It is already a year ago that I started the Frans Seda Foundation Twin Scholarship adventure. It feels like the time the last year has flew by. With a lot of puzzling and planning, I had finally found a thesis supervisor, and the writing of my research proposal could begin. My field of research is Human Resource Studies, and since the Netherlands is a big service industry, and Indonesia isn’t it was bound to be an interesting topic. My research was about the experiences of an employee regarding leadership, inclusion well-being and their norms and values regarding individualism/collectivism and power distance.
I was very excited when I heard that I was one of the Dutch students who got the scholarship! But now the real deal went on, the planning of everything. I had never been outside of Europe before, so everything needed to be arranged, such as the flight tickets, the vaccinations, the passport, etc. I was really nervous when my flight date started to come closer (Hemelvaartsdag, the 10th of May). But when I look back, I was already back in the Netherlands before I knew it.
The first weeks in Indonesia I was together with Veronique, another Dutch student from the Frans Seda Foundation Scholarship 2018. I was tired, and felt hungry at strange times (because of the time difference). We stayed at an Islamic boarding school called Jagat ‘Arsy, and met kind people there (Ayesha, Fatih, Veronique and I are on the picture).
The few things that still amaze me about Indonesia are: the weather, it feels like you are in a sauna the whole day, the motorbikes everywhere, the constant calling on the street ‘buleh!’, the amount of people everywhere, the giant nails of male drivers and ….there are actually a lot more things I can talk about. A very interesting humorous memory was also when I went by train in the morning yam to the university. When you wanted to go in the train you were literally pushed by the guards. Because of my height of 180 cm, my blonde hair and my white skin the people looked at me like I was a giant alien (the average Indonesian woman is 147 cm). (Tip: don’t try to take the train during rush hour).
Jakarta is a city which has a lot, there a lot of people, sounds, smells, and traffic jams. Sometimes you just needed to get out. But also for my research I needed to travel in Indonesia (to get a proper sample). One thing I didn’t really think about in the Netherlands is that Indonesia is big, very big. Traveling can take forever, and the public transport is not that well arranged. But on the plus side, I saw a lot of Indonesia (and a lot of rice-fields). (Picture is of a rice field in West-Java).
I went to the following islands: Flores, Lombok, Bali, Sumatra, and Java (obviously). Each island had their own prides and Indonesia really has a lot of diversity, it was interesting to see that. A pity was the level of English of the average Indonesian, that didn’t help to have conversations. But the people who had a decent English level were happy to show me around and told me a lot about their culture. (The picture is a representation what my average look was in Indonesia: sunburned, sweaty, with my backpack and a mouth cap on the back of a motorcycle).
Anyhow, I am very grateful to have gotten the chance to live and study in wonderful Indonesia. This has been a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am glad I could take it. I hope that the Twin Scholarship keeps existing so that a lot more students will have the chance to explore Indonesia.
Thank you Twin Scholarship programme, thank you Frans Seda Foundation.
Marijke Braakman, 2018 Frans Seda Foundation Twin Scholarship Student.