Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly – St. Francis De Sales
Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death – Anais Nin
Please read the previous post before reading this current post. Here is the link: Fulbright: Willingness to Try and Try Again
After struggling with my own efforts to get my scholarship application accepted by a particular scholarship provider, I kept myself in limbo because of the confusing situation. I was asking myself, “Will I get the opportunity to have the Fulbright scholarship now?” At the same time, I was so busy to think about my progress as a lecturer in teaching several subjects to my students in STKIP PGRI Sumatera Barat. I tried to searh online possibilities for me to apply for scholarship. One thing that made me so disappointed is the scholarship by Dikti, provided by Indonesian government. I already had fulfilled all the requirements asked in the website of Dikti. They were: letter of offer or letter of acceptance from accredited university overseas (for this item, I received it from Deakin University in Australia), and then, letter of recommendation from the leader of institution in which I was working at, letter of support from Kopertis of Wilayah X in West Sumatra, IELTS at least 6.0 or TOEFL-ITP at least 550, samples of critical essays or thesis in bachelor degree and many academic and non-academic achievements that I had made when I was a student.
Just to let you know, to obtain a Letter of Acceptance from a university in Australia, I had to take IELTS first. After that, I had to fulfill all the requirements needed by the university in order to consider whether I was eligible for position as a student in the university or not. Two weeks, or after thirteen working days after Edlink+Connex sent my documentation to Deakin University, I received an official letter of acceptance from Deakin. I was so happy. Then, I applied the Dikti scholarship and tried to fulfill all of its requirements mentioned in Dikti website. I thought that I would pass the first selection which was based on the application and documentation of the applicant. The feedback that I received was that the letter of acceptance was still conditional, which means, I needed to fulfill other requirements to convince the committee. Because I was not sure about it, then, I went to Pekanbaru at night to know what was going on with my application form. When I was there, what I received was a statement from the interviewers who said, “You probably should apply for another scholarship because you are not under consideration of Dikti. But, you are still young, you still have many opportunities”. I went home in sad mood. I felt that my dreams to be a professional lecturer would be over because of that.
In that situation, I was thinking about what would happen next after two years working in STKIP PGRI Sumatera Barat. The faculty had asked me to pursue higher study immediately before the rule of “lecturer must be in Master’s degree” applies. STKIP PGRI Sumatera Barat was a private college and not a university but the way the society views it is good. Until now, there are more than 10,000 students studying in it. It indicates that the society gave specific respect to it. I was there, in that institution. I was thinking and thinking about it. Will I have to stop working from a job that I really like because of having no Master’s degree? I loved reading and discussing with my students and that made me thinking that it was hard to let it go from my head. Although some friends of mine were thinking that working as a lecturer was not going to make me rich, but I did not see that way. What I saw was my students grow fully as human beings was something good. Money is a necessary needs but personal satisfaction is absolutely important.
Actually, if I want, I could pursue Master’s degree in Padang State University. However, considering that my bachelor’s degree was not in education field; therefore, I had to pursue Master’s degree in the same field, that was English language and literature. If I apply to study in Jakarta or somewhere in Java, that would be possible. Nonetheless, the high living cost and tuition fee were also my considerations of why I did not take that opportunity to study in Java. The contact person whom I had sent email asking about this mentioned that there were scholarships but only partial and it would not cover the expenses of purchasing books and other important stuffs that would support my study. Then, I got confused. I did not know what I had to do. I loved my job as a lecturer but I had to quit if I did not have the degree. The situation was getting perplexed and hard in my mind.
In that sad and confusing times, I received a call. It was from AMINEF. I could remember the moment when I received that call. I just got back from my office and went home to have lunch. The day was shining so bright and the temperature was hot. I was in my motorbike to press the button “accept”. The caller from AMINEF said, “Hello, this is from AMINEF. Can we talk to Mr. Syayid?”. “Yes, that is me”, I said. “Congratulations! Your application had been selected by Fulbright selection panel. Do you want to continue your scholarship process?”, she asked. “Yes, I do”. What I had in my mind was the expensive cost that I had to pay to travel from Padang to Jakarta. However, I kepy myself strong to say Yes whatever it took me to buy ticket in high price, especially the time was closer to Ramadhan month. (Ticket for air flight was usually high around Ramadhan month). I was so completely happy! I drove my motorbike slowly and took a deep breath. “Hhhh..”, I sighed. At that time, I realized that Allah SWT never sleeps. Analogically, this moment was like after I knocked the door of different houses for several times, I finally had a window of a house opened by its owner. What I needed to do was to wait for the door to open. For Allah SWT, I know that I could not see Him but I am sure that He is real. I told my parents and they were almost crying. They were almost crying because of happiness. For me, it was still a beginning but for my parents, it was a sort of happiness. What I had to think and consider after knowing that “call” was preparing to face the interview. My application had been accepted well by AMINEF. Does it mean that I automatically receive the Fulbright scholarship? The answer was “No”. Therefore, what I need to do is to prepare myself to face the Fulbright interview. How would it be like? I was wondering.
The next posts are:
a. Fulbright: The First Stage (Application)
b. Fulbright: The Second Stage (Facing the Interview)
This writing is intended for Indonesian students who might be interested in pursuing higher studies (M.A or Ph.D) in the United States under the Fulbright scholarship. In Indonesia, this scholarship is organized by AMINEF (American Indonesian Exchange Foundation). Once you are admitted in this scholarship program, you will be taken care by IIE (Institute of International Education) in New York. If you are selected, you will have to do two things: First, pursue your study seriously and get good grades at the school in which you are enrolled in; Second, be active to take part in cultural activities on campus or in the United States to promote cultures of your country. This second thing is compulsory; therefore, it is expected that you need to do cross communication with American students to expand mutual understanding of two different countries. This is the main aspect of being a Fulbright scholar.