan si?? sms yang aneh.

tapi bingung. dan penasaran. akhirnya sambil baca sms itu berulang kali lagi, saya mikir lagi.

oh, ya ampuun!! tadi tuh ternyata ari bener-bener tanya air mengalir darimana!! bukan minta jawaban!! sumpah pede abis gw!!

maap ari -_-

“an end is the beginning of something new and fun hopefully!! :)”