My experience as Indonesia Mengglobal’s columnist

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As her tenure as UK/Europe columnist comes to an end, Dytha shares her experience and key takeaways of writing and sharing regularly during her year. We hope you enjoy her stories, and if you have not read the stories, you’re in luck: Dytha shares some of her most memorable published stories here too!

Twelve months ago, I applied to become a columnist at Indonesia Mengglobal. I saw a vacancy on the PPI Paris group on LINE. At that time, I’m no longer a student, I graduated in 2018 and just started my life as a young adult who works in Paris. It wasn’t a pure coincidence, as I’ve been searching for some activities that can remind me of Indonesia, and at the same time, giving and helping people. I did some volunteering work in Paris, but I’m still thinking what can I do to my home country, even if I’m so far away.

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Dytha – photo from author

So I did some research, I learned that columns are the heart of the organization. Every month, IM is contributing around 12 articles, each of them brings a diverse information of studying and working abroad: how to find and prepare a scholarship, how to make a good CV and excel in an interview, how to survive in other countries and the journeys of people who decided to leave the country and trying their best to achieve their dreams. Each story is unique, and inspiring in its own way. 

At first I was afraid, I’m no longer a student, how can I find some stories? Most of my friends were graduated, and almost all of them got back home. I’m used to write on my blog, but this is different. This is a commitment. A commitment that might help and motivate people. Help Indonesians to be brave, encouraged to achieve their dreams that sometimes covered with fear and doubts. 

After sleeping on it, I finally decided to send my CV to try my luck. After passing the interview with the content directors, I got contacted by the team saying that I’m officially part of the team, yeay! So there I was, between my work, my personal life, and volunteering in Indonesia Mengglobal. As a columnist, we contribute one article per month based on the region we are assigned to. Well obviously for me, I am the columnist for UK and Europe region. 

I first wrote about apprenticeship, a special program created by France government to help students get their professional experience directly integrated in their curriculum. Little did I know at that time, the fact that I wrote the article in English is actually helping to push this information out of Indonesia. I had 2 people from Southeast Asia in the next few months contacting me through email and instagram asking about the program and how can they apply, find companies and so on. 

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Dytha & her master degree from apprenticeship program

Then I wrote a lighter article, when I shared about the reasons why we should learn French and why it is worth the pain. In late April 2018, I wrote about my very first experience to vote outside of the country, I interviewed briefly some students I met at the embassy to ask about how they felt and how could they contribute to the country by voting in France. 

Then it comes the fun and challenging part. May is the anniversary of Indonesia Mengglobal and each year we have different theme, that we will be incorporated into our articles of this month. The 2019’s theme was ‘Indonesia Matters’: we were aiming to find people who lived abroad for studying and/or working then decided to come back to Indonesia and, managed to bring Indonesia’s name to the regional or even international level. It was quite a challenge as I’ve been living in France for 3 years at that time and it was quite hard to find someone I knew who managed to do such achievements. But I finally did find a friend who has passion and works in aeronautics industry and how her work helps Indonesia to track down illegal fishing and identified endangered species location throughout the country. 

Time goes by and I continue to contribute more articles about my experience in Asian Film Festival in France when I met Indonesian legendary filmmaker Riri Riza. Then I interviewed one of the rarest (at least for me) scholarship awardee in military and how his journey brought him to France.

After the interview session with Riri Riza. Photo by Author.
After the interview session with Riri Riza. Photo by Author.

I believe every writer can find some frustration between deadline and inspiration. It was not always easy to find time to search for stories, so I came up with some insights on the ups and downs of working in France. Not long after the two articles were published, one of the IM team contacted me to announce that these two articles were chosen as content exchange in the occasion of our partnership with Hotcourses Indonesia (HCID). Maybe it’s a small thing, but for me – someone who previously writes only on my blog – it was satisfactory. 

The next article I wrote after these two was concerning the reverse culture shock I had last summer. I shared the experience of the weird feeling as an outsider, even though I’m in my home country. Which brought me the idea of sharing the things I really appreciate in the country that I live in today, that’s the reason why I listed down things that people can enjoy in France before 26.

As a columnist in UK / Europe region, I realized that most of my articles were really France-centered. That is why I decided to search for a story from the UK, which led me to a story of an LPDP awardee who did his career pause and continue his master degree.

And here I am, finishing my last article as one of the Indonesia Mengglobal’s columnists 2019/2020. Looking back to February 2019, I realized I have achieved a lot of things simply by contributing one article per month. If I never decided to join, I would never try to get out from my comfort zone to write these articles, learned how to juggle time between personal-professional and volunteering life. I would never get the chance to feel the adventure of searching for stories, interviewing people with tons of experience. Neither to get to know the IM team members from all over the world and especially the nice & super cool Content Director for UK / Europe region and be thankful for the opportunity the IM gave me as a columnist. 

Until next time!