I never thought I could have a chance to do my academic research in the land of windmills. Two years ago I decided to do my master program at the law faculty of Atmajaya University in Jakarta and I still remember since the very first semester the students were encouraged to start thinking about the topic of the thesis research which would be carried out in the fourth semester. Finally, due to my interest in international trade, I decided to write my thesis entitled “Voluntary EU-Ecolabel for the Indonesian Batik” which is aimed to support the Sustainable Development Goals especially the goal number 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production). One of the reasons I picked this topic is due to the fact that many batik factories contribute to pollute the environment because the water waste is often thrown out directly into the river and many factories also use water from the nearby river to wash the batik products. The main significance of my research is to find the most appropriate policy the Indonesian government can make to support the batik industries with natural dyes which in the end could increase the export value of Indonesian batik in the international market, especially in European Union, where it is supposed to be a very good market for environment-friendly products. To get the best result, I had to go to Europe to discover the existence of Indonesian batik and the market of batik itself in the Netherlands. Besides, I also need to find out the potentials of batik if once it is labeled with the Voluntary EU-Ecolabel. But the question was, how could I finance my research in Europe which could cost a lot of money?
At first it seemed anything but possible to me, but thanks to Frans Seda Foundation I really made it through a scholarship award for a 3-month-stay in Tilburg, a small, quiet yet nice city in the Netherlands where everyone can get cozy living in. During my stay I got lots of chances to interview anyone whom I found relevant to my topic, such as batik importers, batik artists, batik collectors, scholars in batik field, and people with various backgrounds in order to hear about their opinions, suggestions, or aspirations which relate to batik products marketed in the Netherlands. I also got a chance to discover the batik collections in some museums that have opened my eyes to the existence of Indonesian batik in the Netherlands more than a decade ago. One of the most visisted place by me was the library of Tilburg University, a very cozy place to spend the half of the day by sitting in front of the computer, looking up quotations in the books which are available not only in hard copies but also in electronic version to enrich the writing of my thesis, because luckily as an exchange student of Tilburg University we got an access to use the facilities provided in the library.
I came to the Netherlands together with the two other awardees from University of Indonesia who are carrying out their master’s research too. We arrived at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam on May 21, and to be honest, the first days of of our stay was literally challenging! I will never forget how we had to find out the way to get to Tilburg by train, all by ourselves because no one picked us up at the airport. To be honest, it was our very first challenge we have conquered as a newcomer in the Netherlands, and there were still lots of things we had to find out in order to become “the real Hollander”. Thanks to the members of Perhimpunan Pelajar Indonesia (Indonesian Student Association) of Tilburg who always kindly helped us and made us feel like home in this foreign country. Although we found it hard at first to adapt, but we really learned how to survive and indeed we do feel proud of ourselves afterwards!
Finally I really need to say; Thank you so much Frans Seda Foundation for having me as your scholarship awardee. It was a really awesome stay and I feel so lucky for this unforgettable once in a lifetime experience! My purpose was to conduct my research but honestly it didn’t feel like doing research at all because it’s a lot of fun and I was definitely enjoying every moment of my stay! I hope the future awardees will make the most of this great opportunity as well.
Reynold Rudyismanto, 2017 Frans Seda Foundation Twin Scholarship Student