What it takes to go beyond

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Many Indonesian students studying overseas decide to go back for good once they’ve completed their Bachelor Degree. I was one of them. I graduated with Bachelor of Commerce from University of Melbourne in December 2012. I was planning to go back for good, either to work for my parents or to find a decent job back in Indonesia. Nevertheless, I did not have the heart to leave Melbourne yet.

During the last couple of weeks before my last semester ends, I was thinking of what should I do so that I can still be here. I obviously could start applying for jobs, but it was a long shot for someone who does not have a Permanent Resident (PR) in Australia. Then it came into my mind to pursue further study. I thought to myself, “Doing a Master Degree was not a bad idea! I need to have a good reason to stay here and studying for Master is actually a solid plan.”

However, the application process was not a smooth journey. I had no idea what I wanted to do, which courses I wanted to take, and even what courses that I’d like to take. Another thing that I’ve considered is the further burden that my parents need to bear in order to pay for my crazy tuition fee. (In case you don’t know, International students pay four times more than local students). I was not even sure that the investments my parents put for my Bachelor Degree was going to yield positive return sometime in the future, let alone asking them to support me for another degree!

That said, I decided to play with my chances. I applied for several courses at University of Melbourne that I was interested in during my exam period last semester without telling my parents. My plan was to request for a scholarship and if I received one, I would let them know and used it for some kind of leverage so that my parents would allow me to pursue Master Degree. I wrote a request for a scholarship opportunity in every single of Statement of Intent Letter in my application form. I listed out my skills and capabilities, my experiences of what I think it takes to become a Master student, and my promise and commitment that I will not fail University of Melbourne if they decide to give me the scholarship.

Days went by, I got several conditional offer letters with no scholarship attached in it. My families were coming soon to attend my graduation and they still have no clue that I applied for Master. Five days before my graduation, I received an offer letter from Master of International Business and a congratulation that I have been selected as a recipient of International Student Graduate Merit Scholarship. I am entitled to 50% fee remission for 1.5 years of my course. I was thrilled as I did not expect that at all.

So here I am, studying on my second semester of Master of International Business at University of Melbourne. I guess the take away point from my story is if you really want something, make it happen! You will not know how much your effort will be appreciated from others’ perspectives. There were no person in the whole world that told me you should request for a scholarship if you want to have one. They had it in the application form that you will be considered automatically for scholarship opportunities when you apply. But I think that my Statement of Intent showed the extra effort that I put in order to receive that scholarship. I am really glad that University of Melbourne recognised it.