TEMASEK FOUNDATION – NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE LEADERSHIP ENRICHMENT AND REGIONAL NETWORKING PROGRAMME (TF-NUS LEaRN) OVERSEAS STUDENT

REPORT

Information from this report may be used for marketing of the programme, which will include but not restricted to the following avenues: IRO website, brochures, flyers and information sessions to students. This report will also be sent to Temasek Foundation.

Name

: Shaffira Diraprana Gayatri

Exchange Period : 1 (one) semester Home University : Universitas Indonesia

Purpose of this report This report is for you to reflect on the semester and share your reflections on your experiences in the different aspects of the programme, how you have been enriched in your personal and leadership development, as well as the extent you have built up networks for future interactions.

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challenged me as well. and upon seeing that my room was unfit to stay – due to the incomplete construction – they helped me to sort things out with the management and in the end. they succeeded to get me a temporary room until my own room is ready. Especially since this is my third time being in Singapore. thus. they also drove me to Cinnamon. as well as English as a first language! First of all.Settling In in the “Fine City” As traveling has always been one of my main interests. Gwen’s father even bought me an ice kachang and brought most of my shopping bags for me! Their kindness and graciousness really touched my heart and made me really appreciate the goodwill of local Singaporeans. and her father willingly picked me up in Changi Airport on the day of my arrival. and surprisingly enough. I fancied myself to be adequately familiar with this country. These challenges came in forms of registration matters. homesickness. as I was allocated in Cinnamon College. Fortunately for me. Not only that they patiently waited for me for more than an hour. a USP student was assigned to be my buddy and help me to go through the first days. 2 . networking and making friends. Thus Gwen. they then escorted me to the nearest supermarket so that I could buy all my daily needs. the whole process of settling in with the intention to live for a longer period of stay brought many new experiences for me as an exchange student. However. I mainly enjoy adapting to a new environment and hardly found any difficulties at all. there was the whole issue of arriving in Singapore along and perfectly clueless about the location of NUS and settling down the housing matters. short for Gwyneth. Furthermore. academic and non-academic systems in NUS.

either in International Relations Office (IRO). thus. Even though the whole process of bureaucracy has always been problematic. were very professional and seemed to be determined to provide us excellent service to ensure us a pleasant experience in NUS. 3 . from Changi. due to its efficient service and helpful staffs. and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (which is the faculty I belong to). I did not find too many problems in NUS. another friend. This is something that I rarely find back home. The latter is what particularly impressed me. it really did help me to settle in and enjoy my new semester in NUS. we were never short of activities and events that exposed us to one another and gave us a great opportunity for networking. Most of the staffs. luckily for me. Cinnamon Residential College.Figure 1: Gwen and I picking up Indah. Our problems and concerns were listened to with rapt attention and they would always try to come up with solutions or improvements. Registrar’s Office. I took the picture :) The next issue was about handling the immigration matters at ICA and academic system and registration at NUS. In addition. Office of Student Affairs.

and it turned out to be a greatly fruitful experience! For the whole month. Indonesia. As I came in August. With Annick. we are very lucky to have such great friends in Singapore. I attended a lot of mass iftar (break fasting) events held by various communities: the Indonesian community. while 4 . sahoor). the Indonesian exchange students. our TF-LEaRN coordinator Homesickness is a word that hardly exists in my dictionary – however. and the NUS Muslim society. I had to experience fasting during my first month in a totally new country. around 20-25 Muslims that live in Cinnamon and Tembusu Residential College had early breakfast together (or as we call it. These made the challenge of fasting in a country where Muslims are not a majority quite bearable. etc). I must admit that I did suffer from slight symptoms of this “disease”. However. Bahrain. the Muslim Singaporeans community. it bonded us together. which signaled the beginning of the Holy Month of Ramadan for the Muslims. Nevertheless. Thus. despite the fact that we come from various countries with different nationalities (Singapore. the worst is yet to come. I had to celebrate Hari Raya or Eid far away from my family. Not just that. Malaysia. being away from them was really hard for all of us. Pakistan. The local non-Muslims remembered to wish us a happy Hari Raya. The end of Ramadan came and for the first time.Figure 2. As Indonesian Muslims adopt the custom to gather with both the nuclear and extended family during this special event. This is something totally new for me.

the local Muslims graciously invited us to their house. and held a small Hari Raya celebration for the Muslims living in Singapore. even though I did not speak English actively. 5 . of the population. They all made me feel that I am a part of a new family here. Figure 3. Hari Raya with my Muslim friends in UTown Figure 4. As I learnt English in a very young age. I became used to read and write in it. and for that I feel really blessed. Hari Raya Bazaar at Geylang with my Malay friend English has always been a second language for me. gave us tins and tins of kuih and Hari Raya food. I was proven wrong. I never thought that language will be a barrier for me in a country where English is spoken by a majority. Thus. if not all.

which is slower and simpler. though. and for one who is not used to it. The Pursuit of Education In my home university. seems to me to be a manageable task. and I resolved to check my mobile dictionary for every vocabulary I did not understand. I was assured that when people say that my English is good. taking 5 modules worth of 16 credits (as one module is ungraded). committees. It did make me constantly occupied. it is just out of the kindness of their hearts. Some of the new things I discovered here was the different type of classes. Even though Universitas Indonesia (UI) is the best university in Indonesia and demands a lot from its students. Singaporeans tend to speak in a very fast pace and use a lot of difficult terms. and seminars. I am used to take a workload of 22 credits every semester. 6 . First of all.Even though I am very familiar with the language and currently taking a major in English as well. the high-speed speeches and the fancy words gave me quite a tough time. which is the loss of confidence in my fluency in English. everything began to solve its way out. I got used to the fast paced speech of the Singaporeans. I was proved wrong. Second. mostly Singaporeans use their local accent. the usage of English in Singapore raised several challenges for me. I regarded that everyone were judging me as slow and stupid because I spoke in a slower speed. this variation may seem as a different language altogether. famously known as Singlish. we have to attend lectures. I began to become more and more familiar with the Singlish accent and slangs. I began to stammer and hesitate whenever I spoke in English because I was highly self-conscious of myself. Regaining my self-confidence is something I am still working on. This led me to another problem. I soon found out that NUS demands more and provides a tougher workload for us. as it will always keep me learning and improving myself. yet I always manage to find the time to get involved in various organizations. In NUS. Gradually. As I am more used to the American way of speaking. yet. I believe that realizing what I am lacking is useful for me. Thus.

This is very new to me as I enjoy a lively and active atmosphere in classrooms and I am used to the privilege of asking questions to the lecturers when I do not understand. and they study into late at night – even until morning. seminars. This culture is probably because of the high standard in NUS and the competitiveness that is resulted from the bell curve system that is adopted here. This situation made me realize that we both can learn from each other – which is the most important thing in the whole learning process. They always come to class with their handouts printed from the IVLE and constantly make notes. after watching a TheatreWorks play 7 . Figure 5. practicals – whereas in UI we just have one type of class which consists of both lectures and tutorials. Another “culture shock” I experienced here is how mostly Singaporean students are very studious and hardworking. They admitted that they also had questions in mind but were afraid to sound silly if they asked. which made me physically exhausted yet shaped me into a more disciplined student. Unexpectedly. Thus in NUS. readings. and hardly anyone would ask questions. My local classmates and I. and in some cases. we are exposed to our modules more often as both the lectures and tutorials demand preparations. it surprised me that in classes they mostly keep quiet unless they are required to deliver their opinions. However. some of my classmates praised me and thanked me for that. and assignments. because I voiced out my questions in class and did not hold back from answering the professor’s question. This required me to constantly study and adhere to the strict deadlines. they are often seen working on their laptops or poring over thick textbooks everywhere.tutorials.

and both were very enjoyable. while the practical classes gave us room to innovate. The Introduction to Theatre & Drama was definitely one of my favorites! We had a mixture of theories and practices. All these made my learning process in such a reputable institution as NUS to be such a fruitful experience. and make us more aware of our surroundings.As a so-called nerd. I really enjoy all my modules! The materials in Nineteenth Century Literature class were very intense compared to the literature classes in my home university. explore new things. I must admit that one of the things I was looking forward to when I first came to NUS is the prospect of learning new things from the variety of courses I took: literature. Needless to say. they also trigger out the best in us and try to keep us active and participate in class. even though I did have to adapt to the high standard in NUS. The semantic theories we learnt are applicable in our daily lives and make us more analytical. My professors in action! 8 . One thing that all the classes had in common was the capability and great competence the professors and tutors possess. Not only that they are obviously very smart and can teach well. something we tend to take for granted. Figure 6. communication and new media. theatre studies. My Philosophy of Language class was greatly interesting and kept me in constant ponderings about language and meaning. and philosophy. and we had in depth discussions in our tutorials that gave me brand new perspectives about life itself.

workshops. What is more. in which the former emphasized on intellectually disabled youths.How the Exchange Changed Me The one semester I spent in Singapore provided me with tremendous chances to learn from my interactions with the locals as well as foreigners who are currently residing in Singapore through community service activities. For the NUS student clubs. we will learn to have more patience because it requires a lot of patience to approach them and make them trust us. and their happy faces touched my heart and made me appreciate more of the blessings in my life. and Grant A Wish. The community service activities I joined both in NUS and SG Cares gave me a lot of insights about the volunteering system in Singapore. and made me more aware of the intellectually disabled people. From the outside they may seem different from us. this experience opened my eyes of children’s needs of recreational pleasure. yet after a while we would discover that there is not much difference after all. host family programs. These two programs focused on children and youth. Most of them are friendly and always have a sunny disposition. and networking with fellow students. a program by NUS SCS (Students Community Service Club). I joined Fernvale MINDS Garden through NVAC (Network Volunteering Activity Club). and the latter aimed for the welfare of less privileged children. Thus. since the intellectually disabled are not a main target of my community service club in Indonesia. Both are them are quite new for me. 9 . and our approach for the less privileged children mainly focuses on improving their access to school and education.

I also joined many community service programs from SG Cares. These programs include Coastal Cleaning. and Balik Kampung by Ground-Up Initiative. could play a great role in changing the society for the better. After the Grant A Wish Party with Liyana. Home Painting for the Elderly. but most of them were youths. All of these programs were greatly exciting and fruitful! The volunteers I met here came from various backgrounds and they ranged from children to seniors. After the International Coastal Cleaning at Lim Chu Kang with my team 10 .Figure 7. This made me reflect that youths. Figure 8. with the right influences and leaders. a fellow volunteer Not only did I participate in NUS-based community services. with their enthusiasm and brilliant fresh ideas.

Balik Kampung: With other volunteers after recycling 11 . Composting at “Balik Kampung” Figure 9c.Figure 9a. Volunteering for “Balik Kampung” Figure 9b.

“It’s hard not to say that the TOUCH Leadership Workshop did not improve me and my perspectives about volunteering. The two days of the workshop were very valuable for me – in terms of networking and bonding. improvement of knowledge about volunteering.Figure 10a. All of the sessions 12 . our beneficiary One of my fellow TF-LEaRN scholars said. Painting for the Elderly: With Madam Salima. the essence of service learning. and my development as a person in whole. and the qualities of a leader. The sessions we had were overall very insightful as we learnt about the elements required to work as an effective team. the principals of learning.” And I must say that I totally agree with her. Living and interacting with my TF-LEaRN scholars for two whole days made me closer to them and bonded us as one big family. Painting for the Elderly Figure 10b.

Figure 11a. TOUCH Workshop: Grabbing a water botol! Figure 11b.helped to shape and improve me as a better student. and corporate. I have learnt and proven that it is very essential to create as many networks as we can: local. team mate. In terms of local networks. and – most importantly – person. regional. leader. despite my short period of stay. I have made a lot of 13 . With my teammates in the TOUCH workshop Networks and Plans for Future Interactions Throughout this exchange experience.

I had the chance to be acquaintance to a lot of people from around the world through the host family programs. At a Pakistani wedding with my Pakistani friends 14 . creating further networks. My USP buddy. as there were a lot of networking sessions and my host parents introduced me to their ex-host students and acquaintances. as a result.Singaporean friends that have promised to visit me in Indonesia and keep in touch through social networking sites. My host buddies were also very helpful and friendly and made great acquaintances! My TF buddy. but our friendship will be carried on through the Internet. It was from her as well that I joined interfaith dialogues held by the NUS Interfaith Club. Gwen. Figure 12. also helped me a lot. Huiwen. and even though we will go back to our own countries. For regional networks. has always been very helpful despite her busy schedule in school. in which we will continue on supporting and inspiring each other to contribute better for our country. especially during my first days in NUS. Living in a residential college in campus is also a great way to meet new people and to make friends. My TF-LEaRN fellows are also an important part of my regional network – as we are the hopes for the future of ASEAN and Asia. I got acquainted with many new people over dinner in the Dining Hall.

Celebrating Diwali at Little India with friends from India and USA 15 . Celebrating Mooncake Festival with friends from China and Taiwan Figure 115.Figure 103. Dinner with host family Figure 14.

it is easier for me to stay connected with the networks I’ve built through social networking sites and e-mail. Gathering with my TF-LEaRN fellows! As for corporate networks. even when I am back in Indonesia. Lunch with host parents and their ex-host students Figure 17. In this era of technology. I also get acquainted with the members of IPA (Indonesian Professionals Association). which will be very useful to enhance my future networking. Therefore. we can still maintain a good relationship. an association for Indonesian professionals in Singapore. as I plan to keep on participating in their online events.Figure 16. where I had the chance to meet a lot of famous Singaporean and foreign writers and other people from the creative industry. I also participated as a volunteer in Singapore Writer’s Festival. 16 .

This project is drove by my concern that in my university.Figure 18. This project will be done in a span of 6 months. in which the timeline is as following: 17 . I have two project ideas that I will like to implement in my country. First. At IPA Solve Award. I will try to collaborate with the Students Union in Universitas Indonesia and internal students clubs to advocate the compulsory procedure of double-sided printings for every faculty in campus. an event organised by IPA Project Ideas for a Better Indonesia After observing and learning from the community service which I have participated in. we still widely use a single-sided setting when printing or copying – imagine what a waste of paper is that! Seeing with my own eyes the success of NUSSU in advocating for the usage of double-sided paper makes me optimistic that it could be implemented in my university as well.

This simple yet meaningful activity will open the eyes of the children and they will go home with fresh perspectives and renewing awareness about children who are underprivileged in a different way. ended by having lunch or dinner together. 2. and they will participate together in educational activities and fun games. V – VI Publication of the issue Students The second project will be focused on less privileged children living in the area of my university. a center for children with autism and Down syndrome. It will make them think better than to judge wrongly or to hold prejudices. As I am already involved in Rumah Belajar. Month I Activity Building collaboration and coordination Target Student student clubs Union. rentals computer 4. before the event. faculties Fotocopy and printing centers. as a member and committee. I would like to raise the children’s awareness of intellectually disabled children. 3. I would like to return to that program and implement some new ideas for the improvement for the program. thus. In this outing. 18 .No. which is something every children must learn in their tender ages. they will be briefed first about the condition of the children they are visiting. II – IV IV – V Advocate the movement and the purpose Briefing and publication of the issue Rector of UI. a free school for less privileged children and youths. my idea is to hold an outing for the children. these children will visit Yayasan Pantara. 1. Of course.