Study Abroad: Why and How?

Study Abroad is a new section in my website Dream Explore Wander as I want to share some of my study abroad experiences to people out there.

A little background. I studied abroad twice. I spent 4.5 years in the UK, during my primary school and high school. This was my first experience of studying in a new country. My second experience happened just recently, I was admitted into a Masters programme called Erasmus Mundus Data Mining & Knowledge Management where I spent two years in three European countries.

Now, how did I manage to go abroad and study? Well, the answer is scholarship. I studied in the UK because my dad received scholarship for his Ph.D study and I received a full scholarship to study my Masters degree in Europe. Honestly, without scholarship I would never have gone abroad.

When I meet people, friends and strangers, they mostly ask the same thing. How did you manage to get a scholarship? Where can I find this information? Do you have any website you can refer?

Well, I decided to make the answers available in my website so that people can share them.

WHY

When I moved to the UK, I was 10 years old, a popular girl at my Indonesian primary school in the small town of Salatiga. I loved my school, I knew all my teachers, I had a bunch of friends and I was really comfortable where I was. Then one day, my dad told my sister and I that we were going to move…to the UK. Pfft! There goes my life, I thought at that time. The UK? Isn’t that where people DON’T speak Indonesian? I was scared, I didn’t understand what “trying something new” was and I certainly didn’t want to “step out of my comfort zone”. Fast forward to now, I’m glad my parents dragged me to the UK. It was hard at first to adjust, to learn the language but I was lucky to have this kind of experience at such a young age.

Ever since I went back from the UK, I turned into a scholarship hunter. I was craving for more adventure like the one I had before, but this time I wanted it to have that adventure by myself. The education experience I got from the UK changed my perspective, opened my mind and taught me a lot of things that I have never heard of in Indonesia. I decided to spend my high school and bachelor in Indonesia. Though during my bachelor I also tried to apply for some scholarships, none of them was accepted. I’m glad I wasn’t accepted, I wouldn’t trade the friends and experience I had during my bachelor years with anything else in the world. After I graduated I thought “This is it! I’m going to apply for a scholarship and get it!” – I didn’t, again I received a lot of rejections. Instead I worked as a programmer for 2.5 years at an insurance company in Jakarta.

Facing rejections over and over again made me stronger and I always believe that rejection happens for a reason. Again, my working experience in the big city gave me so many great friends and experience I would never have gained at a school environment.

Finally in 2011, my hard work paid off. I was accepted with full scholarship at a European Masters programme. I was ecstatic.

My university in Nantes

Here’s the thing about studying abroad. Some people think it’s all about living in a “better” country with a lot of free time to travel. It is not. If you decide to study abroad, make sure you know your goal. My goal was to learn something new in an environment out of my comfort zone. I wanted to be immersed in a new culture, meeting new friends from all over the world while learning a new subject from the best universities. I was very picky choosing my subject, I didn’t want to just pick any subject just for the sake of going abroad. The Erasmus Mundus caught my attention since the subject, data mining, was new and fresh with the possibilities of living in several countries. I loved the concept, which was why I applied.

Pick the right subject for your study, make sure you know the expectations and it’s within your interest. Ask yourself why you want to study abroad, make sure the answer makes sense!

HOW

Some people think it’s magic that I had the chance to study abroad. I have been hunting for a scholarship since my bachelor, it is certainly not magic. While my friends spent their money on clothes and bags, I spent mine on internet connection (which was rare back then!) and sending application letters abroad (which was expensive since I had to use express mail). I went to a numerous education fair, talked to a lot of institutions, applied to many scholarships (and got rejected), accepted to several great universities but had to decline since they didn’t offer scholarships – so no it is NOT magic.

Studying under the clear blue sky

There is no easy way to get a scholarship. It’s a lot of hardwork and sometimes you think you’ve done everything and yet no result. There were times when I just gave up but determination was what kept me going.

Here are some scholarship info that might be useful for you:

DAAD

Erasmus MundusΒ (Erasmus Mundus is a five year programme scholarship, but check their website for extended scholarship offers)

Australian scholarships

Chevening

Fullbright

Also look into each individual university, they might have scholarships. If you are able to pay a portion of the tuition many universities (like in the UK) usually offer partial scholarship, so also look into that.

DO apply into several scholarships programme! It is completely normal to have several options.

DON’T apply to programmes that are out of your interest, choose options according to what you want.

At the end of the day, studying abroad is not for everyone. Don’t think of only going there for the fun or the travel, remember the most important aspect is the studying. Once you have that goal on your mind, think of the places you want to study and live in for the next years. If you have the right goals, I promise you it will be a lot of fun.

If you have any more scholarship info leave a comment below! If you find this information useful, do share them!

Enhanced by Zemanta

16 Comment

  1. Thanks for this post. I am trying to find a scholarship recently.
    Found a good one. But then got stuck at the “writing and telling why do you want to apply” part.
    Reading this post is kind of open my mind.
    Thank you! ^^

    1. Hi Nella! Yes it’s very important to specify the “why you want to apply” bit. I’m really glad my article helped you! πŸ™‚

  2. Hi. Just wondered, do you have to take care of your scores? I mean since it’s a scholarship. Isn’t it hard to keep your scores good? Do you really have to be smart to apply for a scholarship?

    1. Hi fmr, I’m not gonna lie to you, scholarships are given to those with exceptional grades, so yes, high grades are essential. However institutions also decide on your motivation letter as well as the references given by your referees. Once you get the scholarship, of course it is normal that they would ask you to maintain a good score – that’s why they gave you the scholarship in the first place right πŸ™‚
      Hope that helps!

  3. Hi..
    Thank you..thank you for writing this post.
    This is exactly what I am feeling right now. A mixture of confusion, feeling rejected, not good enough and not giving maximum effort.. well, what a relief to find this writing.. at least I know, this is normal. Thank you for sharing this. Now I know I have to keep working on what I am dreaming of..

    And, now I know whom to consult with.. hihihi… πŸ˜€ (only if it doesn’t bother you)

    BIG THANKS! :DD

    1. Hi Eunice, I exactly know how you feel. Getting a scholarship is a lot of hardwork. I’m glad my post can somehow be a relieve to you. I will be happy to answer any questions you have. You can always send me an email: aggy@dreamexplorewander.com
      Keep the hard work going πŸ˜‰

  4. Nice post Aggy, I was a scholarship hunter back then, but I stopped once I got a settle job, and of course now, my little family.

    How did you manage to write blogs while keeping your high scores by the way? πŸ™‚

    1. Hey ka Tes πŸ™‚
      I only started the blog in my second year and by then the blog was my “stress relief” whenever I was stuffed with assignments πŸ˜€ It’s just a matter of time management actually.

  5. I’m glad to find your blog. Nice post, Aggy! I can exactly relate to everything you write in this post, as I am now a scholarship hunter and have been rejected so many times. But, that’s the ‘art’ of scholarship hunting, isn’t it? πŸ˜‰

    1. Hi Gabriella, thanks for dropping by. I’m so glad I’m able to help you through this blog post. Yes, rejection is part of the journey! I hope that you get your scholarship soon!

  6. Studying abroad is the best way to experience the culture and local life! I’m so glad I spent 3 years in the UK and I am back in Europe next August to do my master’s degree either in Spain, France or Holland. Best experience ever!

    1. I agree Agness! Woohoo I can’t wait to hear you Master’s degree adventure πŸ˜€

  7. Harry Tambun says: Reply

    hi aggy,
    i’m the one who dreaming about going abroad for studying. i love to see ur writings on this blog, very interesting. i’m still studying in my bachelor degree now, and just like u, i’m searching abt scholarship, hunting some places for studying, and keep my eyes and ears abt the chance. i know that everything is not easy as reversing our hand. we need the process for preparing us to be ready when the chance comes. I hope i could be like you. Such an inspiring person. GBU

    1. Thanks Harry, such sweet words! Good luck with your scholarship hunting, all the best!

  8. Hai Mbak Aggy,

    Accidentally landed on this blog and find it very related to me. Several scholarship application rejections and finally got one, and now blogging as my getaway from stress during writing papers πŸ˜€
    Salam kenal,
    nice post anyway

    1. Salam kenal juga Tatats! Firstly congrats on getting a scholarship, I know it isn’t easy. And yey on blogging as a way to overcome being stressed out with papers! Sometimes you just wanna write something else other than those academics stuff right πŸ˜‰

      Enjoy your studying abroad time and good luck! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Leave a Reply