Studying overseas used to seem very distant to Intan Kusuma Wardhani, although she had dreamt of it since she was seven years old. Fast forward 13 years and Intan is now in Australia pursuing her undergraduate degree.
“At first, I was both excited and daunted because neither parents nor friends accompanied me. The feeling of loneliness and the urge to go back home quickly struck and lasted until classes had started,” Intan said.
It can take time for international students to adapt, adjust themselves to a new environment and to overcome the fluctuation of their emotions.
Fortunately, these situations have slowly faded away for Intan and she said she now appreciates every single second she has at UQ.
“The opportunity to study here with a scholarship from UQ and Universitas Indonesia reminds me of what I have been dreaming of and the expectations to be met.
“I now have a different roller coaster in my life which has provided a wider opportunity for my personal and professional development,” she said.
Intan is participating in the UQ Advantage Award and she said there are so many advantages she has gained from this experience.
“By participating in this award scheme, I am really driven to attend numerous symposia, seminars and workshops. It also encourages me to be involved in other activities beyond the lecture theatres,” she said.
For instance, Intan received a Dean’s Scholar Award for her academic achievement last semester and was invited to the 26th International Youth Leadership Conference (IYLC) in Prague.
She also got accepted to become a student assistant in the 48th APS Annual Conference in Cairns.
“These experiences have given me a chance to expand my networks in intellectually stimulating environments, immerse myself in ambassadorial activities, and liaise with like-minded students,” she said.
Intan said the most interesting project she is involved in now is conducting an experiment under the supervision of Professor Ottmar Lipp, thanks to the UQ Winter Research Program.
“As a beginner, I often feel afraid of being not smart enough. However, Professor Ottmar has indirectly taught me that it is through incessant learning and working through a process whereby not knowing and having questions leads us to knowing and having answers.,” she said.
Intan said overcoming her initial challenges has let her grow and be more resilient.
“What matters most is what we change into by reflecting from the past, enjoying the present, and looking into the future,” she said.