Scientists : Between Career and Life

I have just came back from a scientific meeting. Interestingly, for me personally, the most important take home message is not really about the scientific stuffs itself, but somehow totally different thing.

During the meeting, one of the aspects (outside science) that was widely being discussed was : “Is it possible for successful scientists/academics to also have successful personal (marriage) lives?”. The answer is yes and no. It depends on you and the people surround you.

That was a scientific meeting targeted for young scientists. Therefore, the age range of the audience was mid 20s to mid 30s. The age where we start to think about managing between career and personal life. If you think that Europeans do not really think about marriage until they reach the age of late 30s or early 40s, perhaps you are wrong. Nowadays European’s young generation have a tendency to settle down and get married at a “relatively” younger age compared to the generation before us.

There was a female professor who was invited to give  a talk about this matter during the meeting. She is a successful academicians, medical doctor, a wife, and a mother of 3. Can you imagine that? The key, according to her, is choosing the right partner.

It is not easy to get along with people who are working in science and/or academics, because we really do not have fix working hours. As our career progresses, we are expected to work even during holidays and weekends. At the moment, as a PhD student, my schedule is not as crazy tight as my professor for example. But, I have a plan to stay in this field. Therefore sooner or later I will have a life similar to other people who work in this field. Of course I want to build a family and having kids one day, but I also have another big passion in science. Accroding to what the professor said, it is impossible to balance those two separate aspects. The only option is to integrate them.

I talked to some female scientist fellows I knew during the meeting. Most of them are already married and one of them is about to get married. One of them clearly declared not to stay in this field after she completed her PhD. Two of them are quite successful medical doctors/clinical researchers whose husbands are working in industry (and have fix working hours, obviously).

The similar situation also happens to my Indonesian colleagues. Most of them who successfully manage between their career in science/academics and their families are the ones whose husbands are working in fields outside science.

Perhaps I should consider looking for guys who are not working in science/medical field. 🙂 This might be a bit of trouble at the beginning, as probably we will have different point of views towards many things. But, I think, sometimes we need to sacrifice our egos in order to reach a happy life. Right?

The classical case that commonly occur to me : whenever I manage to get to know guys who are working outside science field, their first common reaction right after I told them about my usual activities is “you really don’t have a life outside work”, “you work too much”, and “can you still manage to have fun?”.

I am telling you, this is the life of a scientist. It takes a man with a big heart, patient, and full of compromises, who can deal for a long-term period with my life. They are rare, but I believe there are still those kind of men out there. I am not being selfish here. As I get older, I think one of the means of creating a family is having kids. When there comes a time for us to be parents, of course we must allocate enough times to spend with the kids. If both us and our partners have no fix working hours, then who will take care of the kids?

Recalling the experience of that professor who gave the talk at the meeting yesterday, she  made an agreement with her husband. During weekdays, the kids are under her responsibility. One more important aspect : family comes first. No matter what.

Well I still do not know what will happen to my life, personally,  later on when I am really in that situation, but at least now I have a little bit of insight.

disclaimer : this opinion is from a female scientist’s perspective. the situation might be easier (or not?) for male scientists.

That “Sierra Burgess” In Me

Have you watched the new teenflick movie on Netflix, called “Sierra Burgess is a loser?” If you haven’t, then watch it. I don’t want to write a review about the movie here, but I just want to share how that movie relates to my life. Well, my teenage life to be exact.

I used to be like Sierra Burgess. I believe some of you experienced the same thing. I grew up during those days  when nobody thought that body-shaming is not ok. Well, even until now in my home country, people still judge you based on your physical appearance. Beauty is always associated with white skin, long straight hair, and slim body. It’s the dream of every girl to grow up into a beautiful woman under those definitions.

I still remember I had a crush on my classmate when I was in the 6th grade. I shared my feeling  to my close friend and apparently she told him that I like him (recalling those moments now makes me think how dramatic my life back then. haha). You know what he said? “I don’t like Ella, cause she is fat and ugly” How dare he could say such cruel words like that? I tried not to care about that and just went on with my life. I never see that boy again after we graduated. However, deep down inside subconsciously I believed that I was a fat and ugly girl. I believed no guys would be attracted by me. That happened for quite some times, actually.

When I entered my teenage-hood, I had a crush with someone. This time was quite deep, but I was only adoring him from afar. For years. I thought he was too good for me. I bet you can guess that I was never got a chance to be close to him. Yes, you’re right!

That situation kept going on during my college days. I had crushes on some guys during that 4 years I spent in college, but I didn’t have guts to show my feeling because I just didn’t have enough self confidence.

It was only when I reached the age of 23, I started to live my life just like what I want. I started to gain my self-confidence because I realized soon I would get my master’s degree. I was going to exceed most of Indonesian boys of my age, in terms of education. The motto “smart is the new beauty” was so catchy for me at that time.

Finally, in 2015, I met an old friend and we were sort of in a platonic relationship for some times. In an occasion, he honestly told me that he had been adoring me since years ago. He never had any courage to approach me because, in his opinion, I had always been too occupied with myself. That was the moment when I realized that I don’t need to change myself to make guys attracted to me. We didn’t meant for each other at the end, though. But thanks to him. Now I know that I’m unique for who I am.

During my last relationship, I also got a chance to ask my ex-boyfriend why he attracted to me. He said : “because you have a clear vision about what you are going to do in the future.” Again, I failed this relationship. But I started gaining even more self-confident.

The past two guys in my life were not attracted to me because of my physical appearance, but they were attracted to my inner personality.

So, why should I be worried?

Sometimes when people “humiliated” you, even when the event happened in the past and you think it didn’t affect your life, it actually affects you subconsciously. Therefore, try not to say things that make other people feel down.

And..life is not merely about getting attention from guys. Life is about improving yourself to become a better person day by day.

I’m so glad that I’m now very confident for who I am. Physically, I’m not slim but I don’t think I’m too fat either. I don’t have white skin, because I’m an Indonesian with a Javanese cultural background and not a Caucasian. So I’m proud of my brown-ish skin. I have a short and rather wavy hair because I’m comfortable this way. I’m wearing glasses and still not considering to switch them with contact lenses. I’m grateful that I’m healthy.

Everyone has that “Sierra Burgess” inside. Everyone, at certain moments, thinks to switch his/her life with other person who is prettier, smarter, and richer.

In the end, being yourself is always the best option. 🙂

This cute soundtrack from the movie has been shuffling on my playlist these past few days, because I just like it so much.

Giethoorn : Venice of Holland (?)

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Look at those tourists on the  background! Imagine if thousands of visitors visit your neighborhood everyday.

I visited Giethoorn in April 2018 and I had been dreaming to visit this so-called beautiful village since forever. Talking about overrated tourist destinations, Giethoorn is one of those. With all of the people uploading Giethoorn pictures all over social media, nowadays this little village is always packed with (Asian) tourists, especially during weekends.

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A tranquil little village in Holland

I decided to visit Giethoorn after looking at the pictures posted by Trinity (my favorite Indonesian travel blogger) on her Instagram page. Oh yes, the power of social media. She also wrote an article about it in her blog, along with other non-mainstream destinations in Holland. However, I first “know” about Giethoorn years ago through an article written in an in-flight magazine. Back then, I believe that place had not been as “famous” as today. I could feel the tranquility only by looking at the pictures and I even planned to spend a weekend staying in one of the cottages.

I went there with my friend and since we are students, of course we opted for the cheapest (obviously not the fastest) way to go to Giethoorn. If you are not traveling on a budget, Giethoorn is just an hour away from Amsterdam. In my case, we went with a German regional train from Essen to Venlo via Dusseldorf. This journey costed us nothing. (Thanks to my Semesterticket!) From Venlo, we took a Holland regional train to Utrecht. We spent one night in Utrecht. The next day we took a train to Mepel. We stayed in a small but comfortable hotel right across Mepel train station. By the way, there is a nice Indonesian restaurant not far from the station. I forgot the name of the restaurant. Sorry!

The weather was not that nice during our entire trip, but we must be strict on the plan. On weekdays there are mini buses going from Mepel to Giethoorn, but not on the weekends. Therefore, we must take another train from Mepel to Steenwijk and from there take a bus to Giethoorn. You can buy the ticket from a counter in Steenwijk train station. Some Chinese people sell the ticket. Yes, Chinese people. I don’t know….perhaps since there are loads of Asian (read : Chinese) tourists coming to Giethoorn in these past few years.

We started our tour in Giethoorn by riding a boat. Next time you visit Giethoorn, don’t ride the boat. It is more exciting when you just walk along the tiny road by the canal. Walk until you reach the less-touristy area.

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The less touristy area of Giethoorn

 

For me, I cannot associate Giethoorn with Venice. Except the canals, those two places have totally different vibe. If I have to choose between Venice and Giethoorn, I will of course choose Giethoorn.

A typical “tourist” boat. Not worthy. It is much better just to walk through the road by the canal.

If, by any chances, you are planning to visit Giethoorn in the future, these are my suggestions for you :

  • Giethoorn is a beautiful little village of Holland. Take as many pictures as you want, while still respecting the neighborhood.
  • Giethoorn is NOT an open-air museum. Real people live in Giethoorn. Respect their privacy. Don’t peek on the windows.

Practical infos for visiting Giethoorn :

  • NS Regional train costs around 20 Euro for transport between 2 cities. There is a discounted price when you buy day ticket
  • The return bus ticket from Steenwijk to Giethoorn costs around 8 Euro. The last bus leaves Giethoorn at 18.00 on weekends.
  • The boat ride costs 7 Euro. You can either make an online reservation or buy the ticket on the spot. However, according to my experience, apparently it is more convenient to buy the ticket on the spot.
  • Although staying right in the middle of neighborhood seems like the best idea, I suggest you to stay in the nearby towns, such as Mepel or Steenwijk. It’s cheaper.

 

Mental Pemburu Beasiswa : Fenomena di Indonesia

Semenjak saya membagikan pengalaman tentang proses mendapatkan beasiswa di blog  ini tahun lalu, banyak rekan-rekan pejuang beasiswa yang menghubungi saya lewat surat elektronik maupun lewat sosial media. Terima kasih saya ucapkan untuk kalian. Saya bersyukur karena bisa menularkan semangat kepada rekan-rekan di luar sana. Saya juga bersyukur bahwa yang menghubungi saya adalah orang-orang yang memiliki semangat juang tinggi, tidak hanya sekedar bertopang dagu dan mengharapkan informasi datang kepada mereka.

Tulisan kali ini saya buat karena terinspirasi dari diskusi dunia maya tadi malam antara kami sesama penerima beasiswa DAAD dari Indonesia angkatan 2017. Salah satu dari kami memulai dengan pertanyaan “Kok sedikit sekali ya penerima beasiswa DAAD dari Indonesia beberapa tahun terakhir ini?”. Hingga saat ini,  hanya ada dua kemungkinan beasiswa yang dapat di-apply oleh warga negara Indonesia yang ingin studi di Jerman yaitu DAAD dan LPDP. Keduanya merupakan dana pemerintah yang bersumber dari pajak rakyat – DAAD dari pajak rakyat Jerman, LPDP dari pajak rakyat Indonesia. Jadi, kami penerima beasiswa ini mengemban amanat dari rakyat sehingga harus belajar dengan baik. Bedanya, penerima beasiswa LPDP memiliki kewajiban untuk kembali mengabdi untuk Indonesia setelah menyelesaikan studi. Kami, penerima beasiswa DAAD, walau disarankan untuk kembali membangun tanah air, tidak pernah menandatangani perjanjian hitam di atas putih untuk kembali.

Kembali kepada pertanyaan kenapa sedikit sekali penerima beasiswa DAAD dari Indonesia? Alasan utama adalah : persyaratannya rumit. Alasan kedua : beasiswa LPDP dianggap lebih prestigius bagi pemburu beasiswa di Indonesia. Kedua alasan tersebut benar adanya. Persyaratan beasiswa DAAD memang “rumit” dan besar kemungkinan kita akan “menyerah” sebelum “berperang”. Saya berbicara dalam konteks beasiswa DAAD untuk S3 di Jerman. Sebelum memutuskan mendaftar, kita sudah harus memperoleh konfirmasi dari Profesor di Jerman bahwa beliau bersedia membimbing penelitian kita. Selanjutnya, kita juga sudah harus mempunyai proposal penelitian. Dengan kata lain, sudah harus ada bayangan nanti di Jerman akan melakukan penelitian tentang apa. Kedua persyaratan tersebut yang dianggap “berat” dan menyebabkan sedikitnya pelamar beasiswa DAAD dari Indonesia. Persyaratan lain menurut saya standar, seperti sertifikat penguasaan bahasa Inggris dan (jika ada) bahasa Jerman.

Fenomena kedua adalah mengenai biaya untuk tes kemampuan bahasa Inggris dan Jerman. Saya sudah sering membaca komentar di forum-forum beasiswa yang mengeluhkan mengapa lembaga pemberi beasiswa tidak membiayai tes bahasa tersebut? Sejujurnya, saya selalu geleng-geleng kepala membaca komentar-komentar semacam itu.

Rekan-rekan, mendapatkan beasiswa itu perlu modal. Pada masa saya dulu, saya harus membayar sekitar 2 juta Rupiah untuk satu kali tes IELTS. Iya memang mahal. Apalagi kalau kalian harus tes berulang kali untuk mencapai nilai standar yang diminta oleh lembaga pemberi beasiswa. Tidak sedikit pejuang beasiswa yang menyerah. Padahal, itu baru tahap awal proses menggapai mimpi kalian. Ketika sudah mendapatkan beasiswa, jangan dikira tidak ada tantangan yang dihadapi. Saya menyadari bahwa uang 2 juta Rupiah itu sangat besar bagi kalian yang belum memiliki penghasilan tetap dan hiduonya masih bergantung pada orang tua. Well, tapi kalian bisa menabung kan?

Semua beasiswa yang ditawarkan untuk warga negara Indonesia memiliki persyaratan standar, yaitu menyertakan sertifikat kemampuan bahasa. Kalau memang kalian niat untuk memperoleh beasiswa, seharusnya persiapan sudah dilakukan sejak beberapa tahun sebelumnya. Kalau kalian niat, kalian seharusnya belajar giat untuk mempersiapkan tes kemampuan bahasa sehingga uang 2 juta Rupiah itu tidak sia-sia karena kalian akan berhasil mencapai skor maksimal hanya dengan satu kali tes.

Sekali lagi, syarat utama mendapatkan beasiswa adalah NIAT. Dan saya rasa, kita harus membuang jauh karakteristik “meminta belas kasihan” dari lembaga pemberi beasiswa. Beasiswa untuk studi di luar negeri itu terbuka untuk siapa saja, baik anak orang kaya maupun anak orang miskin. Karena dalam formulir aplikasi beasiswa (DAAD), tidak ada pertanyaan mengenai penghasilan orang tua dan penghasilan kita (bagi yang sudah bekerja). Jadi, kalian akan berkompetisi secara fair. Lembaga pemberi beasiswa akan dengan senang memberi pembiayaan bagi orang-orang yang potensial menjadi scholars (insan berilmu) di masa yang akan datang. Hal tersebut akan terlihat dari cara kita menjawab pertanyaan-pertanyaan dari panelis pada saat sesi wawancara.

Mengutip kata seorang rekan saya, beasiswa itu ibaratnya peluang. Tinggal bagaimana kita memanfaatkan peluang yang ada. Ingat, di saat kita mengeluhkan persyaratan beasiswa yang berat, di luar sana ada rekan-rekan kita yang berusaha keras mengerahkan segala yang mereka punya untuk menggapai peluang itu.

Bukan IPK S1 dan IPK S2 cum laude yang akan membawa kalian memperoleh beasiswa apapun. Tapi niat yang kuat.

Salam semangat, rekan-rekan semua!

Essen, 27 Juli 2018

sejenak merenung

learning to not envy someone else’s blessings is what grace looks like

-Rupi Kaur

Pernah gak kamu merasa iri? Perasaan iri itu sangat manusiawi. Tapi menjadi tidak manusiawi, ketika rasa iri itu berkembang jadi apa yang kita sebut nyinyir.

Saya beberapa kali menjadi korban kenyinyiran orang-orang yang tak bertanggung jawab. Sedihnya hampir semua yang berbuat demikian adalah teman-teman sebangsa setanah air. Semenjak saya tinggal di Jerman, walau sempat mengalami culture shock, tapi saya akui hidup saya lebih tenang. Lebih tenang dari hantaman orang-orang yang iri dengan kehidupan saya. Haha. Orang Jerman tidak suka mencampuri kehidupan orang lain. Kalau orang Indonesia kan terkenal ramah dan memiliki budaya saling membantu, ya. Walau seringkali berlebihan.

Sejak saya kecil, orang tua saya sering mengajak saya dan adik-adik berlibur. Seringnya memang ke luar negeri. Bukan karena orang tua saya berlimpah harta, tapi saya tahu mereka menabung demi bisa mengajak kami berlibur ke luar negeri. Tujuannya supaya wawasan kami terbuka dan kami tidak menjadi manusia yang berpemikiran sempit. Suatu hal yang memang benar kini saya rasakan. Tapi apa komentar orang-orang di luar sana kala itu? “Ella mah anaknya orang kaya. Liburan harus ke luar negeri. Gak level liburan di Indonesia”

Kedua, ketika saya kuliah di Inggris dengan beasiswa yang hanya parsial. Lagi-lagi mereka bilang kalau saya anak orang kaya. Jadi, gampang saja kalau mau kuliah di luar negeri. Yang mereka tidak tahu adalah bagaimana perjuangan saya untuk bisa lulus dengan nilai yang baik.

Ketiga, ketika saya akhirnya mendapat pekerjaan yang cukup baik. Beberapa orang bilang bahwa saya bisa diterima di tempat itu karena ada koneksi dengan orang dalam. Yang sebenarnya terjadi adalah saya melewati semua tahapan sebelum saya diterima di tempat tersebut, dan sama sekali tidak ada orang dalam.

Iri dengan keberhasilan orang lain, tanpa berusaha memperbaiki kehidupanmu, tidak akan membuat kamu menjadi lebih baik. Di saat yang sama, orang yang menjadi objek “kebencianmu” itu sudah jauh melesat melewatimu.

Kadangkala kamu hanya mengenal sebagian dari pribadi seseorang, tetapi kamu sudah merasa berhak untuk menghakimi kehidupannya. Kamu tidak pernah tahu sekeras apa dia berusaha untuk bisa sampai pada kondisinya yang seperti sekarang.

Dan untuk kalian yang sering dijadikan objek “kebencian” (alias suka dinyinyirin), berbanggalah. Hidup kalian ternyata begitu menariknya bagi orang-orang itu.

Intinya, kalau kamu ingin seperti seseorang, kamu harus berusaha supaya bisa menjadi seperti orang itu. Bukan hanya berpangku tangan dan mengarang asumsimu sendiri.

Pernah gak saya iri? Sering. Tapi, rasa “iri” yang kadang timbul itu selalu saya jadikan sumber motivasi untuk menjadi pribadi yang jauh lebih baik daripada sebelumnya.

 

My PhD Journey : The First Six Months

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A beautiful corner in Essen, the city where I am currently living

April 2018 marked the first 6 months of me being a PhD student and researcher. Apart of conducting my research project, I am also still required to attend some classes, including sitting in exams. So, yes, I have a busy life here.

Before I came to Germany last year, I thought I could travel to many places in Europe during my stay here. I thought I could manage my research schedule  so that I still have time to explore this continent. In reality, I barely have time to do my activities outside the campus and the lab during the weekdays. I can only make short trips during the weekends or long weekends or when I am not too tired. Sometimes I envy my friend-slash-my travel buddy. She is my fellow PhD candidate, but she works in a different field. She seems  to have very flexible schedule, that makes her easily travel during the weekdays. But, at the end, I know this is my own choice.

Talking about the classes, I am now literally a master student again. I never regret all of my decisions that I have made throughout my life. But I cannot deny that, sometimes I am thinking what if I did not complete my Master in UK and did mine in other country (or even in Indonesia). Just for your information, it took me only one year to get my Masters degree because it is what they do in the UK. At that time, I had never really thought that I would continue my study in Germany and I did not know that actually Germany has a totally different regulation in terms of education. Long story short, when I sent my transcript to my German Professor earlier in 2017, she told me that I was lacking of credits from my previous degress. Thus, I was accepted as a PhD student in condition that I should attend some courses in Master level to fulfill my credits.  So now here I am, a PhD student who must also pass those master courses. Tired? Of course. But, anyway I did not regret my decision to study in UK back then in 2011. That was one of the best moments in my early adult life.

On the other hand, my research works have been going smooth so far. Thank God. I am so grateful that I am surrounded by those brilliant yet humble people. I think I am lucky enough to have such a very cool research supervisor, who let me conduct my experiments independently. One more thing that make me even more grateful is a colleague from Endocrinology lab. He is a post-doctoral fellow in that lab, he is so smart, and he is always more than willing to answer all of my questions, coming to my tiny cubicle discussing about my research results. He is like my angel, to be honest. 🙂

As I have told you, since my schedule is currently quite tight, I do not have much time to socialize after lab hours. But yes I do have a life outside the lab. Almost every weekend I have some activities with some friends from Indonesian Catholic Community. They are my support system here. Sometimes I feel that my life is just too stressful, and luckily they are always there to listen to my problems. I am trying to do the same to them.

I also meet good people in my apartment with whom I can share laughters during our cooking time almost every night.

I still do not know what my life will be after this PhD journey. I will be most likely return back to Indonesia. But, I will never know what the future hold. At this moment I am just enjoying my life here.

I survive the first six months. I still need to conquer many other months here.

Life is good! God is great! 🙂

 

Pack Your Bag and Go!

Loving life is easy when you are abroad. Where no one knows you and you hold your life in your hands all alone. You are more master of yourself than at any other time.

-Hannah Arendt

I have recently talked to a friend on when exactly the best time for people to leave their homeland and go abroad. I told her, the age of 22 years old should be the best time for a person to go and live abroad. In my home country, Indonesia, most of the people graduate from college at 22 years old. But then, I felt so selfish because probably that age can only be applied to me.

My best friend in junior high school packed her bag and go to UK at the age of 15 years old, right after her junior high school graduation. She did not know anyone in UK back then. Now, 15 years later, she survives. She has a good job in London. I met her last time in 2016 and she seems really happy with her life. My cousin left Indonesia and moved to Germany at the age of 18 years old. She struggled a lot during her first years in Germany, but yet she also survives. Once she told me that surprisingly she is happier here.

I was 23 years old and had a perfectly happy life with my family and friends in Indonesia, when I decided to go to UK to pursue my Master’s degree. That was the first time I lived far away from my family. It was indeed hard at the beginning.

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My first day in Newcastle, UK back then in 2011. In front of my faculty.

Living abroad is always about starting another new phase of your life.

Here are  five traits of people who are ready to start a new life phase in a foreign country :

  • Independent

Any other places where your mom is not there, is not home. That was my thought long years ago. Being in a new place, where you cannot find familiar faces, you do not have any other choices except to be an independent person. It takes time to really become an independent person. Living abroad is one of the trainings to become it. You must only depend on yourself because, believe me, your friends there are also struggling to be independent.

  • Good financial management

No matter where the sources of your money come from, you must manage it carefully and wisely. Otherwise, you will end up broke in the middle of the month. Sometimes it is hard for me to answer when people ask how much money students spent averagely in one month. It really depends on your lifestyle. There are so many ways to spend your money on unimportant stuffs here. You can go to the bar every day, drinking glasses of beer. But, of course, that is not the wise option.

I made a rule for myself to only spend more than 20 Euros on weekends. During weekdays, I eat in Mensa (students’ canteen) which cost maximum 3 Euros for a proper lunch or cook at home. Usually I still have some money left in my account at the end of the month. Therefore, I can plan a trip for the following month. When I travel to a new place, I spend most of my money on foods. I have a special budget when traveling and so I never think twice on spending money when I travel as long as it is still within my travel budget.

  • Good time-management

This is the most important trait. I meet some people who are younger than me here. In my opinion, they have similar problems. They cannot manage their time properly.  First of all, you must always remember your initial purpose. Nothing should not distract you on doing your purpose. Remember, you are investing your time. You must end up being something after spending certain years abroad.

It is not easy to have a good time management. You cannot start it once you arrive in a foreign country. This is a trait that you should have grown inside yourself.

  • Open minded

Ask yourself. Can you accept a culture that is totally different compared to your own culture? Most European countries are liberal countries. All of the people, no matter his/her sexual preferences, have equal opportunities here. People have freedom to express their feeling publicly. You can see people kissing in public. And that is normal. A man and a woman can live together without any marriage status.

Can you accept that?

I am sure you will survive living abroad when you are open minded yet have a strong life principle. If you still cannot accept other people who have different opinions, then it is better for you just to stay in your homeland.

  • Hard working

Living abroad is actually not as interesting as those pictures that you see on my social media. Every single day is about an endless hardworking. There is no chance for lazy people to survive.

In the end, it is not about the age. It is about having those traits that I mentioned above inside of you. You can be 15, 18, 25 years old. When you think you are ready, just pack your bag and go!

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There is always a first time for everything. My first time presenting my research result, in front of non-Indonesian audiences.