It’s an interview from goabroad.com website about my experience in Darmasiswa scholarship program (in ISI Yogyakarta university). Hope it will be useful for those who are thinking to choose this university for future studies or other university in Yogyakarta city.
Why did you decide to apply for an international program?
I’m always searching for new opportunities to travel and stay abroad for a longer time (as well I was volunteer in EVS program in Greece for 6 months). I heard story from my friend which was selected for Darmasiswa scholarship in Indonesia. I found this scholarship interesting too. This scholarship is unique opportunity to discover Indonesian culture by participating and learning straight from the masters. You can choose the island or city, period of studies (6 or 12 months), university and the subject which you want to study: batik making, traditional Indonesian dances, gamelan lessons, Indonesian language and many other subjects. And it’s quite easy to apply – you just need to fill the application form, collect needed documents and send them on time to responsible embassy. So I decided to try my luck and applied. I was one of ~550 people who were selected from all over the world. I quit my good paid job and start my adventure in Indonesia.
Why did you choose your specific program?
I’m dancing from the childhood, but it’s just my hobby, I never thought to become a professional dancer. I tried many kind of dances till now. When I saw that Darmasiswa scholarship suggest to learn traditional Indonesian dances, I decided that it’s the subject which I want to study. What can be better than learn one more “dance style” and collect new experience in my dance “career”, especially when Indonesian dances are so colorful. Each island have different dances, stories behind them, moves, clothing and etc. One year it’s really not enough to learn all dances and learn them professionally, but at least to understand them and enjoy it’s quite enough :). Even if many universities suggest to study Indonesian dance, I choose ISI Yogyakarta university. First of all, I heard many good reviews about this university from previous Darmasiswa students. Second, because of the Yogyakarta city. This city is cultural center and students capital city (in Java island). Where is better to be if not in the center of everything? :).
Here is the short video from music class that I entered.
What was your favorite part about the location?
Yogyakarta is very live city. Here are so many cultural events every day, so many artists with whom you can collaborate and meet. You just need to be open, curious and you will have many possibilities to discover not only traditional Indonesian culture but modern art as well. Also Yogyakarta city location is very grateful; within 1-2 hours by motorbike you can reach really amazing nature places: waterfalls, caves, mounts, beaches and etc. As well in the city you can find many beautiful places, meet interesting people. It’s a city that never sleeps :). ISI Yogyakarta university is located in south part of Yogyakarta city. Here are many places covered by rice fields. So most of the time you can see green color around you and Parangtritis beach is ~40 min. away (yeah it’s not the most beautiful beach in Indonesia, but at least sometimes you can feel sea breeze and see amazing sunsets). For me, this location was perfect – not so far from center, you can still be at least in small part of nature and the prices here a bit cheaper than in other parts of Yogyakarta.
What makes the program you participated in unique?
Uniqueness is to learn about the culture and exchange your knowledge with others.
Pictures from Darmasiswa students participation in cultural camp.
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
Darmasiswa program coordinator in my university Pak Bambang Supinardi just perfect. He is working with Darmasiswa students already many years and everybody tells that he just amazing. He always advices, answer the questions, helps in other issues. I never heard from him “no”/”not possible”. In any case, how he could – he always helps. I think his help made this studies more colorful.
What’s one thing you wish you would have done differently?
All Darmasiswa students enter studies with 1st year Indonesian students. It means, no matter how you experienced with your activity in your country, you had master degree in that field or other. Here you will study with youngster that just finished the school. In this case, I think I could be more curious and go to lessons with last year students, try to ask teachers to let me participate. I followed the rules and did what was asked ;). I think if you into something, you need to try your luck and reach more. How you can know if you wouldn’t try. So my advice, if you want something, you see it more interesting, just be proactive, try to join and participate.
Describe a day in the life of your program.
Dance studies in ISI Yogyakarta for Darmasiswa students was the most active comparing with other subjects. Studies are divided in 2 semesters. Each semester has own schedule and different subjects, different dance styles. In each semester we had to choose 3 subjects from all possible ones. I had lessons every day. Each day the timetable was different – one day 1 had 1 lesson per day, another day 3 of them. 1 lesson is for 1,5 hour, there are breaks between lessons for 20 min and during lunch time longer break. Sometimes we had projects, so we needed as well to work with groups after lessons. Also I had music lesson, for better understanding of dance rhythms.
Here is the short video from music class that I entered.
What was your favorite activity outside the normal day-to-day schedule of your program?
Indonesia is amazing country! First of all, during free time I was trying to see as much as possible and travel around Yogyakarta or somewhere further. I was interested in Indonesian art, so I was going to many festivals, events, celebrations and etc. I was curious to meet Indonesian people, so I tried to communicate with them more. I really tried to fulfill my day and discover more and more about Indonesia.
What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?
When we arrived, our university provided us 3 nights in hostel. With university “buddies” (local students) we were searching for a place to stay for all study period. Some of the students found a place to live alone, others the houses for 6 people and etc. The main thing that when Darmasiswa students arrives, most of places (cheap ones and near university) already rented for local students. But still there are always what to choose. We (3 girls) found a place near university, the distance maybe ~10-15 min. by foot. Nice surrounding, neighbors, new build house (yeah it was without any furniture but we bought everything that we need by ourselves). Just pity that after 4 months we needed to move out (even if we agreed to stay there 1 year). If you are curious, here is all story why we moved :)
Now that you’re home, how has your program abroad impacted your life?
The studies period is from September till May/June (depends on university time table) but scholarship period 1 year (if you choose 1 year). It means, that you have opportunity 2-3 months after your study still stay in Indonesia for traveling and you will get still scholarship amount. This is the idea of this scholarship – give opportunity for students not only learn about Indonesian culture, exchange with students your culture but give possibility to see more of Indonesia. My scholarship year is 2014/2015, so I decided to stay in Indonesia. Honestly I don’t want to go home yet, still so many places want to see. If everything will work out I will stay here a bit longer :). And even without coming back home – I feel the impact of this program. I started to see things in different way, realize that we don’t need many things to be happy, met many people who gave impact to my life and views which I saw in Indonesia – just refresh my life.
What is your experience in Darmasiswa program? What you would like to share with future students?
Useful? Great! :) You might also like these:
Frequently asked questions
First days in Indonesia
6 thoughts on “How studies looks in ISI Yogyakarta”
Great post Viktorija, very useful . Thank you very much for your stories!
Your welcome! :) Hope it will help to prepare yourself more for big new adventure! :)
Hi! Thanks for writing this blog, very useful for me as I’m discovering what people learn in the Darmasiswa programme. I understand that most of the courses offered are purely Bahasa Indonesia, with a little tinge of other Indonesia traditional arts.
I’d like to know, must you have the pre-requisite to be able to join the other courses such as Batik Art, Fine Arts, Dance? I read that you had already been dancing, so it would have been no problem for you to join Dance in ISI Yogyakarta. Did you meet other darmasiswa students who didn’t have the basics and were able to join?
Thank you so much. Looking forward to your reply!
When I applied I didn’t find any information, so decided to write about it, like I believe future Darmasiswa students will have similar questions:) It’s good to know a bit more before applying:)
Regarding your questions. You can choose whatever program (batik, music, arts, photography and many more) in different universities. In official Darmasiswa website you can find all that list and choose subject, university and island/city. In ISI Yogyakarta you can choose many of subjects except Bahasa Indonesian. Mostly students apply to a subjects where they have at least some experience (no matter professional or hobby), others – who have strong motivation to learn something new and didn’t have any experience in that field.
When you apply to scholarship, you choose 1 concrete subject. But depends on the university politics and teachers, you can try attend and others subjects as well (if it suits with your main subject timetables, if teacher will accept “free listener”) but you won’t get any document that will confirm your participation in other study fields.
Oh your comment is so useful. I have indeed emailed them before, and the official darmasiswa says students should have some prior basic knowledge of the subject – this I was rather curious about as I dont think everyone would have, and thus the questions to you since you have been on the programme (: so I would suppose that as what you said, a strong motivation for the subject even with no prior experience would be alright?
I actually find it a bit of pity. I have prior knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia as I’m studying it in my home country of Singapore. Most of the universities in the darmasiswa programme Are mainly centred on Bahasa. Thus I would really hope if I could learn other subjects which I have no experience in. I’m really looking forward to that!
Another question if I may. Did they teach you dance in Bahasa? ?
Lydia, I wrote you e-mail, with exhaustive explanation :) Hope it will help you:)
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