Name: Melkior Mirari Manusakrti
Many people might not know me, I usually go by my nickname, Dimel Mirari. I’m a student of Universitas Gadjah Mada, who is still pursuing my S.IP degree in International Relations, and I’m currently in my last semester. Two years ago, in my fifth and sixth semester, I was lucky enough to undergo a double degree program at Flinders University (Flinders) in Adelaide, Australia. I would like to share my experiences there, as well as a few tips and tricks for those of you interested in obtaining a double degree, or the International Exposure program in general.
Being a student enrolled in our University’s International Undergraduate Program (IUP) in International Relations, I am obligated to take part in the International Exposure Program. I chose to complete the program through a double degree and chose Flinders University in Adelaide. I was lucky enough to have some of my closest friends to take part in the same program, in fact the six of us shared the same house in the suburbs of Pasadena, South Australia.
You’d be right to think that finally taking part in exchange programs, summer courses, or double degrees also means getting out of our comfort zone. With that thought, it would mean that I remained in my comfort zone while in Australia because my closest friends were there with me. But another way to think about it is that each and every one of us went out of our comfort zones and collectively shared unforgettable, and priceless memories worth cherishing.
Before going on the program, there was a lot of mental preparation that had to be done. Remember that you are going to be in an entirely new environment, creating new friends, facing new authorities, and never forget that you are representing your roots, both in cultural and academic terms. Luckily, people in Adelaide were very welcoming and supportive, and my friends and I were well prepared with a place to live, our belongings, and essential documents.
As we landed and exited the airport nearing the end of the Australian winter, a breeze of fresh, cool air blew over us, who were still in disbelief of where we were. It was clear that despite the happiness and excitement rushing through us, a great challenge laid ahead. We had to adapt to the new environment while keeping in mind that we were there to obtain a double degree, a big task with big responsibilities. Failing a single essay would mean that we do not get our Bachelor’s in International Relations (BIR) degree, and having to repeat classes when we come back.
Adelaide is South Australia’s state capital, a small city that lost its popularity to the likes of Melbourne and Sydney a few decades ago. The City of Adelaide itself does not have that much to offer for tourists, but nature in the State of South Australia is among the most beautiful in the country. Just an hour drive up north or down south is worthwhile, you’d be surprised how accessible renting a car is there! Public transport is also not a problem in the city and the suburbs surrounding it, and Flinders is a 45-minute bus ride south of the central business district (CBD). Flinders is located on top of a hill, when you arrive there you are welcomed by a view of the entire CBD until Australia’s southern coast! Adelaide is a perfect place to study, not too much going on, it’s safe, the air and our surroundings was very clean and because it’s a small city, festivals, such as the Fringe Festival and the Adelaide 500 are always extravagant! There’s a joke among Australians living in Adelaide that any other city they go to becomes a holiday, and I would say that this is true, when there were no festivals going on, the city becomes very quiet, yet this becomes a reason for us to focus on our studies.
There are some things that a much more prosperous country has to offer, namely infrastructure, services, and the quality of life that is just outright better than anything I have experienced before. I was humbled by the lengths that Australia goes to in their efforts for inclusion and equality of gender, race, religion, sexual preference, political views, and their consideration towards the disabled community. These represent life lessons that remind me to always be mindful and considerate of others regardless of our differences!
By the end of my year-long program at Flinders, I was able to achieve my double degree. I had to set clear boundaries of when I could travel around the state, hang out with friends, and most important of all, attending lectures, tutors, and seminars to produce quality work that suffices the University’s high standards. The thought that achieving a double degree is a challenge remained in my mind while I was there, this made me give that extra effort in any work I was doing. I made new friends, connections beyond borders and cultures that provided, and continues to provide opportunities for me. I was greatly inspired by my peers and my lecturers on Australian culture, arts, and politics, and now I find myself writing my thesis on Australian Foreign Policy, a challenge of which I am proud to do.
I hope that by sharing my experiences becomes a source of motivation for you to always do your best in your studies, be an active person in society and your academic, and soon, professional lives. Always strive to be the best version of yourself, and be happy to tackle the hardest of all challenges because you were made ready!