Since I graduated from Universitas Indonesia (UI), I never thought that I would be able to go abroad to continue my study. I still remember back in 2010, I thought being employed in one of Jakarta’s offices—regardless of which sector it would be— was still the best thing to do. That is the same reason why I took my first official research project at Center for Health Research UI. It was just because I wanted to work and earn some money for my family. I did not realize that I had been working on various research projects, until I got the opportunity to become an associate researcher at Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences UI. As an associate, I learned so many things that I never knew before. I read books and articles that I had never read. For me gender and sexuality was a new topic and I had to read many materials until one day, I realized that I love my job so much. Since writing and reading are inherent in being scholar, I decided that I want to chase my dream.
I have to write about my background because I think not so many people know that it is not an instant process to become a scholar. It could be varied among people, and the story I mentioned above is one of the stories. Becoming an Arryman Fellow is one of the greatest opportunities that I could have in my life. I never imagined that I would go back to academic life and have the great opportunity to read and be involved in scholarly activity. It is a privilege for many people like me. I applied for the Arryman Fellowship twice, and the women essay competition is one of the ways I tried to get this opportunity, unfortunately, I failed last year. But my experience taught me to never give up my dream, so when I succeeded this time, I felt beyond happy. It was just like the right opportunity at the right time.
Now I am having a great time in Evanston. I believe that Evanston is a great place to incubate energy I needed in this journey. Just so you know, you can reach down town Chicago easily and enjoy its amazing architectural buildings. Or if you prefer to stay in this beautiful suburb, you can find plenty of bookstores in the neighborhood. I think there is a unique combination between studying and having fun in this city. For some of you who know that I am also finishing my masters from Amsterdam, this new city is totally different. I think with its enormous lake, Evanston is truly a place where you can spend your time studying, and living your life in a calm environment. The Arryman Fellowship for me is a platform where I can continue to chase my dream to become an Indonesia scholar. Stable financial aid and a friendly atmosphere in your PhD life are among many opportunities that deserve your attention to apply and become part of the Arryman family. And I bet you will find yourself happy to study in this city!