After Ups and Downs, I Became a GREAT Scholar and It Changed My Life

Evening Strolls around campus with my coursemates.

Studying in the UK is a dream comes true for our contributor, Putri Dahlia. She is pursuing her study at the University of Leeds with the support from GREAT Scholarship. What did she do to prepare and how has the GREAT Scholarship changed her life? 

I have always been dreaming of studying in a western country. As a kid, I thought this would be merely a dream, but then deep inside I thought I should try to turn this dream into reality.

Nothing is wrong with trying, right? There is nothing to lose. Well, the worst-case scenario is you would face a disappointment, maybe a lot of disappointments. But then, at least you have tried. At least you measure your capability.

With all of this positivity in my mind, right after I received my bachelor’s degree, I gambled myself. I applied for a master’s scholarship in Germany, passed every stage with excitement until I faced my first disappointment when I knew that I failed the interview session, the last step for me to become an international student in Germany.

This failure made me think that I was not good and smart enough. But then, I remembered my mother’s saying, “If others can, so do you.” I also realize that a lot of people have struggled more than me before they could even realise their dreams. Therefore, I just took this as a learning opportunity.

For the second time, I gambled myself again and took another leap of faith. This time, I applied to the countries I love the most, which is the UK, where my favourite character, Harry Potter was born.

The preparation process was not easy. I spent months to prepare for the requirements, from IELTS to Personal Statements, also multiple times of proofreading by my friends and colleagues, making sure that I worked harder to make everything better. Because I believe the result that you get is equal to the effort that you make.

In the end, I applied to five different universities. Let me tell you, the waiting game was strong here. I needed to wait for at least 3 months for the results, whether I get accepted or rejected. Thankfully, God knows how much effort I was making for this one and I got accepted into all of them. What I want to tell you is that when you think you aren’t good enough it might be that you haven’t tried enough.

Well, the journey did not stop yet. I tried to search for scholarships to lessen my parents’ financial burdens. Nothing’s much because Covid-19 is on the way until I stumbled upon GREAT Scholarships on the British Council website. I heard about this scholarship before, but I never really knew how it works and how is the selection process.

The building of my department: Leeds University Business School! Hoping to have an offline class next term!
The building of my department: Leeds University Business School! Hoping to have an offline class next term!

I dig and spend days doing more research on this scholarship. You can find more about this scholarship on this website here or other articles about GREAT Scholarship that has been written by Indonesia Mengglobal contributors (Annisa and Diandra).

In my personal opinions, it is quite simple to apply to this scholarship. The only requirement that they asked is to have a Letter of Acceptance from the respected University and a Personal Statement. The application should be done on each university scholarship websites. The deadline and the results would be based on each institution. The successful applicants will be granted £10.000 on the tuition fees.

It’s a big cap on the tuition fees, so I couldn’t miss the opportunity to apply for this scholarship. I remembered applying in June and hear the answer one month later in July. I found out I was unsuccessful with the scholarships. Well, when I applied for this scholarship, I know my chances are not high. GREAT Scholarship is a very competitive scholarship that only gives the award to one successful Indonesian in each participating university.

I did not regret my decision to apply for the scholarship. I thought to myself, at least I tried. That particular time makes me believe that rejection is fine and it is normal. You cannot always get what you want in life. You have to suffer to value everything in your life and be grateful for what you had. So, with my parents’ approval, I decided to continue my study in the UK with them paying my full tuition.

In just one month before my departure to the UK, I opened my email in the morning like I always did. Among all the newsletter, I saw one email with a GREAT Scholarship as a subject and open it without any expectation. I remembered making the whole house shook that day when I call my mom. I was practically shouting. It feels unreal. On that morning, the email stated that I am successful in my GREAT Scholarship applications. Well, I couldn’t believe this at first. I thought I might be getting scammed, because I received my rejection emails months ago, and how this can happen? Then I know it is real when I saw the sender of the email. It was sent by the University of Leeds email. I believe that If something was meant to you, it will be for you.

Smiles from my coursemates. 2021 and we are still doing online class.
Smiles from my coursemates. 2021 and we are still doing online class.

Right now, I am currently pursuing my study in International Marketing Management at the University of Leeds, one of the Russel Group’s 24 world-class universities.

The first thing that attracted me to this university is its diversity.  I can’t stress enough how diverse this university is. You will meet people all around the world and get to know many cultures. You will learn how to socialise with people from different backgrounds and how to be tolerant of each other.

GREAT Scholarship constantly facilitates us with quality speakers in a virtual discussion for us to learn and ask questions to the experts. These activities help me to connect with other awardees from different universities. They also allow me to connect with fellow Indonesians and associate with them in a group chat. It’s good to know you have fellow friends that can relate to you as we all are students who have a pretty similar problem.

Never in my life, I thought that I would come this far. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, this years’ experience as a student is not easy and this is not only for me but for most of the students all over the world. So far, all of my classes are conducted online so I can’t meet my whole classmates physically yet for my first semester. The group work has to be carried out in a challenging way too. As some students are still in their home country, initiating an online meeting for group work is a bit hard as we need to accommodate the time difference that exists between the team members.

First trip in the UK, the beautiful York Minster.
First trip in the UK, the beautiful York Minster.

I know many of you might wonder “then what’s the fun of studying abroad when you basically attend your classes online?”. I would say it is still fun and maybe just a little bit different. The University of Leeds has been really helpful to make sure that student still gets the best facility even during this hard time. Although the classes are still not conducted on campus, students can still have a study space at the library and the safety protocol needs to be followed. In order to visit the library, students have to take a PCR test provided by the campus at no additional charge (Should be done fortnightly). After having a negative result, students can then book a study space in advance. This to make sure that social distancing measurement is conducted within the library.

Despite the online classes and stay at home restriction, meeting people outdoor is allowed here in the UK. So, I took this chance to meet some of my coursemates. Sometimes, we would just walk around the park or city centre. I can’t miss the opportunity to make new friends and meet other international students that come from all over the world. I see this as a way for me to further my networking skills.

We all know this past year has not been easy for the rest of the world. We are struggling in our own way, but trust me this too shall pass one day. At this particular moment, I am hoping things will be different in my second semester. Wishing the situations would get better and everyone can meet each other in an offline class.

For all of you who thought that you have a difficult time, believe me that you are not alone. We are all in the same boat, perhaps just a different level of difficulty. Stop comparing yourself with others.

Once, my mother told me, “If others can, so do you”. Maybe we just go through a different process. A journey to success might be easy for others but it could be difficult for everyone else. We all have a different process. Enjoy each and every process, it helps you to grow. Believe in yourself and keep trying, because there will be one day where all of your efforts will end up with equal results.

Check out my Instagram @pdahliap to explore the beauty of the UK. I am always welcome for further questions and information! Hope you see the brighter side soon.

*Foto disediakan oleh penulis.
**Artikel ini merupakan kolaborasi antara Indonesia Mengglobal dan British Council Indonesia.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here