It’s been the craziest of months, or heck, YEARS for me. FULL of lows, but the highs are FINALLY here: I AM moving to INDONESIA, on a FULL-RIDE scholarship. It is OFFICIAL!!! Here’s when I made the announcement to my Facebook fans 2 weeks ago:
I was so busy signing contracts, looking for cheap flights, having serious conversations with my boyfriend and family members, etc. that I couldn’t blog about it until now! And just wait until I tell you, the situation it’s a weee bit crazier than we all expected…
Moving to Indonesia — and a city I had never heard about (until now)
SO! The first thing you’ll notice is that I wasn’t sent to Yogyakarta, my first choice. Heck, I wasn’t even sent to my second choice, which was close to Jakarta. In fact, I was sent to the Muslim University of Malang (Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang), also known as UMM. While I am a Christian, you know I lived over 16 months in North Africa (Egypt and Morocco), so I am quite used to living in a Muslim society. So the fact that they sent me to a Muslim school is not an issue — it will be quite exciting to see the nuances between Muslim Indonesians and Muslim North Africans, actually. But…
I had never heard of Malang. Ever.
It was nowhere in my application: all I talked about was how I interesting UGM’s Bahasa Indonesia program was, due to the mix of field trips and classroom instruction. Furthermore, Yogyakarta is known as the cultural center of Indonesia, which would allow me to delve deep into their customs, traditions, arts, music, DANCE. But like my boyfriend said, be careful what you wish for…! Imagine my shock and mixed emotions when I saw that I was selected, but sent to a campus and city I had never heard of…
I hyperventilated. Freaked out. Cried. I didn’t know how to feel.“What an experience that will be!” yapped my boyfriend, as I stood there, frozen. It wasn’t until he sat me down, gave me a big hug, started looking for pictures, video, ANY INFORMATION he could find about “Malang” that I calmed down — and increasingly restored my excitement for this HUMONGOUS move.
Malang and Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang
My heart was comforted: the more I read about Malang Indonesia, the more I realized how locals and tourists alike LOVED it. Indonesians have nicknamed it “the Paris of East Java” due to its cool air (elevation) and economic prosperity even. It is quite a small city considering what I’m used to, with about 800,000 residents. Still! I did live in Ifrane, Morocco after all, right? Here’s a video of Kota Malang (in the Indonesian language!) to get us acquainted:
What about my new alma mater? Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang (UMM) only has students from Indonesia and 10 other countries (mostly Asian). This means that either Bahasa Indonesia or other languages will be spoken around me. WHOA! 😀 As for the Darmasiswa scholarship program at this university, it is quite unique and even more intensive than my first choice UGM. I will be taking between 16-19 credits, and if I place at the intermediate level as I hope to, I’ll even have to perform at a freakin’ Indonesian Musical as part of my curriculum. How crazy awesome is that?!
It’s the first time I won’t be attending an American University in any shape or form. I’ll truly be in uncharted territory and honestly, I CAN’T WAIT NOW!