From Central Java to Australia, a Titian University Student’s Special Trip

From Central Java to Australia

I am a first generation student of Titian Foundation in my final year of studying accounting at the University of Diponegoro, Semarang. In early October I was selected by a global, non-profit women’s organization, Soroptimist International of Jakarta, to receive a scholarship and a trip to Tasmania, Australia to attend “Leadership Development Scholarship and Study Exchange Tour” as part of a joint project “Educate to Lead” between SI Jakarta and SI Hobart.

In Tasmania I was accompanied by members from SI Jakarta; Ibu Any as president of SI Jakarta, Ibu Chris as coordinator and Ibu Isla. We stayed in a bungalow belonging SIH member, Ibu Allison, (I love the moment when I helped her to cook). Most of my activities were organized by SI Hobart president, Ibu Julie. This included attending the 65th anniversary of SI Hobart where I gave a short speech.
Some of SI Hobart projects that particularly interest me are Fund- raising for The Hobart Women’s Shelter, Kiva micro-lending revolving loans, 16 Days of Activism: “Walk the Talk” raising awareness of violence against girls and women, and participating in the production of a play by Eve Ensler for fund-raising.

From these projects I understand what the Soroptimists do. Their aim is to respond to women’s issues, fight for human rights and empower women. All is done on a voluntary basis and with great sincerity.

The experiences that I had during my trip to Australia were so different to life in my home village. Most of my friends of a similar age are already married, some of them with children. For me getting married is not yet an option. As women, we do not have to depend on men (either our father, husband or partner), we can be independent if we really want to.

I was very grateful for the opportunity given to me by joining this event. It has not only given me a life-changing experience, but also raised my sights when making future plans. After returning to Indonesia, I feel more confident than before and I am aware that the valuable lessons that I got from my trip must be spread among young people as agent of change, by telling of my experience to my friends. And I want to learn more about the Soroptimists, and hope one day to be involved in social projects with SIJ.

I wish one day I will go overseas again maybe for studying, travelling or working. Learning good things from other countries, then coming back to contribute to changing lives in Indonesia for the better.

On this journey I truly felt what Henry Miller said in his quote, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things”.

– Ade Rizky Novitasari