TF LEaRN Journal Report

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First of all, I would like to say sorry to all of you who have been waiting for posts about my journey as an Exchange Student in NTU, Singapore. (I am not being too confident here. I know there are some who are indeed waiting for them, lol).

Since I have so much free time on my hand now, I will start to make a flashback. I decided to divide them in some parts (I am still not sure how many). As a good start, I will put my TF LEaRN journal report first here. This was a compulsory for all of TF LEaRN scholars. We were required to submit a 1500-200 words essay containing all of our journey as a TF LEaRN scholar, along with our best 10 chosen photos.

So here it is, my TF LEaRN journal. I couldn't write everything in detail since we were only allowed to write at most 2000 words (You have no idea how hard it was for me to compress all the great journey just in 2000 words. I had a hard time choosing which part I should remove before.)

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Before I came to Singapore, I had already known that Singapore is a developed country and has been one of Asian Tigers because of its excellence in organizing all of the aspects of the country. But as I came here and experience all the greatness of this country, I realized that this country is far more amazing than what I dreamed of before. Everything is literally well organized. People live in harmony, along with their own business. However, there are so many social and cultural differences between people here in Singapore compared to those in my home country, Indonesia. One very simple example is that almost girls here are wearing hot pants in their daily lives even when they go to Campus. I also see that Singaporeans really appreciate time and they love to walk in high speed. As you can see in almost all the crowd, people seem so in rush that we also can't just walk leisurely. These small things that I learn after living in Singapore are somehow what I really love about staying in other country. It's different from just travelling because you will get to feel like a real citizen of that country.
After coming here, I also realize that Singapore is a really good example of multicultural country. To be honest, I had never known before that Singapore actually has three major ethnics such as China, India, and Malay. I got this knowledge after joining a Singapore Tour which was held by TF LEaRN Programme. Singapore tour is the first and at the same time a very memorable experience that I had with all LEaRN scholars. 
Singapore Tour

One thing that I remember the most from this event is when we all went to Masjid Sultan in Kampong Glam. At that time, me and other Muslim friends were told to guide other scholars and described what Islam is and what Muslim people do in their daily lives. I also got the chance to show my friends how to do Islam's daily prayer. That was my very first time seeing people amazed by how I do my prayer. My home country, Indonesia, is known as country with the biggest amount of Muslim people all around the world. Thus, doing a daily prayer is really common and even non-Muslim people understand about this in my home country. On the other hand, LEaRN scholars come from 13 different countries in Asia and almost all of them are not familiar with Islamic things. I was really awed that day realizing that things in other countries are not typically the same wirh those in my home country.
NTU is one of the top 50 Universities in the world, so no wonder that almost everything here is amazing. Everything from its environment, facilities, to educating system is really great. In my opinion, NTU is really good at making use of technology, making it one of the most sophisticated Universities in the world. I take four courses here in NTU which are all courses from School of Computer Engineering as I have to transfer all the academic units to my home University. They are Distributed Systems, Wireless Network and Mobile Computing, Computer Vision and Image Processing, and Machine Learning. The education system here is not really different from the system in my home University, except that here students are not required to attend all of the lectures because they can still watch the lecture recordings in edveNTUre. Even though I can use my prior knowledge from my home University to follow the lectures here but still, I have faced some problems. For example, I was actually not used to attending a lecture conducted in English. In my home University, all the lectures are conducted in Indonesian even though the materials are in English. Despite those problems that I have to face, I still try really hard to catch up with all of the lectures and do all of the assignments.
TF LEaRN is a really good chance for me to explore different things about Singapore and other countries. TF LEaRN @ NTU is not just about exchange program as in other programs that only facilitate their scholars to study all the time. This is why I choose to apply for this program in the first place. I am getting bored with my home University life, studying and doing assignments almost every time. That's why I need a program to let me experience and explore many things other than just studying. TF LEaRN is a really great choice that I have ever taken in my life to do so as it makes me learn many new things and gain a deeper understanding of different cultures especially Asian cultures. Through this TF LEaRN, along with all of its programs, I met new friends and build connections with other people from Asia.
First photo together at Orientation and Welcome Event

One of TF LEaRN's program that is compulsory for all of the scholars is Community Service. I was assigned to Regular Service Projects (RSP) Elders, which is sub-club of NTU Welfare Services Club. I was engaged in activities revolving around the elderly to bring them joy and accompaniment as well as to fulfill the Elderly’ physical and emotional needs. I had to go to AWWA Community Home for Senior Citizen in Ang Mo Kio every Saturday to join the session and spend time there with the Elderly. To be honest, at first I was really surprised after being assigned to this RSP. However, in the end I felt really thankful for getting assigned to this club. I've never thought before that communicating, playing, and sharing stories with elderly would be this meaningful. Watching the elderly spending their old days and helping them with many things have really touched a deep different side of my heart. I realize that people, including me, won't stay young forever. The choices are just to grow old or die young. Entering old age is just like going back to childhood. You will start needing help from others again just like what you used to be in your childhood. Thus, it's a duty for us, young people, to serve them so that they can enjoy their old days happily after all the time that they have spent during their lives, their young time. One memorable thing that I have done in the community home was celebrating Chinese New Year with the elderly. We performed some old songs that they loved. 
 
Performing in Chinese New Year Celebration at AWWA Community Home for Senior Citizen

During my time serving the elderly there, I met some uncles and aunties who are all really kind. Among them all, I got close with one aunty from India, one uncle who has been to Indonesia before and surprisingly knew many things about politics in Indonesia, and a Vegetarian Uncle that I love the most. The last uncle is the one whom I spent most of my time with there. I always loved to hear his unique perspective about beliefs. It was always fun having conversation with him. This community service is the very first volunteer activity that I've done in my life. After coming back to Indonesia, I will be really happy to find other community services that I can volunteer in.
With my most favorite Vegetarian Uncle

After coming to Singapore especially NTU, I have met so many new people. First friend that I made here was Cindy, a cute Chinese girl from New Zealand. She looked really lost on the Exchange Students orientation day, so Shieron (TF LEaRN scholar from the same school as me) and I decided to talk to her. Since then, we've met several times inside and even outside NTU to hang out. I also make some new Indonesian friends who are all full time students in NTU. There is an association for Indonesian Muslim students called KUNTUM and they invited me to a barbeque near Pasir Ris. It was really fun and I was so amazed by the fact that most of them all are somehow connected to those that I have known back in Indonesia. At the time, I felt like world became so tiny.
Barbeque with Keluarga NTU Muslim (KUNTUM) Indonesia

Among all the Indonesian full-time students in NTU, I spent most of my time with Agi, Iib, and Ifah. Being with them, I felt like going back to Indonesia because I can not deny that those are ones I get most comfortable with here. Apart from them, of course I also made friends with other TF LEaRN scholars. They are the ones that have helped me broaden my horizon and they are all unexceptionally kind and fun to be and play with. We have shared many moments together through this TF LEaRN programme. We feel as one even though we come from different backgrounds and countries. We struggle together to bond with our new life here and try to overcome all the problems together. I will definitely miss all the scholars after going back to Indonesia. I will always try not to lose contact with them by communicating through facebook. Facebook is a very effective way to do so.
Hang out with friends from Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia
 As one of ways that TF LEaRN provides to make the scholars feel comfortable in both their academic and non academic lives, every scholars is paired with a Faculty mentor. These Faculty mentors are aimed to help the scholars getting used to their new academic lives. I am so lucky to have Professor Kwoh Chee Keong as my mentor for he is really kind and very understanding. He loves to put himself as our friend rather than our mentor, making it really comfortable for me, Shieron, Devesh, and Manasi who are all his mentees to communicate with him. From Prof. Kwoh, I learnt some politic and law things about Singapore that might be a sensitive topic to talk about with other Singaporeans.
With Prof. Kwoh, Manasi, Devesh, and Shieron at Nanyang Lake
 In this TF LEaRN pogramme, students are also given three big projects that had to be done in groups. One of them is Video project, and I was involved in this project with a role as scriptwriter. It was really fun working with the Video team and all the LEaRN scholars to make the video which fortunately ended with a good result. All LEaRN scholars seem really like it and it is really fun to see scholars who happily show the video to their other friends.
Another great program that was held by TF LEaRN is International/Leadership Forum. This was a great opportunity for scholars to enhance their ability in public speaking as we were all divided into groups and we had to deliver our short presentation in some chosen topics about international issues. This was also my very first time talking in front of people from different countries and talking about business issues. Since my background is Computer Science, I was not really used to dealing with business matters and doing public speaking. However, I still tried really hard to do my best in delivering the presentation. It was really great to get the chance discussing and exchanging ideas with people from different countries and understanding each of our perspectives about the future of World especially Asia.
During my presentation in International Leadership Forum
 After the forum ended, there was a farewell event that I really will never forget. I performed a dance with other LEaRN scholars and it was really fun. I was happy that I had the chance to show them Indonesian Traditional Dance (I chose Kicir-Kicir Dance), and I was also really happy because my friends said that I danced really well :D
Dancing in Farewell Event
 After this programme, I will go back to my usual University life, finishing my undergraduate study. However, I have to do internship next summer as a compulsory from my home University. After being a LEaRN scholar, I realize that being in other country really helps me to open my mind especially when working with people from different countries. When I look for a job later, I will try to impress the employer by giving the new perspective that I have gained during TF LEaRN programme. Beside that, I will not just embrace this wonderful experience alone. I will definitely share all the good memories that I have here in NTU to my schoolmates to trigger them to participate in exchange program just like TF LEaRN. My targets are especially my juniors who still have lots of opportunities and try new things. I will share what I have learnt and gained through this program to motivate them.
LEaRN Scholars from Indonesia

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Bonus: TF LEaRN @ NTU 2013 Video


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