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Shandra Ayu Pusparini - Bali

Course: Bachelor of Journalism 
Institution: Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
Location: Kelvin Grove, Queensland

It was a rainy night in November 2013 when I finally made up my mind that I wanted to study abroad.

My dad found it really hard to let me go, because I am the youngest child in the family. However we both knew it was for the best.

My name is Shandra Ayu Pusparini, although my family often calls me Peppy. I am 19 years old, and I am from Bali, Indonesia. Growing up, my Indonesian family has shaped me to think that academic education is really important. My dad used to be an accountant for an Indonesian government company; he is smart and constantly teaches my older siblings to follow his path.

Shandra Ayu Pusparini

It has been tough couple of years for me as I have come to realise that I am the only one in the family who does not want to follow those steps. I do not like academic education, I feel that it does not work for me. In fact I prefer to imagine and write. I like to create things that involve human emotion.

I have always had a passion for writing and the arts, whereas my father admires science and politics. He believes studying these areas could guarantee my career in the future. However I am sure that I won't be able to survive and be a successful person if I do something that I do not love.

I began writing stories in order to develop my skills. Then I realised that I wanted to take it to the next level, I wanted to learn how to write properly. Later on I knew that I had to study abroad, because the writing industry in my country is not promising.

The first country that came to my mind was Australia. I tried to find as much information as possible about Australian universities, and the results were impressive. Furthermore, I always had the idea that Western countries value arts more than Asian countries, which makes me feel secure to strive in my field. 

In early May 2014, I stepped off the plane into my country of hope, Australia.

It was a cold winter morning and I was freezing while waiting for the immigration process. It was not long until I noticed a man in blue shirt from the university was standing by the gate, holding a paper with my name on it. He greeted me so kindly, and I was already falling in love with the people of Australia. We rode a limo to my homestay house in Enoggera. My homestay family was from India, they were so nice to me and treated me like their own family. There was a time when I felt really cold and they helped me a lot with heater and hot drinks. Living in a tropical island such as Bali for more than ten years has made me sensitive to cold weather!

Three days later I had to go to my campus of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), in Kelvin Grove. I have to admit that I was scared to take public transport, considering that I have never taken any public transport in my hometown due to the poor system. But I did not have any choice, so I took a bus and I was amazed by the bus service in Brisbane. The bus came on time; it was clean and safe.

In June 2014 I started to study for a Diploma of Creative Industries and I enjoyed it so much.

I now have international friends who I proudly introduce to my parents every time we Skype. My international friends have taught me a lot about their cultures and languages. They shared their own experiences in Australia, gave me advice to find a job, and much more.

Moreover, I became active as a student mentor. It has improved my leadership skills.

My journey here has not yet ended. Last year I decided to visit some family in Sydney. It is so different compared to Brisbane. Sydney is the real definition of a city, with so many people on the streets, and buildings so high they seem as if they touch the sky. I spent a week there and visited Newcastle and Wollongong. I have to say the great thing about Sydney is the coast. I ended my holiday by celebrating New Years Eve in front of Darling Harbour.

I have now been living in Australia for a year and so far it is my favorite place to live. I am currently studying for a bachelor of journalism in the Creative Industries Department at QUT. I used to feel insecure – after a year in international college with friends from diverse backgrounds, I was afraid I would be treated differently from Australian people. Especially because English is my second language, and this made me think they might not understand what I say. 

But the reality has proven me wrong, now I have many Australian friends and they completely respect me. 

What I like most about living in Australia is the community. I recently joined Brisbane Writers' Community, which meets in the Queensland State Library. The experience that I get from this community is unimaginable. I get so much advice about being a writer, and I am so happy to be a part of it. I cannot wait to see where the future will take me after I graduate. I am looking forward to working here as a journalist, and freelance writer.

For some people, Australia might be a country full of koalas and kangaroos, but for me it is more than that. Australia has helped me to turn my passion and dreams into reality. I have had such a great time in Australia, and there is no way I could forget the experiences I have had here.

Read the full article on Australia Plus.
Find out more about the Queensland University of Technology Bachelor of Journalism.

Last updated: Wednesday, 10 June 2015 11:02:19 AM

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