This is the fifth post in the “Christa in the UK” series – stories from the year 2009 and 2010 during my time living, studying, working and traveling in a small beach town called Bournemouth in South West England.
I still remember my very first “Strategic Marketing and Branding” class at Bournemouth University. We were put in groups of 4 and had to discuss about the future of TV. I was the only Indonesian in my class and also the only Asian in that small group. As much as I was very eager to learn and keen to succeed, I was confused. I did not know what to contribute to the group’s discussion. I thought I am outspoken enough as a person, but at that moment I felt afraid to say a word. My group mates were European students, they appeared much more experienced and more confident.
Of course they were more experienced, at least about the subject we were discussing. Back then in Indonesia TV was still the biggest media. It was still growing in Indonesia, yet in that warm classroom we were discussing about what is next after TV, how can TV survive the future in Europe. They are Europeans, so they must know what was being talked about. They were able to express their opinions and contribute to the discussion. Me? I was struggling to speak, I felt shy, I felt incompetent.
At the end of the session, I finally managed to express my confusion to my group. I was able to explain the situation in Indonesia, where I came from. I managed to overcome my struggle, but I have to admit that it was quite a rough start to my journey in getting a masters degree.
You see, going abroad obviously is very challenging. Behind the glitters of actually living abroad, there’s the learning process, which was very much different to what I experienced back home. It can be daunting, it can be stressful – Oops, don’t be discouraged though, it will be very rewarding in the end, you just got to go through it! 🙂
How to succeed, then? I think, the key is having a careful preparation. Prepare as early as possible – by preparation I mean everything! Prepare to live in a different culture, prepare to study in a different learning environment, prepare to be homesick too, hehehe. Like I mentioned in this post, going to study abroad needs a lot of preparation. I consider myself lucky because I was able to adapt to the “foreign” environment quite smoothly. But still, now you know that I had my challenges. It was hard, but I managed. I wish I had more help though…
Btw, not long ago I had the opportunity to meet with EF‘s country manager in Jakarta. EF may be familiar to some of you for its language schools. But little did I know that EF also means Education First, a worldwide organisation which offers various study programs in many countries (They also run an English program in Bournemouth! 😀). What interests me is that they have a University Preparation program which can help future students to prepare before going to study abroad.
Of course there are also other sources of help, but I think the kind of programs that EF offer would be very much helpful in helping you to adapt – not only to the culture, but most importantly, the learning environment. Because at the end of the day, we all wish to be successful in our education, right? 🙂