Just because i got accepted as one of the participants of 300 Doktor Jabar 2016 Program, does not necessarily mean everything has been set for me. 

This writing will tell you all my steps in pursuing a higher degree, all of the preparations.

Before i continue, i’d like to warn you that everything written under this “To Another New Terra Incognita” chapter is written in English since i need to level up my exposure to the active use of English 😀 No hard feeling to those who is a big fans of our Bahasa (I am absolutely one of them!). Pfyuuhhh, IELTS is around the corner, so practice practice practice !

Had we completed our EAP Camp for a month, we will then have to take IELTS test by the end of this November. We’ll see how much do we score for each band because our next step depends on this Ielts score.

So, whilst preparing myself for IELTS and everything ahead me, i think i need to make a record of this long journey ahead. Just in case i failed the process (NOoooo!), at least this chapter will help others who want to pursue a higher education degree: giving them an insight of how does it feel, what it takes, how to start one, what are the preparations sort of things to be a (candidates of ) Phd Candidate.

Here i would tell you my first things first, and owh do excuse my rotten english :-p


guess which one is me?

I would say language preparation first! English is one of the crucial preparation, either you want to continue your PhD degree in country or overseas, because lots of supporting reading materials are written in English. Besides English, you probably have to learn second language used in the destination country. Japanese, Deutsche, Chinese for instances. I have been in the Netherlands for a year and another month yet i rarely used Dutch while staying there because the Dutch are very common to English and bahasa as well. Nevertheless, i took Dutch course for several months in Jogja, and continued another Dutch course in Rotterdam. Knowing their native languages somehow helps your adjustment process once you are in a foreign country.

In contrast to my dutch learning experience, i did not take any Japanese course before i started my internship in Kyoto 3 years ago. As i once wrote on the chapter of “舞妓, A Journal of Dance Child” in this blog, on my very first day arriving in kyoto, i found difficulties because i didnt know how to speak japanese langauge! I was not allowed to proceed at the kansai airport immigration desk because my travel document was considered not valid. To make it worst, all of the officers there could not speak english, vice versa, i could not speak their language! :-p I did not know how to explain about my documents in japanese, and they did not know how to respond a panic girl who spoke English. The only sentence i remembered back then was “watashiwa nihongo ga wakarimasen” 😀

Now i found troubles accessing germany education search engine haha 😀 thanks to google translate anyhow :-p

What else then ? Well, sorting out the country-the university-the sponsor options. I think those three things are very related to each other. Therefore you have to do this sorting out process simultaneously.

I myself have not decide yet which country we are going to go. “We” here demands a series of discussions and some considerations. I put more stress on being considerate here as my goal is departing as a family to our new terra incognita, no longer being a solo traveler *aamiin*.

Talking about being considerate does not necessarily means your spouse only, but children and parents as well. My mama wants me to study in Australia instead of anywhere else because she thinks it is closer to Indonesia compare to any other countries. I could come home immediately just in case home is calling me back. She and papa could also throw me a visit since when i studied in the Netherlands they did not have any chance to travel far away to Europe.

For those who are married and having kids, you probably should consider whether this destination country provides international school for children, the health care system apply for foreign family, family visa requirements, whether this country allow your spouse to work or else, not to mention whether they will be happy living in that country or not.

It is important to discuss these things with your spouse before you make any decision. Get them involved because this PhD journey is not your solo journey, but theirs too! Though for some reason they probably could not go accompany you, but your study and your “absence” will somehow affect their life too! Someone might have to take your responsibilities while you are away for your higher degree or  have to leave their comfort zone to the strange places just because they have to support you during your study.So, please be considerate.

To my surprise, though there is no marriage vow yet, my bae had himself prepared for this journey ahead. He surprised me once by asking “have you read this blog about husbands with the golden hearts?”. I shrugged my head, asking for his further explanation. Then he told me about these gentlemen who sacrificed their careers and ignoring their potential achievements because they accompanied  their wives studying abroad. Akkkk ! *tears*

Even though i keep spamming his email by sending him anything i read about study preparation and living abroad as a family, asking him to also learn Deutsche, asking him to be my proofreader,  i forgot to listen to what he has in mind *sorry* Not once did i ask his perspective on this PhD plan. Or did i ask? Didnt I? Did I? *confused* I guess i was busy with my own thought, seeing all of these from my own perspective. I am really sorry for being so absence minded *cium tangan* Having a very supportive partner is a bless! I could not ask for more! It touched my heart hehe *blushing* *grateful*

But then i could not stop asking him questions like “Is it allright for you to take a 3-4 years leave? Do you mind working in the restaurant sort of things? Everyone at your office always seeks for your professional advice, your boss always asks you to accompany him on every meeting, are you really owkay to shift to works that you know ehmm..?”, and he sometimes makes fun of my worry by saying “nah, no big deal if i had to clean public toilets” *nada suaranya dibikin super menderita gitu, kan makin mewek ngebayanginnya, ga tega huhu*

Nah, enough about us haha 😀 In short, i would say it is essential to ask your spouse’ opinion before making any decision!

My little research by using hochschulkompass search engine

My little research by using hochschulkompass search engine

If you had listed some country destinations, you may continue searching more information on their education system and universities as well. I think every country has its own education search engine. Owh, this link might be useful for you http://ehef-indonesia.org/visitors/links/ It connects you to several study search engine all over the Europe continent. You can sort out study option from any universities. I have listed some universities in Germany which offer architecture and urban planning programs. Yet, they are all written in Germany hahaha 😀 Google translate is the obligatory website after all !

Next thing i do is: a little research by comparing list of the universities from each of search engine to list of universities supported by any particular sponsor. I had this list from Germany edu search engine http://www.hochschulkompass.de/en/doctoral-studies/, comparing to list in LPDP (one of my sponsor options), not all of the universities listed in hochschulkompass are listed in the LPDP list. I guess i will go continuing my little research to those universities which are covered by lpdp. See? it helps to narrowing down your search to the most suitable university and sponsor, and helps you to build a back up plan as well.

narrowing down the research result by comparing them to LPDP list

narrowing down the research result by comparing them to LPDP list

Apply this step to any of your listed country destination. Adding to this research thingy, i also interviewed some of my friends who currently pursuing their PhD degree overseas. I asked them anything: visa requirements, how to write proposal, how to get professor bla bla bla. Sometimes they also provide more information like last nite mba Muthia told me about the NRW ticket for student in germany, or the hottest issue saying school in germany is no longer free by winter 2017 (they will charge 1500 euro for tuition), living cost in Berlin is cheaper than the south Germany ( i thought it is expensive, been in Berlin once but stayed at friend’s house in Lankvitz though hehe). Btw, mba Muthia if you read this, dankje well 🙂 *salim*

Well then, please do not forget to continue the research by studying their professor lists, see what are their interests, invest some times in reading all of their related research (go with the titles and brief introductions surely haha). While doing this, you should also compose a solid research proposal. By the time you find some prospectus professor, hopefully you also come with a solid research proposal. Then, you may start your correspondent with these supervisor candidates 🙂 Let’s not forget to be prepared for sponsorship application !

And yes: plan for the best, prepare for the worst! Thank you for reading this! Feel free to share and leav critics 😉


bae: before anyone else 😉