Student Story: William (Indonesia)

23 April 2020

Ever since I completed my undergraduate study in the end of 2012 and started working in 2013, my childhood dream was reawakened: to travel the world and created beautiful memories. So, along with my buddies, I visited several countries in Asia and Europe to realise this dream.

In November 2016, I was working at a Jakarta-based business association and through this job, I had the chance to attend the Australia-Indonesia Business Week, which was held in Perth. I was so excited for three reasons:

  • First, this would be the first time I set foot on Australian soil.
  • Second, I couldn’t wait to visit some Perth attractions such as Elizabeth Quay, where I could enjoy Perth’s scenic view on the Swan River; Kings Park and Botanic Garden, which is one of the world’s largest city parks; and Winthrop Hall at The University of Western Australia (UWA).
  • Third, this visit would allow me to see UWA with my own eyes, which would possibly be the place I would pursue a Master of Strategic Communication. I say “possibly” because back in 2016, the desire to study abroad was merely an idea.

I didn’t have a clear image of what life was going to look like, including how much I should pay for accommodation and tuition fees. I also wasn’t certain whether I would win a scholarship to fund my study as relying on my personal income to pay the tuition fees (which are seven to eight times more expensive than in Indonesia) was not a practical solution.

The first time I touched down in Perth, I felt the positive vibes of this city. The city was not too busy like other capital cities in Asian countries. The city was also well managed and equipped with clean and comfortable public transport. Local people, whom I met on my way from the Perth Airport to the CBD, were polite and friendly. Personally, I felt that Perth really welcomed me. And for this reason, I eventually chose Perth as my study destination after I got a scholarship from the Government of Indonesia.

As the scholarship recipient, I was allowed to choose from around 300 universities worldwide to pursue my studies. Nevertheless, I listened to my heart to choose Perth and UWA.

When my friends and colleagues asked me why, I always refer back to my answer during the scholarship selection interview. “Why do you want to choose Perth instead of other cities to study?” I can still recall the question from the interviewer.

“It’s very simple, Madam. The University of Western Australia belongs to the Group of Eight, which means this university has an extensive research network. It is also consistently listed on the World’s Top 100 Universities. In terms of lifestyle, Perth is a multicultural city, so that I will be able to learn and celebrate other cultures. In terms of time zone, Perth is only one hour ahead of Jakarta. It’s important for me to stay in touch with my family there and to feel normal,”.

Choosing a place to continue my studies was all about balancing my mind and heart. Logically, studying at one of the best universities in the world is a privilege that not everyone can get. It also means I can contribute to academic and non-academic aspects, whilst embracing various opportunities that the university can offer.

As a student who learns how to do research properly, I’m involved in many productive meetings and discussion with my lecturers. It’s a very enriching experience. Emotionally, studying and living in Perth puts me in an international environment, which is essential to broaden my horizons. And whenever I miss home, I can easily fly back home with no hassles because it’s only four and half hours away.

After two years living in Perth, I have built a great a routine. My days are colored by my roles as a husband, father, UWA Student Ambassador, StudyPerth International Student Ambassador, academic tutor, and as a big fan of lawn tennis. When I have spare time, I usually play tennis at UWA or at my buddy’s apartment in the CBD area.

Occasionally, I go on picnics and stare at a blue sky at Kings Park and Botanic Garden with my wife and baby and catch up with friends at Yagan Square or Korean BBQ restaurants in the city. Seasonally, the City of Perth presents fascinating festivals such as Christmas Light Trails and Parade, Spring Festival, Perth Festival, Fringe World Festival, and Noodle Festival, most of which can be enjoyed for free.

For prospective students looking to study in Perth, I encourage you to either talk your preferred institution directly, or get in touch with education agents that have a strategic partnership with the institution you want to study at. Agents specialise in helping future students with their paperwork for services such as Overseas Student Health Cover and visa applications, and can be a very valuable resource.

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In collaboration with governments, educational institutions and stakeholders, StudyPerth provides a leadership role in building the profile of international education in WA and overseas.