This might be a cliché sentence you hear all the time: time flies. It really does. I haven’t been counting the time, but this October marks a year of me returning to Indonesia. Those 2y of Erasmus Mundus (now called as Erasmus Plus scholarship) had been a whirlwind. Those 2y are series of awfully awesome moments. Then it will be a lie if those 2y didn’t shape me into who I am today… In short, my 2y of studying as a Mundusian is one of the most unforgettable moments of my life.
Since I don’t want to blabber too much, here are what Erasmus Mundus has taught me:
1. Work hard pays off
Erasmus Mundus is an evidence for me that work hard does pay off. My experience fighting for Erasmus Mundus is written on “Kesempatan Itu Ada“. Based on my experience, I have one advice: When you think you are fighting alone, remember that the others are fighting as well. The competition is tough, so are you.
Taken from here
I met other Mundusian colleagues during the award ceremony (fyi, we still keep this friendship and communication until now). What I could conclude from them is…they are brilliant. We know they are brainies, but the thing that I want to highlight is their brilliant spirit and passion. They know what they are fighting for, they have failed several times yet they got up zillion times as well. I consider myself lucky being surrounded by Mundusians who bring loads of positivity around.
2. I made new friends!
The Erasmus Mundus network is amazing! I meet Erasmus Mundus alumni not only from Indonesia, but also from all around the world. We often been invited to share our experiences abroad and that’s how we often meet and get to know each other. We voluntarily involve in Erasmus Mundus presentation during any education fair simply because our goal is to increase the number of Indonesians to experience what we have been through. We want you to get the Erasmus Plus scholarship and to fall in love with Europe!
In addition, usually we or the European Union representative in Jakarta initiate some gathering events. For example a 5k run, a mini gathering during the EU day, etc. I know I could make friends everywhere. Can you guess what is our favourite topic? Bingo! We always love reminiscing how deep is our love for Europe. We happily know it is hard to move on from Europe.
Speaking of friendship, it didn’t happen only with Mundusians but also I can yell, “I have friends from all over the world!!!” I have my best friends from the classes I attended to, I have best friends whom I met at a hostel, I have best friends from the Erasmus Porto network, I have best friends whom I travelled with. My best friends are the reasons why Europe is unforgettable.
3. Malu bertanya really means sesat di jalan
I was so shocked on my first day of classes. My classmates were very active in asking questions and having discussion with the Professors. Some Professors also asked us to read papers and look for more references before coming to the class. I was like…OMG! I wasn’t that active kind of student during my undergraduate study. I realised I had to be active as well. I had to be prepared before classes. I had to…survive.
This phrase also worked during the daily life. I lived in a strange land whose language, foods, musics, etc I didn’t familiarise with. So, if you meet me by now and you think I am more talkative and critical than how I used to; you already know the reason.
4. The beauty of diversity
Going to Portugal was my first time leaving Indonesia. Therefore, I was completely nervous. I grew up in a small city where amongst me & my cousins, I was the first one who studied abroad. Then the fact that I was a tiny female going abroad alone was kinda freakin’ my family. In addition, there weren’t many foreigners in the city where I lived in so I was like…I didnt know what to do. I couldn’t imagine of how should I communicate with foreigners. Especially because I came with my limited skill of English, both spoken and written.
Europe surprised me. Me, who was afraid if the Europeans would look down at me because of my scarf, was caught off guard by the Europeans’ warm hospitality. Especially, the Portuguese. I met these locals who were willingly help me without me asking. I met friends and their families who welcomed me with arms wide opened. I met strangers who suddenly hugged me just because I looked different than them. I met strangers who asked me to discuss issues related with Islam. Lastly, I met friends from many countries who often shared stories, laughters, their hometown cookings, sadness, joys, tears, and many many emotions.
Now you can imagine how beautiful diversity is, right?
5. I found a new passion: Services Design
I know it when I fall in love with something. I could spend days, hours by hours, minutes by minutes just to find out about that thing. I turn to be a perfectionist. and like what my best friends have known about me: I tell everyone about this thing. This thing is called Services Design. Studying and practising Services Design for 2y++ motivate me to introduce Service Design in Indonesia. This passion also brought me to China (for free!) and had discussions with Professors whose researches were cited on mine. I was also luckily invited to share my passion in front of the Product Design community in Bandung.
6. “Jalan-jalan dibayarin, pulang-pulang dapat ijazah” // My travels were paid and I returned home bringing a graduate certificate
This was a statement I hardly forgot from the Erasmus Mundus presentation. When I first heard the sentence, I didn’t really get the idea except the fact that I could travel in the borderless EU countries. Later on, I knew what did that mean. I studied till my last breath but I only posted pictures of my Euro-trip. Who would like to see my pose with a pajama, bloated face, lack-of-sleep eyes, and bad hair between paperworks in front of my laptop?
… and how did I fund my travels? I cooked (it saved me lots of my scholarship fund), I chose the cheapest flights, I planned my schedule and route so that I could get the best deals (yeah, my trips were low cost), and many more. Those were how I got my marvellous Euro trip pictures, a certificate of graduation, and a cumlaude 🙂
7. A Second home called P O R T U G A L
Everyone knows how deep is my love for Portugal. Everyone knows how I have been longing for Portugal… and the Portuguese has a word to describe how I feel, it’s called “Saudade” and is sung on traditional Portuguese songs.
8. Best of the best: Oh, come on, I had been living in the European Union!!
Do you know what makes me screaming proudly that I had been living in Europe? It’s because you are not judged by how you look, the gadgets in your hand, or the bling blings that you wear. You are judged and treated just simply because… you are you. I have told you before that I was impressed by those people who were willing to help me without me asking. For example, several times people helped me when I couldn’t lift my baggage to the airplane cabin (thanks to my short height), people showed me directions when I was staring blankly on my map, and many many more I couldn’t mention all of it here. I was impressed by their habits of giving seats for those who needed, keeping the door opened for the next person, not cutting the queue line, slowing down their car for pedestrians, etc.
I believe you will be able to experience and fall in love with Europe like the Mundusians unless you give up your Erasmus Plus application. Good luck! and in Portuguese, boa sorte!
Let’s read what my Mundusian friends shared about the lessons EM have taught them.
Yansen Darmaputra (EM 2006-2008)
It has been 7 years now since I left Europe after completing the two-year Erasmus Mundus (now Erasmus+) Masters course in Computational Logic. However, the memories still linger.
With background from Engineering, getting scholarship in Computer Science is a challenge since I didn’t have enough basics, compared to my peers (best students from all over the world). But, it was where perseverance was shaped.
According to “vocabulary.com”, perseverance means not giving up. It is persistence and tenacity, the effort required to do something and keep doing it till the end, even if it’s hard.
Not only I value good grades (as part of responsibility as scholarship holders); making friendship, joining communities, and experiencing local culture is also important for me. It was how to make priority of these important values (and resist other good temptations), so that in 2008, I can graduate on-time with distinction (cum laude).
It is also perseverance that brings me to where I stand today, leading a team of 20-25 people, holding crucial role in IT, in one of the major banks in Jakarta.
So, for those of you who are still in Bachelor study, or just graduated, and planning to continue higher education, aim high!! Getting scholarships abroad is one amazing experience that may change your life!! If I could go back, I would.
Yosi Ayu Aulia (Erasmus Mundus 2012-2014, blogger at “Love Your Life!“)
Not particularly Erasmus Mundus. But living in the EU teaches me many things. I pick the biggest: Embracing diversity. What do you call? Open minded? Tolerance?
The feeling you dont need to tell how bright you are, but you are always shine to give the light. I learn not to judge your character based on the colour of your eyes, but i have to make sure you only see how good i become a friend. The helpful cheerful and smiling face are more than enough. If you are good, people dont matter your race. So beware on judging the character based on their home country, they could be your first friend in emergency.
Cyrillus Arthur S. (Erasmus Mundus Exchange Program 2014-2015)
Studying in Europe was my dream written on my private notes. And, amazingly I got it!! Really, it was my 1st experience to fly by aeroplane and made me confused at the airport.
I was an awardee of Exchange Lotus Program in University of Porto, Portugal.
So, what are the lessons for me after taking this scholarship?
1. I believe that everyone has a same chance to reach our dreams. Just write your dreams, do the best, and pray at the night! We live just once, so keep dreaming..
2. Studying in a new environment would push me to work harder than before and I became more independent in my studying method.
3. I believe that 100% that Indonesian people will be disappointed after comparing Europe and Indonesia. Better public facilities, good quality of air, student’s discounts are several examples saying that Europe is better than Indonesia. On that conditions, I learn that being a modern country is started by a simple way from citizen like throwing garbage to the right place, queuing on the line, be discipline on the road, keeping the public facilities, don’t be disputed about different religion, etc.
Believe me, the price of vegetables in Europe is 2.5 € and in Indonesia just Rp 2.500. Indonesia is very rich, from the cultures, commodities, beautiful places, etc.
So, I learn how to contribute to my beloved country, Indonesia.
4. Finally, with this scholarship I got a new experiences from 11 countries in Europe. The difference overviews made me wiser than before.
Yoga Pratama (Erasmus Mundus 2011-2013)
I got Erasmus Mundus SEFOTECH.nut scholarship, which allowed me to pursue a Master degree in Food Science and Technology in European Universities.
Among 4 consortium universities, I visited and studied in 3 universities where specific modules were offered. The three universities were in Gent, Belgium; Porto, Portugal; and Dublin, Ireland. From the three universities I have attended, one could guess that I had a wonderful adventure throughout the programme.
Each university offered short course-like module in the field that they are specialized in. For example, I took dairy technology class in Dublin, Ireland where the milk product is especially good. While I took fruits and vegetables class in Porto, where its warm climate is much suitable to grow excellent fruits and vegetables.
In addition to study program given by universities, I also had the opportunity to visit European food industries such as chocolate, milk powder and olive oil industry. Not only a simple visit, I also had the privilege to do an internship in a cheese factory for three months. I was actively involved in the making of the famous Gouda cheese. Thus, I could say that I was once a cheese maker. =)
However, the most memorable was my visit to the center of Food institution in the world, The FAO headquarters in Rome! Almost all food technologists dream to work here. It was truly fortunate that the Erasmus Mundus gave me such precious opportunity to visit it.
My Erasmus Mundus adventure has not only given me a bunch of international friends, knowledge and opportunity to visit various places, but also a life changing experience which opens my eyes and broaden my point of view.
Aditya Iman Rizqy (Erasmus Mundus 2013-2015)
Erasmus Mundus has given me so many experiences and has taught me many things. Having lived in 2 different countries with 2 different kinds of people in terms of hospitality (1 rude: Czech, 1 friendly: Dutch), taught me how to appreciate friendly people even more. Knowing that Dutch are friendly was nice, but knowing that English are way more friendly and helpful impressed me in many ways when I was traveling to the UK smile emoticon
Regarding the academic life, the toughness of the study here has formed me to be a stronger person. Remembering 2 difficult phases that I went through: 1st year when I thought the courses were difficult, making me think of going back home to Indonesia . . and 2nd year when the thesis project was tough and gave a lot of pressure, making me want to change the topic and find another supervisor. But all in all, Erasmus Mundus experiences are very precious due to which I am now a stronger person, mature, and independent smile emoticon