Birthday Celebration Number 3: Converting to Islam, Malaysia, and Bird Park!

Obviously the celebrations from my boyfriend are endless, it keeps continuing (not that I complain hahaha).

For the third celebration, we did a lot of things together.

First, my boyfriend is converting to Islam. It is so far the best present he could ever give me. He was a Roman Catholic, and though he was never a religious person, I knew he cared about religion. That is why, him wanting to convert to my religion so that we can have the future together means a lot to me.

We went to The Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore together. There, we joined an introduction class about Islam. He still has 10 more beginner courses about the Pillars of Faith, the Pillars of Islam, and the Prayer. After that, he will do the ritual of converting. I am so happy, especially because Ramadan (the Fasting month) is coming, I thought there is no better time to introduce him about Islam. Please keep us in your thought and prayer so that everything will go smoothly 🙂

For those who want to know more about the beginner course about Islam in Singapore, you can check out this website:


Second, right after the Islamic course ended, we took a journey crossing the border of Malaysia to go to Johor Bahru, for the sake of watching Indonesian movie that did not come out in Singapore. Crazy, right? To my defense, though, this movie is legendary. The first part of the movie came out 14 years ago, when I was still a kid. That movie became a trend for teenagers’ love in Indonesia. The director and producer finally decided to make a sequel to that movie, which is pretty similar with the case of “Before Sunrise”, “Before Sunset”, and “Before Midnight”. The movie’s title is “Ada Apa dengan Cinta?” which literally translated to “What’s Up with Love?” We were so lucky because in Malaysia, that movie has English subtitle so my boyfriend can understand the storyline.


Third, for the following day, my boyfriend gave me a present of the tickets to go to Jurong Bird Park. It was so amazing to see different types of bird in a lot of interesting exhibitions and shows. They named the exhibitions uniquely, such as Wings of Asia, Dinosaur Descendants, Jungle Jewels Flight Aviary, Lory Loft, Parrots Paradise, Swan Lake, Penguin Coast, World of Darkness, etc. They also have Waterfall Aviary, which is the largest interpretation of a pristine slice of the tropical rainforest in the world with 13-stories high and 2 hectares wide. We watched two amazing shows, The High Flyers Show and The Kings of The Skies Show. We also had special buffet lunch with parrots.

Don’t tell my boyfriend, but I think birds are pretty cool, aren’t they? :p



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Birthday Celebration Number 2: Bintan Island!

It’s the full trip 3 days 2 nights to Bintan Lagoon Resort, an amazing resort in Bintan Island, Indonesia which is facing towards the South China Sea.

My boyfriend and I went there for the May-day long weekend to relax and get ourselves out of the hustle bustle Singapore for a while.

Bintan Island is the perfect weekend getaway destination for those who live/work/study in Singapore because it is just an hour away by ferry.

Highlights of our trip to Bintan Lagoon Resort:

  • Very good service! (We were allowed to have early check-in and late check-out depending on our ferry tickets)
  • They provide in-land transportation, so when we got to the ferry terminal, they already have the bus waiting for us to take us to the resort.
  • The resort pretty much has everything, from variety of restaurants, their own nightclub, karaoke lounge, two family pools, wonderful in-room dining services, massage on the beach, large beautiful driving range (for golf), gym, a lot of activities (archery, batik painting, guided tours, etc.) and their own private beach.
  • We got free photoshoot!!!!!
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Birthday Celebration Number 1: Dinner, Presents, Cakes, and All Those Stuffs!

I had the best birthday ever this year!

My birthday was on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 but I got a whole month celebration planned by my boyfriend. That is why the title of today’s post is number one, because there will be couple more hahaha.

My birthday started off normally. We stayed until midnight watching our most favourite TV shows, Game of Thrones, which on that day the premier of season 6 was aired for the first time globally. We also talked a lot about our future plans. At midnight, my boyfriend became the first person to wish me happy birthday.

Then at the office, my colleagues took me to have claypot for lunch. It was my first time having claypot even though it’s been quite sometimes for me to stay in Singapore. Obviously I did not live as a local Singaporean enough hahaha. The claypot rice was sooo nice.

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When my boss was having a meeting, all my colleagues gathered in the front room of the office, brought a cake for me. I made the wishes and blew the candles. After that, they gave me one present, which turned out to be….. my favourite eau de toilette from Versace!!! Yeayyyy thank you all! The cake was also very nice, it was nutella cake with white chocolate…mmmm…yummy!

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But the real celebration of my birthday was just about to start. My boyfriend took me to a fancy Italian restaurant up on the 43rd floor of Ocean Financial Centre along Singapore Central Business District. The restaurant is called Zaferrano, and they have the perfect combination of mouth-watering menu and the majestic view of Singapore and Marina Bay waterfront. Oh, and don’t even mention their choices of wine. It felt like I was taken to the heart of Italy for one night.

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My boyfriend then gave me a box, which had all my birthday presents inside. I will not tell you here all of the presents, because most of them will be included in the next couple posts about my birthday celebrations hehe.

I will reveal one present though, that is the book of journey of love, created by my boyfriend. The book consists of the compilation of all the pictures we took throughout our time together, from our first meeting, to the trip in Indonesia, to the trip in Barcelona, to our current life in Singapore, and to the family trips in Thailand. The pictures show me how happy we are when we are together, and that there are still a lot more places we want to discover together.


After the wonderful dinner, we head back home, only for me to realize that my boyfriend already decorated my home with full of balloons! Oh how sweet! He even remembered how much I like to play with balloons hahaha

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Just when I thought the day was over, my boyfriend came with the cake and candles, making me wishing that I would be that happy for the rest of the year.

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April 26, 2016…

I learned…

That crying is not the sign of weakness at all.


I learned…

That someone who cries a lot, but they keep fighting for the things they believe in is much stronger than someone who never cries, but pull themselves out of the situation without even trying to find the solutions.


I learned…

That broken hearts can turn an angel into an evil.


I learned…

That at some points in life, we need to seek the help from other people, even if it is only to pour out what you have been keeping inside your heart.


I learned…

That we cannot change the past, nor can we erase it. What we can do is to accept it the way it is.


I learned…

That life has always had the bright side and the dark side. And we always have the power to see things from whichever side we want to.


I learned…

That life is not a fairytale, and it will never be. There is no such thing as happily ever after. There will be challenges, failures, tears, arguments, broken hearts….and death. But there will also be love, affection, success…and happiness. We cannot choose what we will get, but we can choose how we can get through it.


I learned…

That bad things happen to everybody, whether you are a good person or a bad one. So there is no point in asking why. All we can do is to accept it, embrace the pain that comes along with it, and then learn to toughen up.


I learned…

That sometimes we learn the lessons better through hard times. Guys will understand how much they love their girls after they lose them, successful entrepreneurs become like who they are now because they made wrong decisions before, and so on…. Maybe it is time to open up to the hard times and face it with courage.


I learned…

That long distance relationship is so fucked up. I will not recommend it to anyone, nor will I encourage my friends to go through this path. But one thing I want them to know, it is worth it. The journey is painful, but the reward at the end of the path is also bigger.


I learned…

That forgiving is the hardest and most painful thing a person needs to deal with. Lies within the act of forgiving is hundreds of sleepless nights, memory of betrayal, and the scars no one else can see.  Never underestimate the effort that someone does to forgive your mistakes.


I learned…

That the worst thing you can say to other people is “I lied for your own good”. The harsh truth is, white lies are still lies. There will always be someone bearing the consequences.


I learned…

That the cause of broken relationships is not the lack of love, but the presence of uncertainty. Relationships need commitment and a lot of hardworks. It is easier to walk away than to endure all the hardworks that sometimes we are not even sure will be paid off.


I learned…

That everyone makes mistakes. Just like life is not a fairytale, sadly I also just realized that nobody is perfect.  I guess I had very high expectations on everyone around me, it took me some times to open my eyes and adjust to reality. But I’m getting there.


I learned…

That moving on is a choice. You cannot force it. The realization that you want to move on is actually already one kind of moving on.


I learned…

That sometimes we need to fake the laugh until it becomes real.


I learned…

That happiness comes in different ways. I am grateful to still be able to breathe and pursue my dreams in this big world until today. Therefore, I am happy.


Happy 24th birthday, dear self!

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Perjuangan Mendapatkan AFS/YES Scholarship (Khusus Untuk Anak SMA)

Haloooo terima kasih banyak untuk responnya yang sangat positif terhadap artikel berbahasa Indonesia pertamaku yaaa, kalian semua hebat! Pasti kalian yang baca adalah kalian yang berminat dan berniat mencari beasiswa, untuk mewujudkan mimpi kalian kuliah di luar negeri, semoga kalian semua sukses dan kita sama-sama bisa menggapai apa yang kita impikan. Amin.

Nah blogpost kali ini kembali akan aku tulis dalam Bahasa Indonesia, temanya juga masih tentang beasiswa, hanya saja kali ini ditujukan untuk siswa/siswi SMA di Indonesia. Jadi, kalau kalian sudah tidak duduk di bangku SMA lagi atau tidak bersekolah di Indonesia, mohon maaf blogpost ini tidak relevan untuk kalian. Tapi aku harap semuanya bisa menikmati dan menyerap sedikit informasi dari apa yang aku tulis. Kenyataannya, karakteristik penerima beasiswa itu tidak pernah terlalu berbeda satu sama lain, buktinya waktu SMA aku mendapatkan YES Scholarship dan waktu kuliah aku dapat beasiswa ke NUS. Walaupun sekarang aku memutuskan untuk mencari pengalaman kerja terlebih dahulu, tapi aku harap suatu saat nanti aku bisa melanjutkan pendidikan di jenjang yang lebih tinggi juga dengan bantuan beasiswa.

Baiklah, ini saatnya kita masuk ke inti topik pembicaraan.

Apa itu sebenarnya AFS/YES Scholarship?

Merujuk pada website Bina Antarbudaya (partner AFS di Indonesia), AFS Intercultural Program, Inc. adalah suatu organisasi non-governmental dan non-profit berbasis internasional yang menjadi wadah untuk memberikan kesempatan bagi para siswa yang ingin belajar dan memahami lebih jauh mengenai perbedaan budaya dengan tujuan untuk menciptakan perdamaian dunia.  Melalui organisasi ini, para siswa akan dikirimkan ke berbagai negara untuk tinggal selama kurang lebih satu tahun bersama host family dan belajar di sekolah lokal. Tidak hanya itu, para siswa yang dikirim untuk program ini juga diharapkan dapat mempromosikan budaya serta nilai-nilai dari negara asalnya. Negara tujuan program AFS ini sangat beragam, mulai dari Negara-negara di benua Asia, Eropa, hingga Amerika.

Sementara itu, YES Scholarship (saat ini lebih dikenal dengan sebutan Kennedy-Lugar Youth and Exchange Scholarship) adalah program full-scholarship dari US Department of State (Pemerintah Amerika Serikat) yang ditujukan kepada siswa-siswa dari Negara bermayoritas penduduk Muslim dengan tujuan menjembatani perbedaan pandangan di kalangan penduduk Amerika dan penduduk Muslim setelah terjadinya peristiwa 11 September di Amerika Serikat. Di Indonesia, beasiswa ini juga diatur oleh Bina Antarbudaya. Karena mendapat full scholarship dari pemerintah Amerika, tentu saja Negara tujuan beasiswa ini hanyalah Amerika Serikat. Satu hal yang perlu dicatat, meskipun beasiswa ini ditujukan kepada Negara yang bermayoritas Muslim, namun penerima beasiswanya tidak harus Muslim. Aku punya beberapa teman yang berasal dari ras Chinese, banyak juga yang beragama Kristen, Hindu, Buddha yang menerima beasiswa ini. Yang penting adalah nilai-nilai yang akan dibawa ke Amerika Serikat nanti adalah nilai asli dari Negara kita tercinta yang akan mencerminkan bagaimana sebenarnya kehidupan dan budaya di Indonesia, terutama karena Negara kita merupakan Negara dengan jumlah penduduk Muslim terbesar di dunia.


Siapa saja yang boleh mendaftar untuk AFS/YES Scholarship?

Seperti yang sudah aku sampaikan di awal post, beasiswa ini terbuka untuk siswa/siswi SMA di Indonesia. Akan tetapi, yang boleh mendaftar hanyalah yang masih duduk di bangku kelas 1 SMA, dan ada persyaratan umur yang harus dipenuhi. Dengan kata lain, kalau kamu kecepetan masuk sekolah (atau misalnya kamu mengikuti program percepatan ketika SD atau SMP) atau kamu telat masuk sekolah, mungkin range umur ini tidak bisa kamu penuhi dan kamu tidak eligible lagi untuk mendaftar program ini meskipun kamu masih duduk di kelas 1 SMA.

Tesnya sendiri akan berlangsung sekitar 1 tahun, ditambah dengan persiapan visa dan lain-lain, maka walaupun tesnya diikuti ketika kamu duduk di kelas 1 SMA, namun kamu akan berangkat ke Negara tujuan biasanya ketika kamu naik ke kelas 3 SMA.

Selain itu, ada satu syarat yang harus diingat oleh semua peserta tes beasiswa: semua siswa yang lulus tes dan akan berangkat ke Negara tujuan, setelah 1 tahun di Negara tersebut, harus pulang ke Indonesia dan mengulang kembali kelas yang ditinggalkan di Indonesia (yaitu kelas 3 SMA). Ya, dengan kata lain, para penerima beasiswa ini akan memiliki 4 tahun masa SMA. Lantas apa aku menyesal? Jawabannya adalah tidak sama sekali! Aku bangga dengan prestasiku mendapatkan beasiswa ini, dan aku bangga dengan perubahan yang aku dapat ketika kembali dari Amerika Serikat. Tidak semua orang bisa mendapatkan pengalaman berharga sekali seumur hidup ini, dan dengan bangga saat ini aku bisa berkata bahwa aku bahkan lulus lebih dahulu dari universitas dibandingkan teman-temanku yang lulus SMA 3 tahun, dan aku lulus dengan lebih banyak prestasi dibandingkan mereka semua.  Kak Anies Baswedan yang juga merupakan alumni program ini (sekarang menjabat sebagai Menteri Pendidikan Indonesia dan merupakan founder dari Gerakan Indonesia Mengajar) pernah berkata bahwa anak-anak program AFS/YES ini layaknya ketapel, ditarik ke belakang sedikit untuk dilemparkan sejauh-jauhnya. Aku pun dengan yakin bisa berkata bahwa program AFS/YES bisa membuka banyak pintu kesempatan untukku baik dalam pendidikan maupun dunia kerja.


Bagaimana cara mendaftar untuk mengikuti seleksi AFS/YES?

Semua persyaratan dan cara pendaftaran bisa dilihat di official website Bina Antarbudaya berikut ini:


Apa saja tes nya dan apakah ada tips and tricks untuk menghadapi tes tersebut?

Seleksi beasiswa AFS/YES terbagi ke dalam seleksi tahap chapter, dan seleksi nasional.

Jika kalian masih bertanya-tanya apa itu chapter, chapter adalah kantor perwakilan Bina Antarbudaya di berbagai kota di Indonesia. Jadi kalian tidak perlu sampai jauh-jauh ke Jakarta untuk mendaftar beasiswa ini kalau kalian tinggal di Sulawesi, karena akan ada kantor perwakilan yang lebih dekat ke kalian. Kalian bisa check chapter-chapter tersebut di website Bina Antarbudaya.

Seleksi tahap chapter terbagi menjadi 3, yaitu tahap 1 (tertulis), tahap 2 (interview), dan tahap 3 (dinamika kelompok).

Tahap 1:

Di dalam tahap ini, ada 3 rangkaian tes yang harus kita jalani, yaitu tes tertulis pengetahuan umum, tes tertulis bahasa Inggris, dan tes  mengarang bahasa Indonesia. Tes tertulis pengetahuan umum dan bahasa Inggris semuanya berbentuk pilihan ganda. Untuk pengetahuan umum, materi yang diujikan adalah isu umum, bukan materi pelajaran tertentu. Mungkin akan ada beberapa soal yang terkait materi pelajaran, tetapi kebanyakan soalnya bisa kita ketahui melalui rajin membaca koran atau menonton berita mengenai isu yang sedang up to date. Misalnya di tahunku, soal pengetahuan umum yang keluar itu tentang beberapa ibukota atau  lagu kebangsaan Negara di dunia, hingga nama penulis Ayat-Ayat Cinta. Mungkin bisa dipersiapkan juga tanggal-tanggal bersejarah (tidak hanya yang dipelajari di mata pelajaran sejarah, tapi juga peristiwa penting lainnya misalnya pengeboman World Trade Center, tsunami di Aceh, dll.), tokoh-tokoh penting Indonesia dan mancanegara, hingga buku maupun film yang sedang ramai dibicarakan saat ini. Karena beberapa tahun sebelum aku ikut seleksi beasiswa ini, soal yang ditanyakan adalah mengenai penulis novel The Lord of The Rings. Selalu waspada dengan keadaan sekitar, dan carilah informasi sebanyak-banyaknya tentang apapun yang saat ini tengah terjadi. Untuk tes tertulis bahasa Inggris, jangan pernah takut karena merasa bahasa Inggris kalian masih jelek, karena soalnya pun tidak akan terlalu advanced. Kalau kalian sudah pernah mengikuti tes TOEFL atau semacamnya, percayalah, tes ini tidak ada apa-apanya. Yang ditanyakan pun adalah standard basic bahasa Inggris dan grammar. Tetapi, saranku adalah tetap dipersiapkan dengan baik dan selalu berhati-hati dalam menjawab. Jangan pula lantas kalian menjadi terlalu percaya diri. Untuk mengarang dalam bahasa Indonesia, kalian akan diberikan pilihan beberapa tema, cukup pilih salah satu dan buatlah tulisan yang berisikan examples dan evidences. Misalnya kalian bilang kalau kalian memiliki leadership skill yang kuat, lantas apa buktinya? Contoh-contoh kegiatan yang kalian ikuti atau role yang kalian pegang akan sangat membantu jika kalian tuliskan disini.


Tahap 2:

Terdapat 2 macam interview di tahap ini, yaitu interview bahasa Inggris dan interview kepribadian (bahasa Indonesia). Sekali lagi aku tekankan kalau kalian tidak perlu takut dengan kemampuan bahasa Inggris kalian. Ada banyak sekali teman-temanku yang tidak bisa lancar berbahasa Inggris pada saat keberangkatan, tetapi begitu pulang, bahasa Inggris mereka bahkan mendekati expert. Kemudian aku yakin akan timbul pertanyaan, lantas bagaimana mereka bisa lulus tahap interview bahasa Inggris? Jawabannya adalah melalui keyakinan dan tekad kuat untuk belajar yang tersirat dari body language serta usaha kalian untuk berbicara dalam bahasa Inggris, walaupun terbata-bata. Para interviewer amat sangat menghargai usaha dari para calon penerima beasiswa, jadi jika kalian memang punya niat untuk berusaha maka tunjukkanlah, dan usaha kalian itu yang akan dinilai. Aku juga merasa perlu mengingatkan para calon penerima beasiswa yang mengikuti interview kepribadian bahwa kalian harus menunjukkan diri kalian yang sebenarnya dalam interview tersebut, jangan dibuat-buat, jangan menghafalkan jawaban orang lain. Karena percaya ataupun tidak, berdasarkan pengalamanku sebagai salah satu interviewer, akan sangat terlihat siswa mana yang menjawab berdasarkan pengalamannya sendiri dan mana yang sudah mendengar soal dari orang lain dan kemudian mengikuti jawaban orang tersebut. Beasiswa ini mencari siswa/siswi Indonesia yang mau bekerja keras, mudah beradaptasi, berani menerima perubahan, terbuka terhadap perbedaan, dan mandiri. Karena jujur saja, tidak akan mudah hidup sendiri di Negara lain di usia yang masih sangat muda jika kita tidak memiliki sifat-sifat yang disebutkan tadi. Sifat-sifat tersebut yang ingin interviewer gali dari para calon penerima beasiswa melalui interview kepribadian.


Tahap 3:

Tahap ini disebut seleksi dinamika kelompok, karena berbeda dari dua tahap sebelumnya dimana para siswa menjalani tes secara individual, di tes tahap ketiga mereka semua akan digabung membentuk beberapa kelompok kecil yang beranggotakan 4-5 orang (terkadang lebih, tergantung banyaknya siswa yang lulus ke tahap ketiga di chapter bersangkutan).  Setiap kelompok akan mendapatkan satu paket yang bersegel dan baru akan dibuka pada saat kelompok tersebut telah berada di ruangan. Di dalamnya, ada berbagai alat dan bahan prakarya dengan hanya satu instruksi: kalian diberikan waktu 30 menit untuk membuat sesuatu dari bahan-bahan yang tersedia, kemudian 30 menit berikutnya presentasikan hasil karya kalian tersebut di hadapan juri. It is up to your group’s discussion what to made, who doing what, and who to present. Disini yang dinilai adalah leadership skill kalian, apakah kalian berinisiatif dan mampu memimpin, apakah kalian mau mendengar pendapat orang lain, apakah kalian bisa bekerja dalam sebuah kelompok, semua hal itu akan terlihat melalui tes ini.


Jika kalian lulus ketiga tahap tes tersebut, hasil rekapitulasi nilai akan dikirimkan oleh sekretariat chapter masing-masing ke sekretariat kantor nasional Bina Antarbudaya. Disini, akan ditentukan siapa saja yang berhak mengikuti seleksi berikutnya untuk mendapatkan beasiswa YES, dan siapa saja yang namanya akan diajukan untuk  program AFS. Khusus bagi para siswa yang diajukan untuk menerima beasiswa YES, mereka akan dipanggil ke Jakarta untuk mengikuti seleksi nasional. Bagi siswa yang diajukan untuk program AFS, proses berikutnya lebih ke arah proses berkas, namun aku tidak terlalu paham apa saja prosesnya karena dulu aku mengikuti seleksi nasional untuk beasiswa YES, jadi bagi yang cenderung lebih memilih AFS, ada baiknya nanti menanyakan hal ini ke pihak chapter atau kantor nasional Bina Antarbudaya langsung.

Seleksi nasional tidak jauh berbeda dari seleksi tingkat chapter. Ada tes tertulis bahasa Inggris, interview kepribadian dan interview bahasa Inggris, serta dinamika kelompok. Bedanya, di seleksi nasional ini kalian juga akan dikarantina dan bertemu dengan teman-teman dari seluruk pelosok Indonesia yang pastinya berasal dari berbagai background, disinilah kemampuan beradaptasi dan kemandirian kalian akan turut diuji.

Demikian proses yang harus dilalui dalam perjuangan mendapatkan AFS/YES Scholarship. Berat, tetapi hasil yang didapat jauh lebih berharga.

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Meraih Beasiswa ke National University of Singapore


Ini akan menjadi blogpost pertama yang aku tulis dalam Bahasa Indonesia dengan tujuan agar informasi yang ingin aku sampaikan melalui blogpost ini dapat diserap dengan baik oleh teman-teman yang berada di Indonesia, dan karena memang informasi ini khusus ditujukan bagi para mahasiswa/mahasiswi di Tanah Air tercinta.  Mohon maaf jika nantinya kalian membaca tulisan ini agak aneh , karena sejujurnya  aku tidak pernah menulis blogpost dalam Bahasa Indonesia sebelumnya, dan memang dalam hal menulis, aku merasa lebih nyaman menggunakan Bahasa Inggris.

Sesuai seperti judul blogpost, disini aku akan menerangkan dengan rinci bagaimana proses seleksi beasiswa yang aku dapatkan ke NUS, dan karakter seperti apa yang harus kalian tunjukkan jika ingin terpilih sebagai penerima beasiswa.

Pertama, bagi yang belum tahu, beasiswa yang aku dapatkan adalah TF-LeaRN Scholarship (Temasek Foundation Leadership Enrichment and Regional Networking Scholarship). Ini adalah beasiswa yang diberikan oleh Temasek Foundation bagi para mahasiswa/mahasiswi di Negara-negara Asia Tenggara + 3 (India, Cina, Korea Selatan). Para penerima beasiswa ini nantinya diharapkan dapat menjadi Asian Future Leaders di bidangnya masing-masing.  Tidak ada ketentuan apakah calon penerima beasiswa harus berasal dari jurusan tertentu, semua jurusan boleh mendaftar. Semasa kuliah, aku mengambil jurusan komunikasi dan berhasil mendapatkan beasiswa ini. Tapi beberapa temanku dari negara lain yang mendapatkan beasiswa berasal dari berbagai jenis jurusan, ada yang dari Business School, Law School, Engineering, dsb.

Oleh karena itu, persyaratan utama untuk mengikuti seleksi beasiswa ini bukanlah mendapatkan GPA terbaik di jurusan masing-masing, karena toh setiap jurusan akan berbeda standarnya dan sangat tidak adil untuk menyamaratakan semua jurusan tersebut. Syarat utamanya adalah memiliki leadership skill yang kuat, yang dibuktikan melalui kegiatan atau organisasi yang diikuti (biasanya hanya dilihat 5 tahun terakhir, jadi gak perlu panjang-panjang nge-list dari tingkat SD hehe). Bukan berarti lantas GPA tidak dilirik sama sekali. GPA tetap menjadi faktor penentu, begitu juga nilai TOEFL, hanya saja faktor ini akan menentukan di tahap akhir.

Kemudian aku mendapatkan banyak pertanyaan, “terus kenapa yang terpilih semuanya yang pinter-pinter, yang GPA-nya besar?” Untuk menjawab pertanyaan ini aku harus mengembalikan perhatian teman-teman sekalian ke judul blogpost. Disana dengan jelas tertulis National University of Singapore. NUS. Universitas yang meraih peringkat pertama sebagai universitas terbaik se-Asia. Tentu saja semua mahasiswa yang kuliah disana harus memiliki standar yang sama agar transfer ilmu juga berlangsung lancar. Standar  tersebut salah satunya dapat dilihat dari nilai GPA. Selain itu, karena semua pelajaran di NUS dilakukan dalam Bahasa Inggris, sudah tentu pemberi beasiswa ingin memastikan bahwa penerima beasiswa nantinya tidak akan kesulitan dalam berkomunikasi atau dalam menyerap pelajaran. Oleh karena itu nilai language proficiency test juga menjadi salah satu standar yang akan dinilai.

Kembali lagi ke proses seleksi. kali ini aku akan menuliskan tahapan prosesnya dalam bentuk poin.

  • Untuk memudahkan kalian dalam menerima informasi mengenai beasiswa keluar negeri, ada baiknya kalian rajin-rajin berkunjung ke International Office, atau lebih baik lagi kalau kalian bisa gabung ke milis mereka jadi semua informasi akan langsung masuk ke emailmu.
  • Begitu ada informasi mengenai TF-LeaRN Scholarship, yang harus kalian perhatikan adalah: (1) ke universitas mana beasiswa itu berlaku. Karena Temasek Foundation tidak hanya menyediakan beasiswa untuk NUS, tapi juga untuk NTU (Nanyang Technological University) dan SMU (Singapore Management University); (2) apa saja persyaratan yang harus kalian penuhi.
  • Di poin ini, mungkin aku akan membuat banyak orang bersedih karena informasi terakhir yang aku dapat, peraturannya belum berubah, bahwa beasiswa ini di Indonesia hanya diperuntukkan bagi mahasiswa/mahasiswi dari UI, ITB, UGM, dan UNAIR. Mahasiswa dari universitas lain dengan sangat disayangkan masih belum eligible untuk memperoleh beasiswa ini.
  • Karena aku dari UI, jadi peraturan awal yang aku tulis ini akan berlaku untuk mahasiswa/mahasiswi UI. Yang eligible untuk mendaftar adalah mahasiswa/mahasiswi yang duduk di semester 3-6. Selebihnya kalian tidak akan berhasil dalam proses seleksi. Selanjutnya, GPA kalian harus minimal 3.5 dan nilai TOEFL kalian minimal harus 550.
  • Berkas yang harus dikumpulkan tidak banyak. Hanya CV, motivation letter, legalisir transkrip nilai, TOEFL certificate (boleh copy), dan rekomendasi dari jurusan/fakultas masing-masing. Rekomendasi itu bentuknya bagaimana? Kalian tanya saja ke bagian administrasi jurusan/fakultas, mereka sudah punya formatnya. Hanya saja jangan lupa untuk minta rekomendasi juga dari kepala jurusan karena kalau langsung hilang begitu saja tanpa pamit, pas pulang ke Indonesia mereka nggak mau ngurusin transfer nilai kalian loh hayoooo hahaha
  • Semua berkas itu dikumpulkan ke International Office sebelum deadline.
  • International Office akan memilih kandidat yang diberangkatkan, kemudian berkas kandidat tersebut akan dikirim ke universitas yang dituju (NUS/NTU/SMU).
  • Universitas yang dituju akan memilih penerima beasiswa yang mereka anggap layak untuk belajar di universitas mereka. Penerima beasiswa ini jumlahnya bisa sama dengan jumlah kandidat yang dikirim oleh International Office, bisa juga kurang (artinya masih ada yang tidak lolos seleksi di tingkat akhir).
  • Jika kalian lolos, kalian akan mendapat surat keterangan dari universitas yang bersangkutan mengenai hal-hal apa saja yang harus kalian persiapkan prior to your departure.


Begitulah kira-kira prosesnya. Kalau masih ada yang belum jelas atau masih ada yang ingin ditanyakan, bisa langsung comment di blogpost ini atau kontak aku langsung ke alamat emailku yah. Goodluck buat semua calon penerima beasiswa 🙂

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Disfrutar Barcelona for The Gastronomy Lovers


A whole new gastronomic experience I might say… nothing I have had before could be compared to the experience I got when I visited Disfrutar Barcelona for the first time. It is a restaurant with the modern and Mediterranean cuisine, with the focus on giving the people the chance to try as many taste as possible. I could not tell each dish one by one because I was too focused on enjoying everything, but I like the concept of the restaurant. They have very good service.
When you first enter the restaurant, you will see the bar and their modern kitchen so you can even watch the cooking process. and then you will enter a cozy room where you will enjoy your foods. There will be welcome cocktails and snacks, and you can choose a variety of wine or champagne as well.
Each dish will be served with the explanation in different types of language as you prefer. as for me, I chose English and my boyfriend chose Catalan, so the explanation was given twice, once in each preferred language. the explanation includes what its name, what it is made of, and what is the best way to enjoy it. You can take more than 2 hours to enjoy every food from the starter until the desserts in this restaurant.
all the dishes are very creative and original. There were real rose petals and we were supposed to drink the water on it, there were also real flowers and we were supposed to drink the juice inside it, not to mention the delicious paprika-shaped chocolate. and dont worry if you have allergy of something or you just simply cant eat something or you dont like something, you should let them know so you will get other types of dishes.
Overall, I think this is a must-visit restaurant if you have the chance to visit Barcelona, this restaurant has also got excellent reviews on tripadvisor and any other rating services so dont forget to book your visit via phone or online.

c/Villarroel, 163

Barcelona 08036

phone: +34 933486896
Bon profit!


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LOVE In A Poem

This is not my writing… I am planning to write something like this soon though. This is my favorite love poem, a poem about expectations and realities of love. It is told by Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye, and I even inserted their full video of the poem here. Its original title is “When Love Arrives”.

I fell in love immediately the first time I heard this poem.

And this is my favorite part of the poem:

“Love is not who you were expecting, love is not who you can predict.
Maybe love is in New York City, already asleep;
You are in California, Australia, wide awake.
Maybe love is always in the wrong time zone.
Maybe love is not ready for you.
Maybe you are not ready for love.
Maybe love just isn’t the marrying type.
Maybe the next time you see love is twenty years after the divorce, love is older now, but just as beautiful as you remembered.
Maybe love is only there for a month.
Maybe love is there for every firework, every birthday party, every hospital visit.
Maybe love stays- maybe love can’t.
Maybe love shouldn’t.

Love arrives exactly when love is supposed to,
And love leaves exactly when love must.
When love arrives, say, “Welcome. Make yourself comfortable.”
If love leaves, ask him to leave the door open behind him.
Turn off the music, listen to the quiet, whisper,
“Thank you for stopping by.”

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We are told since we were a toddler to say “sorry” every time we make a mistake. Some people find it easy to say it, some others find it harder. It is not about who can behave better, it is about the value someone holds in their life, and in some cases… how they were raised. I mean, if you were raised in a Western culture where individualism is in the core of your life, you probably are not used to say “sorry” that much. But the opposite would happen if you were raised in an Eastern culture. In Eastern culture, we believe in what we call “saving face”. Because of this specific term, we are not only trying to avoid making mistakes, we are also taught to say “sorry” for almost all things.

I have always had this problem when I lived abroad. In USA, I said “sorry” when I spilled something at home (normal!), I said “sorry” for not liking the movies that my friends wanted to watch (emmm?), I even said “sorry” for getting a position that my friends aimed for (what?). I knew no competitions. I will feel bad if I make someone else feels bad because of my presence. And it made my friends keep telling me to stop saying sorry, I had reached the level where it was not even sweet anymore, it became annoying.

But lately I figured out that the hardest part is knowing when to say “sorry” if you don’t even know whether or not you made a mistake, how to say “sorry” when deep inside you know that it is the other person who did it wrong, and… will you do it?

Last year, I got into a big fight with someone who was working for me in an event called “Jakarta Model United Nations 2014”. I was the Secretary General, I was the leader, all decisions were in my hands, I had the power, but I also got the pressure. I was slowly falling into pieces. I had this one guy worked for me to help me organizing the whole event. I didn’t pay him of course, it was a student event, it was a volunteering. But then, 10 days before the event started, he resigned and left me without even finishing the jobs given to him. I was furious, I was confused, the pressure got even heavier on my shoulders, and I said all the bad words ever invented in this world to him. He yelled back at me, telling me that I was arrogant. After that day, we never spoke to each other again. The event ran very successfully, everybody loved it, they talked about it as if it was making another benchmark, and I was very proud. After all, I thought I deserved it.

One year had passed but there was still something in my head that I can’t get rid of, like the feeling you get when you make others disappointed in you. Was it my fault? I don’t think so. He was the one who didn’t do his jobs, who walked away from his responsibilities. But is that what matters now? Who was right and who was wrong? I don’t think so either. Yes, he made a huge mistake, but I had to admit that I did, too, make a mistake. And maybe he was right, that I was so arrogant, I didn’t even try to make things right between us. So I picked up my phone, found his number, and contacted him. I said “sorry” for what happened. I didn’t even care anymore if I was right. And he replied sincerely, also saying “sorry” for leaving and “thank you” that I contacted him. Now I think we are friends once more.

Then there was this one time I got into a fight with my mom over the phone. I cried, she cried. But I really believed I didn’t do something wrong. I am an adult and I thought I have the rights to decide what’s best for me. We didn’t talk for two days. But then I realized, maybe it was not about whether I was right or not. So I called my mom and said “sorry”. She cried again, saying that she was so happy that I called her. She said she just loves me so much and sometimes she still just can’t get the idea of me growing up and becoming an adult. And so we made up.

I learned that sometimes you say “sorry” not because you made a mistake, but you say it to maintain a relationship, and that saying “sorry” doesn’t always mean you lose, sometimes it means you have a bigger heart to choose to protect other’s feelings over your pride.

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Around Singapore in One Week: Which Destinations Should Be in Your List?

I never consider myself a travel blogger for two reasons. First, the fact that I haven’t traveled much to many different countries. Second, even when I travel, I don’t do many challenging activities that most of the travelers like. I like to keep it safe, which means that I do tourists stuff. But I am quiet independent. Aside from my own country, Indonesia (in which I also live all alone by myself in Jakarta, the world’s worst traffic), I have lived alone in two other different countries, USA and Singapore. I have written about interesting places in Seattle, USA in my previous blogpost, so I think it will only be fair if I also write something about Singapore.


A very small but prosperous country, with a very high rate of advancement in any sectors, especially technology. The country is well-organized… too organized until sometimes it doesn’t seem real.

After coming back from living in Singapore, an acquaintance who also has been living in Singapore and Indonesia asked me this question: “Do you like Jakarta or Singapore more?”  At that moment, I was in my phase to re-adjust to my life in Indonesia, to Jakarta’s bad traffic…so of course without a second thought I answered, “Singapore, of course!” But what he said next is something that keeps me thinking for couple days. He said, “Oh wow, that’s surprising… personally I would pick Jakarta over Singapore to live in, because at least Jakarta looks like a real big city. I love Singapore, don’t get me wrong… but it’s just too well-organized. I can’t even tell if something is real or fake in Singapore.” In that case, I should agree. But spending 20 years of my life in Indonesia, you can’t blame me for wanting something different…something more organized and less messy. And for that, I wouldn’t change my answer.

That’s just a big picture of how Singapore is. Of course despite whether or not it is too well-organized, Singapore is still a very beautiful country with a lot to offer if you want to spend your leisure time on vacation there. But I might tell you this, it is a small country. You can go around this country from one end to another in only one day, and if you want to explore more…one week should be enough. That’s why when I lived there, I spent most of my days off in countries nearby, like Malaysia or Thailand.

Based on my experience of living in Singapore, exploring interesting places all around that country, and listening to the stories told by foreigners living in Singapore (someone people in Indonesia would call “bule”, people in Singapore would call “angmo”, and people in Thailand would call “farang”), these are the list of places that you can choose to be your destinations if you only have one week in Singapore:

1. Marina Bay Sands

From very fancy shops, landmark hotel, until infamous rooftop restaurant, bar, and infinity pool (it is called “infinity” because you can’t see the wall and the background is literally the view of downtown Singapore) are here in the area known as Marina Bay Sands.  With the location right across the bay, you can see it as the perfect scenery of your afternoon fancy walk or romantic candlelight dinner. Just a warning in advance….if you are on a tight budget trip, staying in Marina Bay Sands Hotel should be crossed from your list. This hotel is perfect for couples celebrating important dates, or even on honeymoon, and for a group of friends wanting a sleepover  of their life (and they can share the bills afterwards so it’s perfect).

You can find all famous designer brands in the shops of Marina Bay Sands, and also some famous dessert places, coffee shops, and restaurants. The choices are endless.  Don’t forget to look fancy when you are here 😉 you absolutely don’t want to be beaten by everything around you.



2. Singapore Flyer

If you want to see the whole downtown Singapore in a glimpse, Singapore flyer is the answer. You can see the view of Marina Bay Sands, the Merlion, Gardens by The Bay, and the entire bay itself. At night, there will be magnificent lights coming through from Marina Bay Sands that you can see from the flyer. The view is undoubtedly wonderful both in the afternoon and in the night. Beware of the long queue during holidays though. Oh you can also plan a romantic dinner inside the flyer! 🙂



3. Gardens by The Bay

There are two main attractions here, Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. To enter these two main attractions, you need to pay for the ticket. Inside the Flower Dome, there are different flowers from different seasons, festivals, and themes. Moreover, The Flower Dome replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions like South Africa, California and parts of Spain and Italy. The dome itself was very innovative in design. The Cloud Forest is totally different from The Flower Dome. Enter the Cloud Forest, it looks like entering a mysterious world veiled in mist. It has the world’s tallest indoor waterfall  and the showcase of tropical plant life.  Aside of those two main attractions, there are still a lot more to be offered by Gardens by The Bay.  There are the breathtaking Supertree Grove and OCBC Skywalk that you can enjoy for free. Supertrees are these uniquely designed vertical gardens of 25 to 50-metres tall that have large canopies that provide shade in the day and come alive with an exhilarating display of light and sound at night.



4. Merlion Park

The iconic part of Singapore, the city of Lion. Take picture here to show off and people will not think that you coming to Singapore is just a hoax 😉



5. Sentosa Island

There are absolutely too many things here that I can’t just explain it one by one. I have gone back and forth to this island during my 6-months-stay in Singapore (and also couple vacations before), but to be honest I just haven’t seen all. One day wouldn’t be enough to enjoy everything here, unless you only want to see a glimpse of everything. For instance, there is Universal Studio here, and with all the queue and everything, I think you need a whole full day to enjoy only Universal Studio. The rest of the island needs one or two more days to be explored. These are the lists of things (beside Universal Studio) that you probably want to check out in Sentosa Island:

  • MegaZip Adventure Park
  • Dolphin Island
  • E.A Aquarium
  • Sentosa Express (the transportation that connects you from mainland Singapore to the island. It has 4 stations: Sentosa Station, Waterfront Station, Imbiah Station, and Beach Station. Just making sure where your destination is, then you can take the perfect stop
  • Singapore Cable Car (including taking you to Mount Faber)
  • Sentosa Boardwalk (if you want to walk from mainland Singapore to the island, of course you can!)
  • Marine Life Park
  • Port of Lost Wonders
  • iFly Singapore (indoor skydiving)
  • Casino
  • Sentosa Nature Discovery
  • Images of Singapore
  • Palawan Beach (where you can find the Southern Most Point of Continental Asia)
  • Tanjong Beach
  • Fort Siloso
  • Siloso Beach (rave party here is the best!)
  • Trick Eye Museum

And so on… and so forth…



6. Orchard Road

You go to Singapore for shopping? Definitely go to Orchard Road! You can find all fashion things you need here… from designer stuffs until unbranded stuffs, all available in the shops along the road. The most popular mall in this road where every visitor will come and see is definitely ION Singapore. The weird thing I finally noticed was that you can find rich Asians everywhere in this place, but very few Europeans and Americans (unless they have been living in Singapore for quite some times). I guess malls, big fancy shops, and designer stuffs are not really their things, maybe?



7. China Town

Yes, it’s like typical China Town in any other countries, but since most Singaporeans are Chinese, it’s like learning about their culture.



8. Little India

Singaporeans mostly are divided into 3 biggest groups: Chinese, Indians, and Malay. Little India is the place built by this Indian group to make them feel more like home. There are typical Indian houses and temples, a lot of delicious Indian restaurants and during Indian festival, this place is very colorful and pretty.



9. Singapore Botanical Gardens

This is the most favorite outdoor recreational area of Singaporeans from all ages. The plants make the air feels cool and moist. The main attraction is the National Orchid Garden, in which we have to pay for the ticket to enter, but they also have other interesting attractions like Ginger Garden and Rainforest.



10. Chinese and Japanese Gardens

There are a lot of different plants from China and Japan here, with the addition of those traditional Chinese and Japanese houses and pagodas. There is also a turtle house where they have a lot of different types of turtles from around the world, dangerous and not dangerous ones.



11. Clarke Quay

If you like the nightlife, and you want to experience Singapore’s nightlife, Clarke Quay would make the pass. On the iconic Clarke Quay’s bridge, there will be groups of people hanging out chilling with beers and snacks. And there are bars and cool clubs surrounding. Usually people will have the pre-drinks on the bridge, then come inside one of the club to dance and have fun. Weekends and Ladies Night (Wednesday Night in Singapore) will be the perfect time for you to go here.



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