2014 New Year resolutions: study in Indonesia and finally discover ASIA!

Hiiiiiii! *Waves energetically* Indeed, I’m so excited by the development of my 2014 New Year resolutions this past week! As some of you know, I’ve been struggling with some issues + in-between jobs for most of 2013, so I’m certainly looking forward to the new year. And so, it was during one of those “I have no idea where my life is going” moments that I remembered 2 items that have been buried deep within my travel bucket list for way too long:

To study in Indonesia and finally discover ASIA

2014 New Year resolutions, Yogyakarta volcano

Volcano in Yogyakarta

But, HOW? I’m living off savings as we speak. I’m back home with my parents. And then it occurred to me…

There’s a SCHOLARSHIP to study Bahasa Indonesia in-country! YES!

I scoured my computer and all online backup storage websites I’ve signed up for in order to find it. And I did. In fact, I found TWO scholarships: one that would whisk me away, all-expenses-paid, for 3 months, not only to learn the Indonesian language but also to delve deep into the culture, learning more about their traditional dances; while the other would allow me to study Bahasa Indonesia for an entire YEAR, my only expenses being my medical insurance and RT airfare.

learn Bahasa Indonesia, 2014 New Year resolutions

Bahasa Indonesia sign (Indonesian language) at Prambanan Temple by Remon Rijper

I couldn’t wait until January 1st to get started on these 2014 New Year resolutions, though! In less than 10 days, I got 2 of the 3 recommendation letters I need and most of the application packet contents. I’m just waiting to hear back from one professor of mine, to get my passport photos taken, and to update my resume.

…and another opportunity to break my heart into tiny little pieces…

mend broken heart, 2014 New Year resolutions

Another 2014 New Year resolution? Mend a broken heart—& dreams [Photo: Romana Klee]

It’s so weird: I’ve been through so many disappointments, broken dreams lately that there’s this seething, new-found fear within me whenever I plan BIG. Once again, there’s an “application process.” Once again, here I am all thrilled only to possibly be in tears in a couple of months’ time. I can fight it, I’m strong—but it also gets tiring.

I would like to think that it gets a bit easier though. At least applying for scholarships is something that I’ve done before (quite successfully! That’s how I studied for an entire year in Egypt—all expenses paid). It’s not some stupid contest based on whether they like me in front of the camera or not. It’s based on solid facts: my experiences, my GPA (suddenly, those honor program diplomas are worth something!). So let’s hope I have a better chance at these 2014 New Year resolutions…

SO! Let’s DREAM! Where would I be going if I’m a selected scholar?!

Sewu Temple, 2014 new year resolutions

Sewu Temple, Yogyakarta by Ferian-pz, Flickr

Yogyakarta, a student town + epicenter of Javanese arts and culture

My biggest dream would be to be awarded the one-year scholarship. My top choice is the University of Gadjah Mada (UGM), as it is one of the most prestigious Bahasa Indonesia programs in the country, in addition to being located in Yogyakarta, a student town with over 100 other colleges PLUS the epicenter of Javanese arts and culture. I hear from locals and experts alike that it’s such a great environment: lots and lots to do, full of artists, not as crowded, etc.

Dian Al-Mahri mosque, 2014 new year resolutions

Dian Al-Mahri mosque in Depok, West Java by GedhangGoreng, Flickr

Depok, close to the capital and home of University of Indonesia

I’m not that thrilled about my 2nd choice, but I hear it’s an excellent Bahasa Indonesia program as well. I keep hearing horror stories about Jakarta (and Depok on weekends) though: much pollution, chaos. It eerily reminds me of Cairo though and how I lived an entire year there. It was a love-hate relationship, but some love there regardless. So let’s see where the universe takes me…!

discover Asia Golden Triangle, 2014 new year resolutions

not going to talk about the Golden Triangle now: these are just countries I want to visit, discover Asia in 2014! 😉 [Photo: mikkelz, Flickr]

Discover Asia: Hong Kong, Thailand, Burma, Singapore

If I get the one-year scholarship, that means I would have to take care of my own airfare. We frequent flyers know that it’s cheaper to buy a multi-stop ticket than a round-trip ticket sooo…! Time to DISCOVER ASIA! Yay! I would probably leave a month in advance, going to Hong Kong (2-3 days), Thailand (2 weeks), Burma (1 week), Laos (2 days), and Singapore (2-3 days) before landing on Indonesia. That’s assuming I already know which boarding house I’ll be staying at…

South Sulawesi Beach, study in Indonesia

Another reason to study in Indonesia: the beautiful beaches of South Sulawesi [Photo: Thomas Blower, Flickr]

Sulawesi or Javanese dancing? That is the question…

As far as the 3-month arts and culture scholarship goes, I’m between learning about the South Sulawesi or Javanese. The more I look into Sulawesi though, the more I’m intrigued! In comparison to Java, it is so remote, so gorgeous, amazing diving… And, since I might be living in Yogyakarta, I might as well check out Southern Sulawesi for 3 months! Here I am, already assuming I got both the 3-month and the regular one year scholarships back-to-back… Why do I have to be such a dreamer?!

study in Indonesia, South Sulawesi architecture

South Sulawesi architecture exhibit inside a ‘theme park’ in Jakarta by Joseph Younis, Flickr

What are your top 2014 New Year resolutions? Why?

37 thoughts on “2014 New Year resolutions: study in Indonesia and finally discover ASIA!

  1. Best of luck, Maria!! I’m going through a very similar (actually almost the exact same) situation right now – in between jobs, lots of “where is my life going” moments and tired of disappointments. We need to just keep going, we’re tough women and can get through anything! I wish you all the best in 2014 darling!

  2. Bagus! Best wishes for success. I lived on Bali in 2010 and had a blast learning Bahasa Indonesia. If you’d like to get a head start, I’d like to recommend learningindonesian.com, where you can get free lessons or pay for the full program (which I loved). They were fun and easy.

    • thanks for the tip, Linda! I was wondering whether the paid program of that website was good or not: now I know! 😀 best wishes in the new year

  3. Happy New Year and best wishes on the year ahead! I’m spending NYE re-listening to some interviews of a military officer who was battling cancer (now deceased). I found him to be incredibly inspiring. A couple of quotes that I wrote down that I thought might help me get the most out of the year ahead:

    “Victories and losses in life are often a muddled mess of earned and unearned ups and undeserved downs with both obvious and mysterious causes.”

    “You’ve got to have goals! Even if they’re ambitious. I like to say that I have high aspirations, but low expectations. You will be happy at every single turn of your life. I’m just gonna set the goal high (its gotta be realistic) and then i’m gonna just work like mad to achieve it. And if I don’t make it, well, it won’t be for lack of trying. And for me that’s always worked. My best has been good enough.”


    • thanks for the kind words, Wade! I have always thrived to set very ambitious goals, as they give great meaning to my life. And as you said, if they don’t work out, I know it wasn’t for lack of trying! 😉 Many blessings and goal achievements in 2014 😀

  4. Hi Maria Alexandra, congratulations on your scholarship in Indonesia! How wonderful is that – you don’t only get to study for free you also get to travel. I’m so excited for you. I look forward to read about your journey in Indonesia and Asia.
    Happy New Year! I’m glad yours is starting great already!

    • well, I’ll take that as a premonition Marisol, as I haven’t been awarded the scholarship yet! 😉 I’m still in the process of applying. Really hope it works out though…! I’m craving for massive changes and discoveries in this new year 2014 🙂 blessings to you and your family!

  5. Best of luck to you on the scholarships. I’ve studied a bit of Bahasa Melayu (Malaysian) which is very similar, and I think it’s one of the easier languages to learn since the rules are not that complicated. Funnily enough, my high school Spanish lessons pop into my head before the Melayu does whenever I try to speak it. You should consider stopping by Malaysia while you’re there. Kuching in Borneo is very interesting (headhunters and orangutans), plus there’s my adopted island of Penang.

    • sounds wonderful, Michele! I might actually have a stopover in Kuala Lumpur, as it seems like my international ticket will be cheaper with that addition 😉 let’s hope I’m one of the selected ones, I’m so excited about this entire trip/experience already!

      Merry Christmas and a happy new year, btw 🙂

  6. Hey Maria, so glad to hear you are coming to Indonesia! I’ve been here for several months now (Jogja is home and I highly recommend it) and have started learning Bahasa — even tweeting about half the time in bhs. Be great to have any blogger to practice with. I’ve built up a bit of a friends and readers here and am hoping to try and write my first article in bhs next month. Technically I guess that’s my new years resolution 🙂

    Hopefully we can cross paths while you’re here. I’m in Jakarta right now, it’s where the non-cultural fun is (just did a TV game show and already have one film under my belt)…if you know the locals at least. Hated Jakarta until I made friends here. I’ll probably be bouncing around the rest of Indonesia again for a good part of 2014, albeit with periodic short vacations to nearby countries as well. Let me know if you need anything oh and check out my blog for A LOT of recent information about Indonesia 😉

    • thank you so much Derek! In fact, the scholarship application asks for an emergency contact in Indonesia… Might have to use you for the time being! haha 😉 I don’t know anyone that I have met in person there, so until I do, could you please help me? *puppy eyes* haha 😀

      That’s so cool that you are in Indonesia on a similar path to the one I’m dreaming of now. Would be so cool to cross paths again! I’ve been reading your blogs about Indonesia and it looks so interesting, I really hope the scholarship goes through! Otherwise, my current financial situation would prevent me from going there in 2014. 🙁 so let’s see what the universe has in store! Merry Christmas and a very happy new year 🙂

  7. wow this sounds like an amazing opportunity. I hope that your dreams come true and that you are selected.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and thank you for stopping by my blog this week. ps – I hope you bought a Christmas tree!

    • Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you too, Jill! So cute of you to ask–yes, right on Christmas Eve, mom got a cute little wall tree that even had jingle bells hanging from it. Much better than nothing! Was so happy to see it, like a little kid hehe 🙂 ( best of all, my little nephew didn’t destroy it, like we anticipated! lol)

  8. Good luck with the scholarships and let me know when you’re here! 😉

    Personally, I would vote for your plan of doing the language program in Yogyakarta and the culture one in South Sulawesi… Jakarta could be a weekend trip!

    • so nice to hear that my choices are exactly the ones you recommend, Aiko! 😉 😀 I hope the government of Indonesia thinks so too, haha!

      Merry Christmas and a happy new year! Will definitely let you know if I’m one of the chosen ones 🙂

  9. This sounds like a great opportunity! Wishing you the best of luck and I hope 2014 treats you better. Indonesia has always sounded exotic to me. Once you’re in Asia, those airfares are cheap too. Sending you good vibes and I hope you get it.

    • I know right? So looking forward to it, specially the fact that I’ll be able to afford to see SO much of Asia once there! Good vibes back to you and happy new year!

    • that’s so true, fear being so powerful. But you know what they say: “if you don’t take risks, you’ll have a wasted soul”!

    • thank you Noel! Are flights cheap from Indonesia btw? Since you say it will be such a great base to explore the continent, I’m curious to know.

      Merry Christmas!

  10. Good for you for dreaming big! This is your one short life and it’s now or never – that’s how I see it. Wishing you the best of luck with your applications. Don’t stress – everything works out exactly the way it’s supposed to. Indonesia has been on my list for some time now!

    • that’s true, Dana. Although it’s hard to have things “work out the way they’re supposed to” when they are really big dreams of yours that you want to happen NOW! 😉 I’m just a little impatient haha 😛

      Yet…somehow…I have a really really good feeling about this! *Fingers crossed* maybe you can even come visit me in Indonesia when it happens! 😀

  11. I hope this works out for you Maria! I’ve been learning the basics of Bahasa Indonesia for a month in Bali and I can tell you, it’s a fun language to learn! Fingers crossed! 🙂

    • yah! I’ve already spent some time exploring the language and it looks so cool–plus, surprisingly, easy to learn! so ALL limbs crossed** haha

    • I know Corinne! Thanks for the good vibes, I really hope I get it. I would have such WONDERFUL new stories to tell you guys! 😉 😀

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