A friend asked me to write things about my student life in Brisbane. It’s pretty awesome after all. Let me check several things and tell you about it.
First, my first impression of Brisbane. Surprisingly, life pace in Brisbane is very very slow. It’s so quiet here. Brisbane may be larger than Bandung, but the number of population is just 2.5 million people. I cannot imagine why they built all the expensive infrastructure if only to accommodate few people. It’s a waste of resource.
Well, when the day is so quiet, the night is frightening. I rarely see other people after sunset. Just one or two when I walked in the neighborhood back in Mount Gravatt. Shops open at 10am and close at 5pm. Some supermarket open from 8am but never earlier, and most of it always close before 6pm. There is Chai's Supermarket in St.Lucia; also Coles and K-Mart in Toowong Village which open until 9am on weekday. And that's it. Forget 24 hours Alfamart, forget 24hours McD, KFC, and Dunkin. Forget 1am Madtari, or 5pm Bebek Boromeus. When you forget to buy your dinner at 5pm, you better check your fridge. If you forget to stock anything last weekend, you better "fasting" for the rest of the night :’(
Second, my first time in Uni. University of Queensland is a little city of Brisbane. It’s a resource of city income (imagine 12,000 international students every year with hundred million rupiahs budget each). There are plenty of international student here. Nevertheless, I’m the first and the only one student from Indonesia who choose to study at UQ. Everybody always asks: why UQ? So I always answer this question with: ‘because I want to have design studio and research elective at the same time’. And that’s what I have here.
|Great Court at University of Queensland|
As a pioneer Indonesian in Master of Architecture program, I’m different. Being different is frightening and exciting at the same time. Especially because I’m a muslim and wear Jilbab anywhere. Fortunately I met nice native people in my classes during the first weeks. They are open and friendly, most of them are really nice people to talk to. Alhamdulillah. But yes, of course, I came to UQ to study; prior to be a professional architect in the future. So what I need is also people to work together completing many group assignment here.
And Group Assignment,,, is what I call the real challenge.
And Group Assignment,,, is what I call the real challenge.
Group assignment is a place when you have to discuss idea, resource, and problem; and then decide the best solution you may have and how to present it. It means a lot of talking. It means prepare your ears to listen and synchronize your mouth with your brain to deliver arguments. In this semester, I have two group assignments. Both of the group are very diverse. Both include native Australian, Europe Student, Asian, and me (the one with different culture and religion). One thing that sure is they talk very fast! Even to finish one complete meet up with them requires a lot of energy.
Group assignment has good advantages. True. It gives me opportunity to boost my English and learn social culture here. For example what to say with acquaintance and how to differentiate friends you met with introduction (outside classes) and peers. It also gives me understanding that what they have in their brain is not much different with mine. However, group assignment is also annoying because it takes a long time just to decide something. In term of equality, there’s no leadership in the group and it’s hard to maintain that everyone is happy with the decision. Common social issue, I guess, which normally happened when well-used minds have to work together. You will find funny and dynamic life during the group assignment. You may know by then which one is the parrot and who is the real worker.
Third, (which I’d like to highlight here) is Indonesian student in Brisbane. They are awesome! They are dedicated people who often stay whole night studying but they are fun too. Some Indonesian student who study abroad choose to socialize with other culture because they think they have to open their network and be more culturally open. Even some of them avoid too much interaction with “sesama” Indonesia. But what I found here is a bunch of cool people with determined goals in the future. And that goals are for Indonesia, or at least for their family back in Indonesia. For example finding a cure for malaria, neuroscience research, water management, biotechnology etcetera. This fact encourages me to do better and more focus on my own study. I don’t need to hang out with foreign student just to be cool or widen my personal network (except if it helps my goal for Indonesia). I want to deliver a real work. So, I really proud of you guys and it’s really nice to know all of you.
Fourth, about the food. Halal food is everywhere (but you have to dig and search carefully with your eyes). Later I will write a list of halal food in Brisbane and prayer spaces for muslim. Here I will tell you that food is an easy thing to manage (especially if you are a natural cook, while I’m not, but I'm fine). Funny thing is, vegetables and fruits are more expensive than meat. Grapes cheaper than bananas, even cheaper than cucumber. LOL. Olive oil costs not much different with vegetable oil. So I obviously choose olive oil and canola oil. We found tempe here. And there’s Chinese shop in Fortitude Valley called Yuen which sells many Indonesian food from Teh Sosro Kotak to Jahe Wangi, from Bumbu Inti Kokita and Kecap Bango to Agar-Agar Swallow Globe. I even found Tolak Angin. I will explain it later. InsyaAllah.
Fifth, free stuff. There’s plenty of it! Always check any expo and any campus event with sponsor, and you may get bags, water bottle, dolls, pens, popcorn, free drinks, snacks, cotton candy, saving box, free photo box, sunglasses, t-shirts, toys, hats, free ice-cream, etc. After nine times using the GoCard (digital ticket card for buses and trains in Brisbane), you will get free ride for the rest of the week. If you attend pengajian, you will also get free proper meal (it would be better if you share your plates too, though). There’s free cinema for festival movies in GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Also free postcard there. And sometimes you may get free tickets to some famous exhibition and recent movies. Just remember to get all this things.
Ok, It’s time to go back to do my assignment. I’ll be back.