They keep telling me that I am here in Australia to study. Yes, that’s right. As an awardee of a scholarship from the Indonesian Government, one of the primary reasons I am here is to study. But, is it the only reason?
Studying abroad allows me to experience different styles of education. By enrolling in a study abroad program, I have the chance to see another side of my major that I may not have been exposed to at home. BUT, apart from merely studying, there are a lot of things I should also experience to make the most of my two-year program.
During the previous summer break in Melbourne, I took an internship at PwC, one of the Big Four accounting firms. Although I had known that it was for the same position as my previous one in Jakarta, I believed that the opportunity would give me global exposure. Working in two different countries, Australia and Indonesia, equips me with the knowledge of international business practices and the ability to adapt smoothly to various working cultures and challenges. Global experiences are the perfect and highly sought after differential to stand out among the crowd in an increasingly competitive industry.
Furthermore, last semester, the Melbourne University Indonesian Student Association appointed me as the Project Manager for an event called Inc.Line. Inc.Line was a 2-day event aimed at empowering Indonesian students to participate in the work force. The pre-events consisted of a CV consultation session and a talk show called Entrepreneurship Talk while the main event consisted of a career talk show and career seminar. To be honest, I was reluctant at first to undertake this responsibility. “What if…” is always the first question I ask myself every time I encounter new experiences and challenges. Fortunately, this one ended very well. The opportunity enabled me to improve my leadership and interpersonal skills as I realised that my best quality work came from a good collaboration based on values such as relationship, sharing, and respect. The habit of taking on new opportunities to grow could also lead you to greater opportunities. Beyond my expectation, this opportunity enabled me to broaden my network to a different level. It was an honor for our team to have prominent guest speakers such as Bambang Brodjonegoro (the previous Minister of Finance) and Debnath Guharoy (President of Indonesia Australia Business Council). As the icing on the cake, after the event, one of the speakers offered me a role as a student ambassador at one of their institutions. Great opportunities will be presented to you if you give it a try!
Moreover, during the previous winter break, I enrolled in an intensive subject called Global Business Practicum (GBP), where students experience the business practices in a company and culture of a different country first-hand. I was aware that there would be an additional tuition fee to cover the accommodation in my GBP host country, China. In addition to the tuition fee, I also had to fork out money (undeniably not an insignificant amount) from my own pocket to pay for the return flights and the living cost in China, since these expenses were excluded from my scholarship. However, not everything should be perceived exclusively from a monetary perspective. The benefits of taking GBP definitely outweighed the costs. My GBP host company, Rio Tinto, was such a great place to work in. It was truly a pleasure to devote my time working with an amazing team and inspiring people at the Shanghai office. This program gave me a wonderful opportunity to grow personally and professionally. Especially because spending time outside our comfort zone always challenges you to exchange ideas with new people in new environment.
Studies have affirmed that the longer a student studies abroad, the more significant the benefits of cultural development and personal growth one will receive. My experiences could happen because I had decided to go abroad with a broad mindset to gain as much experience as possible beyond academic studies. As a result, they are going to be memories I treasure for a lifetime.