Rabu pagi pekan lalu, aku mendapat sebuah telpon yang cukup mengejutkan. Kenapa? Karena tiba-tiba langsung diajak ngomong pakai bahasa mandarin. hahaha… Ternyata, yang menelepon adalah pihak International Office kampus atau lebih sering disingkat OIC. Walo agak gak ngerti (dan akhirnya minta dijelasin pake bahasa Inggris), sang penelepon menyebutkan bahwasanya aku menjadi juara kedua lomba esai dari kampus terkait pengalaman studi di Taiwan dan NCCU dan diminta untuk mempresentasikan esaiku tersebut. MaasyaAllah, Alhamdulillah. Setelah kucari-cari, ternyata pengumuman pemenang diposting di SINI.
Hari H presentasi pun tiba. Walo sempet terjadi mis-communication (karena ada perubahan jam dan lokasi presentasi, aku baru tahu di detik-detik terakhir), akhirnya bisa sampai juga dengan bermandikan keringat (mantep juga lari-lari :p). Dan yang lebih parahnya lagi, karena tanpa persiapan yang benar-benar perfect, aku hanya bermodalkan “public speaking” tanpa slide presentasi dalam menyampaikan kesan selama studi di NCCU (ckckck… not good. Should be better, next time XD).
This’s my first time to won a writing competition. Sebelumnya, aku hanya menulis paper akademik buat konferensi atau nge-blog aja. Kagak pernah diikutin lomba. hehehe… Alhamdulillah, memang segala sesuatu perlu niat yang kuat untuk melangkahkan kaki ke sebuah pengalaman pertama. Semoga ke depannya semakin bersemangat untuk menulis gak cuma untuk blog dan akademik, tapi juga untuk lomba, media massa – traveling, etc. aamiin. Smangaaat :D! Here’s my essay regarding my life reflection for these 1 years 2 months studying in NCCU and Taiwan!
Time flies so fast. It’s been more than one year since my coming to Taiwan last year for pursuing two years master program in IMAS. Why I’m studying in Taiwan and NCCU? My previous education was International Relations (majoring East Asian studies) and post-graduate program of Japanese Studies. Since the beginning, I have strong passion and curiosity on East Asian studies in interdisciplinary context. As we know that this regional has a very great history of civilization.
When I read this program, I found that IMAS NCCU has a comprehensive curriculum on Asia Pacific Studies, specifically in East Asian Studies, that is suitable with my study focus and passion. That is why; I am highly motivated to continue my study in IMAS NCCU Taiwan. Having an IMAS degree from NCCU will help me to broaden my perspective and knowledge, and also increase my capability to be a qualified lecturer and East Asian studies expert.
It’s already one year since my coming to Taipei. During this time, I’m trying to reflect what I’ve got, learned and experienced from my daily life in Taiwan. I feel that what I believe in the concept of education (emphasizing knowledge, growing the maturity and developing the good manners) is can be reach during my study in NCCU.
There is thousands of emotion I’d felt here, but one thing that can I said, everything is really meaningful for me and I’m feel very grateful to be here, in Taipei and NCCU to get these life experiences. Why? Here are the reasons:
Found My Passion in Anthropology
It is my great happiness to find my truly passion on studying, finally. Actually, it’s been a long time that I like anthropological-things, but I don’t know what the exact name of the study. Then, I got a chance to take several courses in IMAS that discussed about the study of human and its culture. Anthropology consist of languages, culture, archeology, etc. And it is my biggest luck to be the NCCU students, in which it has very strong culture and studies about anthropology, specifically ethnology. I took class of ethnic minorities in Mainland China, as well as Taiwan indigenous people’s class.
From these classes, I got a chance to visit and see directly the indigenous and minorities’ culture and daily life. My professors bring me into the beautiful and colorful world of various ethnics in the worlds. Of course, these direct experiences really affect me to understand more about multi-cultural background of human being.
Beside of that, Academic life in Taiwan is very enjoyable. I can truly feel the warmness of the people in Taiwan, especially from my lecturers. My learning process is becoming much better since the professor not only teach “theoretically” but also “practically” to the field. Once, my professor brought us to the one of Taiwan indigenous people’s village in Smangus, Hsinchu County. I’m really surprised to know that although the village is located in the top of remote mountain areas, it is totally different from my image about “indigenous”. Here, the professor try to explain (not from text book) about the real life of indigenous society.
From here, I can saw the professionalism and passion of my professor on their field of study. It helps the student to understand the material and also phenomenon from the expert. So, I’m totally agreed that NCCU has very great capacity and competence for its lecturers, as well as excellence on social studies.
Saw Taiwan’s Beauty through My Lens
I’m really grateful for having a chance to stay and live in Taiwan. Here, not only for studying, I also enjoy my daily life; travelling and photo hunting throughout Taiwan. Taiwan has very beautiful and convenient tourism place. I’ve been to all biggest cities in Taiwan, and also participating to some festivals and cultural events throughout the year.
From these experiences, I’ve got precious time to capture the beauty and magnificent Taiwan; both from nature and culture. Photography is not only as a hobby, but also as the media to deliver precious moment that only can be explained through visual; pictures can describe stronger than words.
Experienced Real International and Multi-cultural Environment
Not only in academic matter, had I found that Taiwan and NCCU are very interesting and unique, in terms of its multi-cultural and international atmosphere. Since my first day studying in NCCU, I met many new friends from various countries in the world, especially from Latin America and Pacific Ocean countries.
Even in some cases, I just met the people from certain countries for the first time. I also got the chance to represent my own countries and cultures, so that it is very good for having inter-exchange cultures. One of the ways to have this kind of exchange is by doing discussion. I always becoming very enthusiastic to know and learn new things from my friends. Some of my Taiwanese close friends often to teach me about Taiwanese and Chinese culture. And so does my friends from other countries.
Once, I ever very interested with the vegetarianism in Taiwan. And then, I have very good explanation about the meaning and the ideology behind from various perspectives. My Taiwanese friend also happily explains about Chinese folk religions and Buddhism. This is my first time to know about it from the primary resource. Beside of that, I also got a chance to have a Jewish friend from Russia for the first time. He also explained to me about Jewish dietary laws named Kosher. Even though I ever read about Kosher from the internet before, of course, it always becomes very special to have a direct explanation and information.
Learned to be Minority
The majority of the people in Indonesia, my home country, are Muslim so that, it’s already my comfort zone to be the “majority”. However, here in Taiwan, it’s totally different with my home country, in terms of its culture. Going to outside the home country always challenging for its people; how they adapt, also how they keep their identity. Wearing head scarf (hijab) is not a “strange” or unusual thing in Indonesia. But here, we cannot find so many Muslim and woman that wearing hijab.
Although it is not my first time to go and live abroad, I can say that I got different experience, in terms of living as minority in quite long period. But in my opinion, becoming a minority doesn’t mean that you should close yourself, and only just staying at home.
Last semester, there were some Taiwanese undergraduate students in NCCU who interviewed me to know my life experience and my point of view as Muslim. I’m really surprised to know that they have this assignment from their class. In my opinion, the lecturer must be very encouraging the students to know various things directly from the sources. So that, bias and subjectivity can be minimized through direct interaction. I think it is very good experience from both side, for me and for the society in NCCU and Taiwan to know more various cultures, ethnics, religions, etc.
From it, I learned how to build my self-confidence as myself, whatever my identity is. Here, I can understand the feeling of “becoming minority” so that I can respect more to the people who is “minority” wherever they are. The world is very broad, and there are so many different backgrounds of the people. It is that makes life become very colorful and interesting, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter whether you are minority or majority.
Had a Chance to Contribute to the Society
Since my senior high school time, I really like to have organizational activities. In my opinion, it can help us to grow and exercise our leadership skills. Beside of that, I think it is also important for us, as the student to learn and interact with various societies as the preparation before entering the “real world” in working environment. We know and learn how to deal and handle problems, how to manage your time, as well as how to exercise our communication skill.
That’s why, until know, I believe that wherever I am, I should participate in the society, both in the campus and community. I join several students’ organizations such as NCCU International Association, NCCU Indonesian Student Association, and also some projects and events that organized by the Indonesian students in Taiwan. From the NCCU International Association, I got a chance to meet various international students, and also the community near our campus. I’ve been invited to teach English (voluntarily) for elderly in Muzha Community, and also teach for elementary students in Wanxing Elementary school. It’s really precious moment for having this kind of experience.
As a foreigner, I realized that to understand the Taiwanese culture and society better, I have to participate actively in the community and having direct discussion with them. I believe that we can minimize the misunderstanding or miscommunication among us through this way.
In my opinion, by understanding the other cultures and languages, we can communicate and understand each other which can support the people to people understanding. I’m sure by sharing and discussing, these can help us to broaden our perspective and knowledge. The more experience we will have, the more knowledge we will gain. By gaining more knowledge, we can increase our chance to create a better understanding about others.
From what I’ve mentioned above about my life reflection, I can say that I got so many precious and meaningful moments during my stay in Taiwan, especially in NCCU. I feel the colorful of life here, in which I learned many things; not only for myself, but also for my surrounding. I also realized that to understand each other, we should directly interact with them. And it will be very helpful to make your life more colorful and realize how big our world is, as well as how varies the human being. Thank you Taiwan and NCCU, for welcoming me and be the part of you 🙂