Indonesia is a country which consists of 17,000 islands. It has a population of roughly 240 million people, placing Indonesia as the fourth largest populated country behind China, India and the US respectively. A country with unleashed potentials and remains a powerhouse of the South East Asian region. Nevertheless, one question stuck to my head when I first arrived in the US for my graduate degree at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Why is it difficult to find an Indonesian student in the US?
The odds of finding someone from either India or China outweigh the odds of finding an Indonesian. You will have a better chance of finding somebody from Singapore, Korea or Vietnam as you would if you try to find somebody from Indonesia. Why might that be?
The main hurdle for Indonesians to study in the US is the factor of capital. I asked every Indonesian that I met in the US and they always come up with the same answer. Capital constraint, yes-studying in the US is quite a large investment. However, the Indians or Chinese that I encounter in schools like MIT or Harvard are not rich people either. For them the most important thing is to be admitted in the school, capital is the last consideration.
Schools in the US will partly or wholly-finance your tuition if you have proven to be a potential asset for development and have what it takes to be the best. Americans love listening to stories and appreciate people that has the ability to throw a compelling argument. They also appreciate high achievers, if you have a significant achievement that you have achieved amid the constraints, and as long as you are able to package that in one compelling essay you are good to go.
So why did I choose to study in the US over other places? There are two reasons, innovation and creativity and length of study. Firstly, US is home to the discovery of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and many other groundbreaking things. If it was not because of innovation and creativity and also the ability to think outside or even without the box, then I believe the US will not be where it is today. I chose the US because I hope to learn and get that kind of spirit and then probably slowly install that when I return to Indonesia. Secondly, the US has a longer period for graduate study as opposed to that of Europe or Australia. I can get more things done in two years as compared to a one-year period. I managed to have a three-month internship, travel to a few parts in the US while study and do my assignments at the same time.
Given the above conditions, it all goes back to you, and then what should you do? My two cents for this issue is to be true to your dreams and fight for it. If you have a dream to study in the US, then be true to your dreams. Be consistent and believe in yourself, regardless of your constraint, everything is achievable. On top of that, gather all the information on the school, scholarship, tuition and living cost. Next job is to prepare your CV, recruitment essays, and recommendations from people who know your strength and capabilities and remember to make it as compelling as can be. Finally, have a strong discipline, prepare wisely and study for the GRE or GMAT. As an end note, a dream is all it takes, whether you want it to be a reality or not will depend on your perseverance and the power of prayers.
Photo credit: Microsoft and Daderot on Wikimedia Commons