Viktorija Panovaite
Moved to Indonesia

How I moved to Indonesia

Indonesia is the first Asian country that I visited in my life. And this opportunity I got only because I was selected for Darmasiswa scholarship program.

How I moved to Indonesia? I heard about this scholarship from my friend Giedre, who was selected couple years ago as well. When she posted information that new student’s selection is open, it was left couple days before application deadline. I already wanted to apply that time, but probably I wasn’t so into it, like those couple of days for me looked not enough to prepare everything (even if it’s really possible ;)) and I decided even not to try. Probably that time just wasn’t the right time for me because usually if I really want something I will try everything. But at that time I was already thinking to apply for next year.

In September 2013, when I saw information in official scholarship website, that new selection is open (for 2014/2015 school year), I decided to try my luck and apply. About my decision knew only my family and few friends. I prepared everything and send it on time. After it, I forgot about application and lived my life like usually.

When, in January 2014, I got the letter from Indonesian embassy that they want to meet and talk, I understood that everything started. This meeting doesn’t mean that you will be selected; it’s just first impression about you, your motivation, your future plans in Indonesia, and your knowledge about the country. Embassy people make notes about you and send their opinion to the main scholarship program participants’ selectors in Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia.

It was long results waiting time. First, it was written that results will be in the end of April, then May and finally in the beginning of June they announced the selected participants list. I was a bit scared to open the list and not to see my name, but – I WAS SELECTED (like other 5 Lithuanians) ;). After announcement they gave 1 month to decide if selected people want to join scholarship or not.

And then started the big time of thinking if I want to go, need to go and etc. When I told my parents and those couple of friends that I was selected and don’t know yet what to do – go or not, most of the people started to ask “do I really need this”, “what I will do after 1 year” and etc. Those questions were a bit annoying, like I even didn’t decide yet if I’m going and people started to ask me what I will do after 1 year ;) I just needed advices and some different point of view about this “journey” :). So all the time my answer was “I don’t know, maybe after couple of months I won’t be able to live in Indonesia and I will come back. Please let me first to decide if I’m going and then we will see”. Yeah, some of the friends told me “don’t even think to refuse, just go”. But if it’s so easy just not to think about anything and go? Especially when I had quite good job, just started to settle in new home, had bank credit and I’m not teenager anymore ;).

That “decision making month” I made “+” and “–“ list, what I will get if I will go, what I will have – if I won’t go and etc. I started to count as well money, if I will have enough them for preparation, tickets and some savings if I won’t “survive” with scholarship amount, searching information about living in Indonesia, contacting members and many other things.

When it left only 2 days before deadline to accept or decline participation. I finally said “YES” because I started to think “when if not now” to try this opportunity, to see the world, maybe to discover more things about myself and etc. ;).

And then it’s started “for real” – the preparation, vaccination, formalities, searching for tickets, buying needed stuff. I had only couple of months to arrange everything and at that time I was still working full part job. My parents each day was worried about my decision more and more, like Indonesia in Muslim country (and you know what people usually thinks about such countries? :)), as well it’s far away from Europe, totally different climate, culture – EVERYTHING ;). Even If I decided to go, still in my mind sometimes came the question “will I handle this?”, “did I made right decision?” but curiosity and wishing adventures were stronger that doubt questions.

I quite job 1 month before I should come to Indonesia (yeah, colleges as well were surprised and wondering how I exchange work in advertising field to the Indonesian traditional dance studies :)), found by accident people who were willing to rent my flat, agreed with bank to suspend my credit paying. And this month I spend meeting with friends, finishing preparation and packing (of course still I packed everything last night and almost didn’t sleep before the trip ;).

Last days in Vilnius were really nervous and ruched but after waiting almost 1 year the ADVENTURE FINALLY STARTED! :)

I wanted to save some money so I bought cheaper flight tickets but I needed to get to Helsinki airport first.

From Vilnius I went to Tallinn by bus (~8 hours). On the way I got “sitting neighbor” English man, who was traveling alone in Europe. He was speaking all the time about his trips and never asked or listen to me. Even when I started to nap – he still tried to have some attention. Maybe he just poor man – traveling alone and don’t have with whom to share? Let it be – I’m polite person, was listening carefully almost all 8 hours of his talks.

After I get out from bus, I needed to get to Tallinn harbor where I needed to take ferry to Helsinki. In bus station I catch a Finish guy (I saw that he was going in the same bus and had a map how to get to harbor :)) with whom I share the costs of taxi to harbor. We had some chat in harbor cafe bar before our ferries came (we were on different ones). After waiting couple of hours in harbor I meet with another selected Lithuanian Darmasiswa student with whom we went to Helsinki.

4 hours in ferry and finally we reached Helsinki harbor. It was my first journey with so big ferry with karaoke, spa and anything that you can need during the trip.

After ~1 hour from harbor we reached Helsinki airport. Couple of hours at night waiting for the flights and the journey began.

First flight Helsinki-Milan. I just had couple of hours between the flights and then took another flight Milan-Hong Kong. Again only couple of hours to transfer and third flight from Hong Kong to Jakarta.

Finally! After almost 3 days of travel – I reached Indonesia. I was so exhausted, tired, dirty that first my thought when I landed in Jakarta was “I want go home!”. But when I realized that it will take again ~3 days to return – I didn’t want to do that ;). Is it worth to save a bit money and have such long way? Maybe. But next time before decide to save I will evaluate if those saved money worth such “torture” :D.

Interesting? Great! :) You might also like these:

My experience about Darmasiswa program
First days in Indonesia
First time in Indonesia