My name is Florensia Theograsia. My friends call me Florens – a nice name, they often said. I am an Indonesian. As some of you may know, Indonesia has many native languages. This means, I can speak Indonesian and also the language of the place where I was born, Ambonese. I came to Australia in early 2016 to pursue my study. I am continuing in the field I have been doing for about four years during my bachelor degree, which is Theology. The only difference is I am no longer doing courses for Theology, but I am a PhD student in Theology. Thus, I could say that my hobby is researching. Theology is a literature work. Therefore, I am able to do my research project whenever and wherever I wish to.
Australia is a convenient choice to study for me. Only six hours flight, I can arrive in Australia. As a research student, it is a compulsory to first find a supervisor to supervise my research project. The University of Newcastle is the right choice for it. A very global atmosphere is the characteristic of the University. This teaches me to build myself to be open-minded; a skill that is rarely taught in classes.
Studying overseas is interesting yet challenging. I am here all by myself. I started everything last year with zero friends. Guess how many friends do I have now? Hmmm… As many as I can go out with one every day. It took a lot of courage to get myself out from my comfort zone to become who I am today with all these amazing experiences. How to adjust, how to socialize, how to learn, were big questions that have been solved well during my first year in Australia. The most important thing to remember is to enjoy every single thing. At first, I often felt overwhelmed with a whole bunch of things going on around me. But, as the time goes by, I am getting better in processing most of the things.
I like most of the things in Australia, especially in Newcastle. That should be the reason why I am able to enjoy most of the process and challenges. Having an adventurer mind and soul is such a good thing as I get to experience many things in Australia besides studying. Starting from the wildlife, cuisines, beaches, national parks, festivals, winery, even experiencing the changing of the season which is a new thing to me as Indonesia is a tropical country with only dry and wet season throughout the year. I need to really put extra efforts to make myself comfortable during the winter and the summer. Summer in Australia is hotter than dry season in Indonesia. But, I would not say that I don’t like summer and winter here. As said, I like experiencing new things.
I am glad to have this opportunity to contribute to StudyNSW sharing my experience because I believe every international student has different experiences, and it is good to be aware of different things faced by other international students. Besides researching and adventuring, I also like to keep all my memories through photography. People and places change from time to time, but a photo will stay the same. Winning the photo competition earlier in 2017, run by StudyNSW, made me realize that photography is a hobby worth to try and to develop. Besides photography, I am also active in clubs and societies at my Uni. I am a member of the Indonesian Student Association at The University of Newcastle (PPIA Newcastle), having previously been its president. I am also the vice president of the “La Pena” UON Latin Dance Society. Yes, I love dancing! Studying, photography, organisation, dancing never satisfy me. Therefore, I also work for the Uni as I realise that this era needs your well-built resume. The role I am currently doing for the Uni is customer service and student engagement which I enjoy very much. I wasn’t applying for any jobs. I received the offer of employment because my role as the executive of PPIA Newcastle enhanced my personal skill that is looked for by the University. I would not say myself lucky. I develop myself to be engaging with my role as a student. I work hard for it, and the offer of employment is the reward.
Studying abroad is a challenge. It is not easy but fun! At the end, I chose to leave my comfort zone and develop myself in many different ways. Before deciding to study abroad, it is better to set up your goals first. Build a strong motivation is a must. Use the opportunity to study abroad as the way to get the goals. Most importantly, dream big! Big dreams require big actions. All we have to do is to make them happen.