School Update!

I’m at my second term in school and I’m loving my classes so far. I know I promised some of you to write about my school life so this post is a bit overdue, but anyway here it is! 🙂

So this term I’m taking 4 classes. Three of them are within my Digital Marketing certificate program, and one is actually from a Sustainability certificate program. This is by far the most stressful quarter because everything I’m learning about is new to me. It’s exciting, but at times I found myself putting too much pressure over a 5 points assignment, so yeah.

I love my Sustainability class although I wish I took it in class instead of online, I’m pretty sure I would have learned a lot more if I could get a chance to interact with my classmates and lecturer in real time. Well this is my second online class but I think it just made me realize that I prefer in-class teaching instead of online, although I can say that I’m digitally savvy but still.. nothing beats the classroom experience hehe. Anyway the Sustainability class that I’m taking is called “Global Business Practices in Sustainability” and the title is pretty self-explanatory, I love how I am able to learn about doing business sustainably and learn best practices from well-known companies. My interest in Sustainability kept me going although I found myself overwhelmed at times, learning about those new terminologies outside of my Marketing world. But hey, one’s gotta keep learning!

I’m also taking a Digital Marketing class, Social Media Marketing class, and a Personal Branding + Influencer class. I actually just finished the latter; it was only a 5 week class but was very insightful and inspiring to say the least.

So the Personal Branding class was about how we need to develop our personal brand, how to become an influencer, and if you are on the marketing side – how to manage one. It’s interesting to see how Influencer Marketing in practice here in the US because the lecturers are practitioners and they also brought in several guest speakers, including an actual fashion influencer who spoke to us about the hard work behind all those flashy insta pictures. However, what’s most inspiring to me is that the class also taught me to reassess my own personal brand – not that I’m planning to become an influencer, but for future career and basically in order to get to know myself better. The activities and assignments helped me to reflect and as a result I now have a better understanding of my own personal brand – something that is considered a necessity today, especially since I’m planning to rebuild a career in Marketing after finishing the certificate program.

Me and the lecturers of my Personal Branding class, taken on the last day of class

Phew! That sounds like a lot, isn’t it? Hehehehe.. don’t worry I’m having fun and I have to say that going back to school even after 10 years of graduating is still exciting and if anything it’s more exciting than my previous degrees because at this point of life, I have a better understanding of what I want and what my interests are 🙂

Anyway, I hope all is well with you and I’ll see you in the next post.. thanks for reading! ❤

Suka Duka Tugas Kelompok

Sebagai anak kuliahan tentunya saya ketemu lagi sama yang namanya tugas kelompok. Apalagi program kuliah saya lebih fokus pada praktek dibanding teori jadilah semakin banyak tugas, termasuk kelompok.

Nah, tugas kelompok ini ternyata banyak suka duka nya dan rasanya kok saya baru berasa banget sekarang ini ya. Sungguh, mungkin udah kelamaan nggak sekolah tapi rasanya dulu – dulu kok nggak pernah mengalami dinamika tugas kelompok seperti sekarang ini?! Hehe..

Tugas kelompok ini rasanya benar – benar kayak ikut undian. Nggak ada yang tahu gimana hasilnya. Kalau beruntung, dapat kelompok yang enak banget dan lancar banget kerjanya. Kayak kelompok A saya (kita sebut aja begitu). Anggotanya 3 orang, dan hampir 3 bulan kami kerja bareng, nggak pernah ada masalah. Pernah saya agak beda pendapat sama mereka berdua, tapi saya anggap nggak penting lah jadi saya ngikut aja, eh hasilnya dapat A, berarti emang saya yang kurang paham kan konsepnya 😛 Kami juga pernah kerjain tugas bareng di cafe pinggir pantai yang dilanjut dengan happy hour hari Jumat malam.. seru ya :D. Pokoknya, kelompok yang ini oke banget deh!

Tapi saya pernah juga dapat kelompok, kita sebut aja kelompok B, yang semuanya diaaam seribu bahasa. Untungnya waktu kami kerja bareng cuma 1x kelas, proyeknya pun nggak punya bobot nilai yang besar. Aduh tapi kelompok ini, nggak ada yang mau inisiatif, masing – masing anggota kayaknya sibuk sendiri, alhasil saya yang musti mengarahkan diskusi kelompok untuk cari ide. Parahnya lagi 1 anggota nggak datang di waktu hari presentasi, tebak dong siapa yang ambil alih…?

Ada lagi kelompok yang semuanya mau ngomong. Nah kelompok C ini juga bikin pusing. Pernah kami menghabiskan waktu 20 menit cuma untuk muter – muter bahas sesuatu yang ujung – ujung nya nggak ada kesimpulan dan nggak jadi dipakai di dalam presentasi. Walaupun orang – orangnya baik dan nggak nyebelin, tapi entah kenapa kalau diskusi tuh kok rasanya pola pikir kami nggak nyambung semua ya… jadi seringkali capek muter – muter bahas sesuatu dan susah banget untuk menyamakan persepsi dan frekuensi. Haduh!

Ngomong- ngomong, nggak berasa deh, saya sudah berada di penghujung semester pertama program sertifikat saya ini. Baru mulai sih, belum ada setengah jalan. Sejauh ini saya suka banget kuliahnya, walaupun masih sering capek karena ternyata kuliah sebagai istri di umur 30an tuh beda banget yaa sama kuliah waktu masih lajang … hahahaha, badan rasanya capek mulu berbagi tugas antara kuliah dan mengurus rumah tangga. Walaupun sebenernya saya punya tanggung jawab yang sama dengan R dalam hal rumah tangga, tapi tetep aja sejak kuliah ini saya sering berasa capek banget… padahal dulu kuat kuat aja tuh kuliah, kerja part time dan siaran radio pas di Inggris! 😛 emang namanya umur nggak bisa boong deh 😉 Nanti kapan – kapan saya ceritain lebih lanjut deh tentang hal ini.

Thanks for reading and have a good weekend! 🙂

Back to School

I always knew that I would go back to school but I didn’t know when and where (and how, for that matter!). I had planned to go back to school since I first moved here but unfortunately that plan did not happen until … last week!

I won’t go into detail but what happened was miraculous in my dictionary and before I knew it I was able to start school last week! Hoorah! I am now enrolled in a digital marketing certificate program at UCLA Extension. I should be able to finish this program in the next 9 months or more, it really depends on the courses I will take and the route I will choose.

For now, I am taking 3 classes this term and 1 of them is an online class. This is my first ever online class – and I found it very interesting. Well I’ve taken some Coursera classes before but this is nothing like that because there are live seminar sessions in which we can hear the lecture and also participate in class discussion through an online chat room.

As for the other two classes, so far they are as interesting. One caught me off guard because I did not think that I would need to write a final paper as part of the requirements to pass the class. I mean, the last time I wrote an academic paper was…. 10 years ago? 😀

Anyway, I can’t say much for now because, well, it’s just the first week, but surely I will share more about this journey! I’m excited to learn, meet new people, and share experiences! All of this still feels surreal because up until last week I really have no slightest clue that I would be starting school… oh well, here I am now and I better get back to my online learning platform to read materials for my second week. Ah, student life…

Taken in front of Royce Hall – where UCLA graduation ceremonies are held

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? 🙂

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,

christabercerita.wordpress.com
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 🙂