In my study in Australia so far, I have joined numerous clubs: PPIA, Catholics of One Spirit Down Under (COSDU), Book Club, Writing Club and Publishing Students’ Society. I even became one of core committee members for COSDU. In my opinion, joining various clubs and societies has been one of the most rewarding things that I did throughout my overseas study experience in Australia. I encourage those of you who are not currently enrolled in any organization to take a step forward and sign up for membership in a club that you are interested in. Here, I’m not talking only about PPIA (the Indonesian Student Association) because it is definitely a must to sign up for a PPIA membership to gain up-to-date news and opportunities for Indonesian students, but a step beyond that: to sign up for other interesting clubs and societies. Too often, Indonesians really prefer to be with fellow Indonesians abroad, all the time. These are the reasons on why you should join and be active in many interesting clubs and societies:
1. You get to meet new, like-minded people who have mutual interests.
There are a variety of clubs abroad in your university that you can sign up for. For example, if you like chocolate, go for the Chocolate Lovers’ Society, like the one in the University of Melbourne. If you like video games, you can go to Society for Video Game Appreciation. If you like Quidditch from Harry Potter go for the Quidditch Club. The University of Melbourne and Monash University both have Quidditch Club: Potter Head and Monash Muggles. Australia-wide, there is even Australian Quidditch Association. If you like trying out new places to eat, go for Food Appreciation Society such as Exploring Cultures Through Food Club. You can develop your hobbies and meet people who are as passionate as you are in those activities.
2. You are expanding your network and getting out of your comfort zone.
It is actually good to come out of your comfort zone, getting to the unknown once in a while. You will be more adventurous and can learn a lot of new things as well as expanding your current ‘pool’ of network.
3. You will get to mingle with the local as well as fellow international students and learn their cultures.
Too often, international students stick with international students. Maybe it’s time to mingle with the local students and you can do it by joining clubs and societies in your campus. Trust me, you will find new friends fast!
4. You will get information about jobs and other things that you won’t get in the Indonesian community.
If you join your department’s student association, like what I did with the Publishing Students’ Society, I joined, most probably you can go to Industry Night held by the society and network with people in your industry. As a committee, you can also reach out to people in the industry and arrange events with them, getting yourself known to them at the same time.
5. If you are in the committee, you will learn to juggle your time efficiently and be responsible.
I joined a Catholic club called Catholics of One Spirit Down Under (COSDU) in the University of Melbourne. I became their secretary for one term. To tell that the experience was a rewarding one was an understatement because I feel like I had made friends for life. I also learned to become a better person by juggling time between studying, socializing and doing tasks for the club. I also honed my skills as a secretary by paying attention to details, preparing weekly announcement and slides and many more by becoming a committee member.
6. You will make friends all around the world and be able to visit them.
If you like to travel and you have friends all over the world, you will be in a lucky position because you can ask your friends to accompany you and show you the local places. You can get an interesting local experience!
7. You will be an interesting person.
Since you have many hobbies, meeting many people with different background and experiencing many new things, you will be an interesting person to hang out with!
Overall, joining clubs and societies is one thing not to be missed! Usually it does not cost you much to be a member but the rewards are tremendous. You will make friends for life!
Photo courtesy of the author.
Cecilia Liando is currently pursuing her Master Degree in Interpreting and Translation Studies (Translation-Only Stream) at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). Prior to that, she studied Bachelor of English Education at Universitas Pelita Harapan (Lippo Village, Indonesia), worked as a teacher and freelance translator then spent one year in Peking University (Beijing, China) to learn Mandarin Chinese language. She also completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Editing and Communications at the University of Melbourne (Melbourne, Australia). In her spare time, she knits and makes jewelries.