Pengalaman Berpuasa Sebagai Mahasiswa di Inggris

Duh, judulnya panjang juga ya. Baiklah, langsung saja kalau begitu, pada post Selasa Indonesia kali ini saya ingin berbagi cerita pengalaman saya berpuasa sewaktu saya menjadi merantau di Inggris Raya sebagai mahasiswa. Kejadiannya sudah lumayan lama sih, tahun 2010 yang lalu.. yah semoga masih relevan 🙂

Continue reading “Pengalaman Berpuasa Sebagai Mahasiswa di Inggris”

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Gimana Cara Sekolah ke Luar Negeri?

Pertanyaan diatas sering sekali saya temukan di berbagai forum daring.

“gimana cara sekolah ke Amerika/Inggris/Australia?”
“gimana supaya diterima di Harvard/Oxford/Cambridge/MIT?”
“gimana supaya dapet beasiswa?”

Silakan diganti sendiri subjek nya, tapi kurang lebih pertanyaan nya sama.

Nah, kebetulan beberapa tahun terakhir sampai awal tahun ini saya cukup aktif di sebuah organisasi nirlaba yang bernama Indonesia Mengglobal. Sekarang sih status saya sudah alumni, tetapi sewaktu masih aktif, saya sering banget menemukan pertanyaan semacam diatas.

Continue reading “Gimana Cara Sekolah ke Luar Negeri?”

Days of Part-Time Job

This is the eighth 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.

As a broke student student with limited funding, I was challenged to work part – time during my time in the UK. My student visa allowed me to work maximum 20 hours per week part – time, so I began searching for a part – time job after I considered myself settled in, approximately soon after my second term started. I figured it was the perfect activity to actually immerse myself in student life. Okay I was being subtle, truth is I desperately needed the job because I spent all my money traveling throughout the UK on my Christmas break … hahaha :p

Continue reading “Days of Part-Time Job”

Life in Bournemouth

This is the seventh 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.

To be honest the first time I heard about Bournemouth was the first time I came across Bournemouth University’s MA Advertising and Marketing Communications program. I was doing an extensive research about master programs and universities and instantly got interested to the program. But.. I have never heard of the town before. So before deciding to choose the uni and ended up going there to study, I did a little research on the small town.

My initial search landed me to a beach image. I was then sold instantly. It has always been in my dream to be able to live nearby the beach! (Well… Jakarta has Ancol beach but that’s totally different. It probably takes me over 1,5 hours from my house to Ancol!). Long story short.. I chose to enrol myself in Bournemouth University’s MA Advertising and Marketing Communications program and lived in Bournemouth for a year.

So, what is it like to live in Bournemouth as an international student? 

First, you are not alone.  Bournemouth – thanks to its geographic location (a beach town so it’s really pretty, not too cold… and is relatively close to London), is a popular destination for students. In fact, based on my observation, most of the town’s residents are students and the elderly! Besides Bournemouth University, Arts University Bournemouth, and some colleges, Bournemouth is also home to some language schools so there are a lot of international students coming not only from Europe but Asian countries as well. The abundance of international students means you get to enjoy a very diverse environment… in simple words it’s very fun! 

Russian Food Night at my friend's dorm! How cool was that? :D
Russian Food Night at my friend’s dorm! How cool was that? 😀

Second, your friends are from all over the world.  Perhaps it’s just how the UK attract people from everywhere. But still related to point number one, In Bournemouth you got to meet people from various countries. By various I don’t mean “only” famous countries like France, Thailand, Germany.. but also from lesser-known African countries and even the Caribbean! I never thought that I would be friends with someone from Trinidad and Tobago – because at first I did not know where it’s located! but I did, and we remain friends until now. My classmates are from around 15 nationalities and I also met other friends from work or other activities with different nationalities. The experience was so eye-opening and it helped shaping the person I am today.

Me and my friends :)
Me and my friends 🙂

Third, you can enjoy beach life. Yes, Bournemouth beach is one of UK’s top 10 beaches according to this source. But trust me it is really pretty. The beach is not too far from the University so if you want, you can spend some time relaxing at the beach after your classes. I used to go to the beach almost every day after I work on the city centre just to chill and enjoy the scenery. I only went home when it’s dark and it’s getting too cold :p It’s so nice and refreshing to live nearby the beach!

My amateur photo.. taken during one of my "chill-out" session at the beach
My amateur photo.. taken during one of my “chill-out” session at the beach

Fourth, without you realising, you became an outdoor person. Well, since Bournemouth is a small town, and as a student I did not have a car, I was forced spent a lot of time walking or taking public transportation. And because the bus system was not as established as London’s.. there were times when I had to walk to get to places. It was during my walks I got to enjoy my surroundings and learned to appreciate the little things. Oh, and it was during my stay in Bournemouth I went on my first ever trekking/hiking trip!

pathway to uni

Fifth, don’t be surprised if you find yourself alone in the streets… Yep, again I need to emphasize that Bournemouth is a small town. Most shops close at 6 every day and they close on Sundays. Coming from  Jakarta, I found it hard to adapt at first. I missed the city lights, the hustle and bustle of a big city. But after a while, I began to enjoy the serenity and got used to life in a small town. Life was much more simple to me, less stressful despite the heavy assignment and part-time work. I guess that’s just the beauty of living in a small town 🙂

Empy town centre. I remember this was taken at around 8pm! :o
Empy town centre. I remember this was taken at around 8pm! 😮

The list can go on but I decided to stop at #5 this time 🙂 So there you go, my take on what is it like to live in Bournemouth as an international student. Did you study abroad? what was it like? 🙂

Around Dorset

This is the sixth 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.

How many of you know, or at least have heard about Dorset? Well I never heard about it until I set foot in England and learned that it’s a county where Bournemouth is at. To the world, Dorset may not be as famous as other places in England but while I lived there, I could not help but fall in love with the area, as turns out it has wonderful nature + tourist spots. Now, come and have a little tour around Dorset with me! 🙂

New Forest

To be honest I was not much of a nature person prior to living in England. Lucky me when I lived in Bournemouth there was not much to do (refer to this post to know why), except exploring the nature.

New Forest is a national park in South West England – a place widely known for its parkland and wildlife activities. There you can do all sorts of activities in the wild. For example, I took a walk with my friend and her host parents. You can also do horse riding, biking, camping, and there’s also a variety of attractions to see within the area.

New Forest is not far from Bournemouth at all, it’s only around 30 minutes drive from the town centre. So it’s easily accessible. Unfortunately since I went with my friends, I am not too aware of the public transportation to get there. But have a look at this page if you are interested to go!

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New Forest

 Swanage Beach

Swanage – a coastal town, is around 50 minutes drive from Bournemouth. It’s known for a weekend/holiday destination of people living in South of England (other than Bournemouth, of course hehe). It is home to Jurassic Coast which  I am going to explain just after this, and also a lovely beach.

Personally, Bournemouth beach is still better than Swanage. Hahaha. I might be biased… :p. Anyway the beach is still not bad at all! Plus there’s a variety of cute local shops next to the beach, something that Bournemouth Beach does not have.

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Swanage Beach
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Beach Shop at Swanage

Jurassic Coast

Now this is definitely one of the best places I’ve been in this world! Just look at the images first and I’ll tell you why…

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Durdle Door
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Jurassic Coast

 Jurrasic Coast is located very close to Swanage beach. In fact,  tours from Bournemouth usually involves going to bost places, plus Lulworth Cove and Corfe Castle (explained next) because they are located close to each other, all within an hour-ish drive from Bournemouth.

To get to the coast and see the amazing view (note that the pictures were taken with my pocket camera and using no filter – really pretty, right?!), you have to do a little bit of hiking. But, trust me, it’ll be worth it.

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On our way to see THE Jurassic Coast

Best time to visit will be in May-June because based on my experience that’s when you will get to have sunshine and can even jump into the water like myself! Not so much in late August/Early September because it can get very windy and foggy, like this picture, taken during my second visit in Early September (!!!)

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Very Foggy!

But then even during that kind of weather, my friends successfully dragged me to go on a hike all the way until the peak! That is, one of my greatest achievements so far hahaha. I was so scared because it was showering and the wind was very strong, but I managed to hiked up to the top. Yay me!

I hiked all the way to the top!

Lulworth Village and Lulworth Cove

Within the area of Jurassic Coat is Lulworth Village. It’s a small village with a cove that has a very clear water. I did not remember doing much there but it’s still very interesting to do a little bit of sightseeing and enjoy the atmosphere of British coastal village.

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Pretty building at Lulworth Village
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Lulworth Cove

 Corfe Castle

How often do you get to see a Castle? (remains, in this case). To me – I have never seen, yet been to one prior to living in England and that’s why I was so excited to go to Corfe Castle!

The castle is a survivor of the historic English Civil War and I wish I can tell you more about it but I’m lacking the historical knowledge. However, for ordinary tourist like me, the castle is still very magical and interesting to see.

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Corfe Castle

And Corfe Castle wraps up my tour around Dorset. Now you know why I love Bournemouth so much. Not only that I got to study, but also have the chance to go on day trips to amazing places during my holidays! 🙂

Challenge Accepted!

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? 🙂

Cheers,

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Me, looking very relieved as this picture was taken after I submit my final assignment 😀

It was my birthday and we were in the middle of nowhere..

This is the fourth 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. 

After dealing with homesickness, I started to love my new life as a student. Of course there were sleepless nights – those nights before the deadline of an assignment. But there were also other fun days, filled with the excitement of exploring a new place and making new friends from all over the world!

As we were approaching year end and the end of our first term, plans started to come up. Most of our European friends has made plans to come home for Christmas and New Year, basically leaving us Asians with no plans (yet). With a group of other Indonesians, I decided to plan a road trip throughout the UK during our term break/year end holiday. In between assignments deadline we began to build our plan – cities to go, places to visit, modes of transportation, budget, and all that. We also asked a group of friends to join us. In the end, there were 10 of us. 5 Indonesians, 2 Taiwanese, 1 Chinese, and 2 Thai. So fun! I had written the travel experience as a guest post in my friend Aggy’s blog and you can read it here.. what I haven’t shared there is the fact that I had my birthday during that trip! Yay!

We started the trip on the eve of Christmas. We decided to have a road trip and rented two cars for 10 of us. Our first destination was Bath – a small town up north of Bournemouth, less than 2 hours drive away. It was already dark when we arrived, and we were very much surprised to find out that the town was like a dead town! Our destination was the town centre but we saw almost no one on the streets. The shops were all closed, even though it’s only around 6PM. No restaurants nor pubs were open.. except a restaurant called Market, where we ended up having our Christmas Eve dinner!

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Christmas Eve dinner at Bath

After dinner, we spent some time wandering around Bath’s empty city centre, just having fun with each other because really, we felt like the town was ours! Hahaha. And then we left for our next destination, Bristol. Of course, everything was closed as well there. Being international students, we were not aware of the fact that during Christmas eve, British people tend to spend time at home and all shops would be closed. It will continue to be like that until Christmas day.. and then everything will start to go back normal on Boxing day which is the 26th of December. So yeah, we did not get to do much in Bristol except strolling around the empty town centre. We probably spent only a couple hours there before we left to our next destination… Liverpool!

It would normally take us around 3 hours from Bristol to Liverpool but somewhere along the way my friend in the other car called and asked to stop at the nearest motorway service areas. Because I was driving previously, I failed to realise that it was some time past midnight already, which meant it’s the 25th of December and I turned 23 already! That’s why I was so surprised when everyone gathered around me and sang me happy birthday. They gave me some nice presents as well 🙂

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Surprise!!!

It was definitely a moment to remember, It’s not every year I got to spend my birthday so far away from home, in the middle of nowhere, but surrounded with good friends and warm attention!

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With my birthday presents 🙂

After the quick birthday surprise, we continued our journey and reached Liverpool early in the morning. As predicted, everything was closed as well but we managed to find a Chinese Restaurant so we could have a nice dinner to celebrate Christmas and… my birthday. It was a very memorable day 🙂