Another Chapter of My Life – From “駐車禁止” to “No Parking”

So now I try to write this post in English because this post is dedicated to all my Japanese teacher and Japanese classmates. And because my Japanese writing skill is still not good enough, so instead of writing this in Japanese, I prefer to write this in English. Enjoy reading! 😀

Actually before coming to Japan, I was aiming to post at least 3 posts a month. I really wanted to share all episodes I experienced here because I’m sure there will be many interesting story to tell about. But apparently, I was so busy doing many things so even if I had free time, I’d rather sleep or going somewhere interesting than posting something on my blog. But now, I have to write this thought as long as it’s still in my mind. Or else I will forget again >_<

Important Japanese

Like written on my previous posts (but it’s written in Indonesian language so never mind), in this past 4 months I was studying Japanese in Intensive Course. So because it was ‘intensive’, everyday we studied from 8.40 am until 3.00 pm, from Monday to Friday, for 15 weeks. It was like a our major is Japanese. Because after class we still have a lot of homework and tasks, so we often studied together outside class.

You know many people says that you can’t live in Japan without having Japanese skill because people here rarely speak English. But at first I didn’t think it’s true. Two years ago I came here for short conference and trip, and at that time, I didn’t have Japanese skill at all, and Alhamdulillah I managed to go to many places just by following the instruction from map I took at the station (and with the help from my friend who was good in reading map actually 😀 ). So in my opinion you still can go everywhere in Japan even if you can’t speak Japanese.

And I was right. You CAN GO everywhere in Japan without having Japanese skill, but you CAN’T LIVE in Japan without having Japanese skill. (Nandanari, 2013) <- quotation みたい:P It’s just my opinion by the way, or at least it’s my experience.

When you live here, you will do everything that is related to Japanese. When you go shopping, sometimes you have to communicate with the people at the market to ask something. When you read an announcement in public places, it might be an important announcement so you have to understand the meaning. And you may face problem here, like sickness, problem related to money so you have to go to the bank, or post office, and many many public places don’t have English translation nor people who can’t speak English to explain everything to you.

Before I came to Japan, actually I have studied Japanese for a year, so I thought I will have enough skill to begin my life in Japan. But I was wrong. The first time I got here, I couldn’t understand when Japanese people talk in Japanese, at all. They talked so fast and sometimes omit the particles or syllables, and they didn’t use ‘masu’ form like I studied in Indonesia. It was even worse when they tried to talk in Keigo because at that time I didn’t know Keigo at all.

Then I did Japanese placement test to be able to enter Japanese class, and I was placed in this Intensive Course.

In this Intensive Course, we studied all of basic grammar in Japanese and all of our Senseis always explain everything in easy Japanese (they rarely used English). The grammar and vocabulary they used will increase along with the grammar and vocabulary we studied at class, so after we studied the theory, we can directly used it in daily life, so that grammar or vocab will stay in our mind. Moreover, if there’s a vocab we didn’t know, they always rephrase it with other easier vocab in Japanese also.

Besides that, we were also taught very useful expressions that we can use in daily life, like my previous story. We were taught how to ask direction in a proper way, how to go to a hospital, and many more. And there was one episode of my life here that I experienced exactly the same episode I studied at class (from that link also), so I was so excited >_<

So by hearing Japanese everyday and using it in daily life, gradually my Japanese skill is increasing. And I can use that expressions in my daily life here. So I found that the curriculum they made is very good and useful. They taught us many important Japanese we can use. And maybe if I weren’t placed in this Intensive Course, I couldn’t increase my Japanese skill this much. I mean,  now I’m still not fluent in Japanese of course. Because there’s to much grammar I studied in this past 4 months, I sometimes get confuse which grammar should I use when I want to say something. There’s still so many things I have to learn. But the difference between the first time I got here and now is so far. That’s the thing I most thankful about.

Japan’s Culture

In this intensive course we didn’t only study grammar and vocab, of course, because it would be so boring if it was so. Senseis also provide us other special program which was about Japan’s culture. This period maybe one of our favorite time because we can refresh a bit after having attacked by a bunch of grammar and kanji everyday 😛

Japan’s manner. Actually Indonesia and Japan has many similar manner so it’s not so new for me. But for my friend from western country it was really new. They aren’t used to take off their shoes when entering house, they aren’t used to sit on the floor with Japanese style, they aren’t used to traffic in Japan because here cars going in left side of the street (so lucky Indonesia has the same system too!), and many more. But some manners also new for me, such as you can’t share food from one chopstick to another chopstick (because it’s a custom while attending funeral), for woman it’s not good to sit cross-legged, when you enter the house you can’t take off your shoes while facing your back to the host, and so on.

Karuta. I never knew this kind of game before. We played with two sets of card. On the first set of card, one hiragana is written as well as a drawing of some situation. On the second set of the card, there’s one sentence that start with one hiragana. So these cards are pairs. There will be one person reading the card that full of sentence, and the other set was spread over the floor, and some other people sitting around these cards. When you hear a sentence that start with one hiragana, you have to look for the card with that hiragana and take it as fast as you can. You win if you take the most cards. This game is so fun and refreshing. But unfortunately I completely forgot to take a picture when we played this game. Maybe I’ll ask Sensei some pictures. (unimportant fact: I won when we played this game 🙂 )

Rakugoka. One day we had a chance to meet Rakugoka. Rakugoka is one kind of comedian in Japan. This comedian will tell us funny conversations and play role as some people at the same time, so they have ability to speak in many different accents, such as old man, old woman, kids, adult man, adult woman, etc. The special things are they just sit on a pillow while tell us the funny conversations, and their equipment only one hand-fan. So with those equipments and their facial expressions, they can make us imagine what kind of situation is happening now. The day before we met the Rakugoka, me and my classmates submit one funny conversation in Japanese. And this rakugoka chose my story to be presented in front of the audience! So I tried to become funny while using Japanese. Only some people laughed though 😛 I don’t know why, it’s either they didn’t understand my Japanese, or I wasn’t funny at all 😛 But it was an amazing experience 🙂

Rakugoka and classmates

Rakugoka and classmates

Shodou. Shodou is Japan’s calligraphy. On our kanji class, we sometimes learn how to write kanji  in calligraphy style. It wasn’t easy at all! >_< But is was so fun. We keep asking Sensei to do calligraphy instead of studying kanji only 😛 Because our kanji Sensei is very nice, she always granted our wishes. Sensei, thank you very much for making kanji class so fun! ^_^

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Our works

Fun Trip

As a part of Intensive Course, we had one day trip to interesting place in Japan for free 😀 Alhamdulillah. So when Sensei asked us months ago about where do we want to go if we had trip, I suggest Nikko because I always wanted to go to Nikko since two years ago when I came to Japan, but I still didn’t have time. Fortunately, Sensei accepted my suggestion!! Sensei said that usually from year to year, students from Intensive Course only went to Tsukuba-san (Mount Tsukuba) which is near university. So we were very lucky! ^_^

June 28th, 2013. This was a one-day trip. We went to Nikko early in the morning (not so early for Indonesian actually) by bus. The bus was very nice. There were two columns and two seats on each column, but the bus was very big so everybody didn’t have to share seats. We could have two seats for us and our belongings.

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On the bus there was also a guide-lady like I saw on dorama! That guide wore a uniform and talked in the bus using microphone. The guide gave us many information about the way we took to go there and also about what we would see there.

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When we arrived at Nikko, we have to walk a bit from the parking lot to Toshogu area. The guide-lady walked while holding a flag. Really looked like in dorama 😀

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In Toshogu area, there was another guide-lady who guide us inside Toshogu. This guide explained everything about Toshogu history, and the good thing was she explained it in English so we can understand easily.

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After going around Toshogu, we had lunch in the restaurant near the parking lot. In this restaurant most of us ordered Yuba Set, which is famous product in Nikko. Yuba is made of tofu, and on this Yuba Set, all was made of tofu and vegetable 🙂

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After eating, we had a very little time of buying souvenir >_< And because I didn’t know what to buy, I only bought castella, which is another famous product from Nikko.

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The next stop was Mashiko Yaki. This was a place for making yakimono or pottery. We were taught by a trainer how to make a pottery. Actually it was so easy and just like when we were kids playing plasticine. I made a bowl that looked like a hat, one of my friend said >_<

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This bowl still haven’t finished yet. After the shape was complete, we left them all there to be burn and dried by the worker in that place. Around one month after that (Sensei said it will be around August 12th), they will send all of our works to International Student Center so that we can take them. Looking forward! 🙂

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All of our works

This trip was so special, because, if I go there by myself, I won’t have enough money to pay a high-class bus, a guide, and a trainer to teach me how to make pottery. I feel so lucky to be given this experience 🙂

New Skill

On this past 4 months, I feel that I gain so many skills and experiences that probably I wouldn’t be able to gain if I was not in Intensive Course.

Shodou. We had so many chances to write calligraphy again and again. Our kanji Sensei is very nice. When we wanted to write a complicated kanji, She always taught us how to write it properly by holding our brush together. She also taught us how to make our own ink from water! 😀

Going to a doctor. Yes, it is also not an easy skill for me because no one speak English at the clinic. How to register at the receptionist, how to tell the doctor our problem, how to understand doctor’s explanation, and finally how to understand pharmacist explanation about medicine we must take. All this skill I learnt at class and surprisingly I experience a same episode as on the video we watched at class 🙂

Yakimono. It was a really nice experience. Just a few days before our trip to Nikko, I watched a korean variety show where the actor and actress made a yakimono, and I said (to myself) that I wanted to make a yakimono also. And my wish became true unintentionally. And the step by step of making yakimono taught by the trainer was exactly the same as the one that I watched on the variety show! >_<

Rakugo. While ‘Rakugoka’ is the person/comedian, ‘Rakugo’ is the type of comedy itself. As I said before, my ‘funny’ story was chosen by the Rakugoka to be presented in front of audience. So yeah, I tried my best to become funny 😛 And know I became know how to do it 😀

Presentation. And yeah, last but not least, I gain presentation skill conducted in Japanese! Around June, our class had finished studying all of basic grammar, so Sensei decided to give us more challenge for the next one month. The next thing we must study is writing grammar. In Japanese, speaking grammar is different from writing grammar. Sensei thought that maybe after this we will have to read some articles, thesis, or papers written in Japanese, so studying writing grammar is also important.

Besides writing grammar, Sensei also taught us more complicated vocabulary related to our major. Sensei looked for our supervisor’s paper that is written in Japanese and told us some important words that might we use or hear a lot in the future. At first this was so hard because we jumped from basic level to upper-intermediate level. Me and my classmates often felt tired because of too much thinking at the class instead of doing interesting things like when we were studying basic grammar. But now I can see the benefit.

On the last day of our class, we were given a challenge to present our research theme, in Japanese, by using all vocab and grammar we learnt so far. At first I was so shocked, what will I say, and how can I say it in Japanese. But Sensei said, there’s no way you can’t do it. So I became motivated by hearing that.

The last three days of class, I didn’t sleep that much (and I’m sure my classmates too). We prepared for the presentation and a present for each of our Senseis.  We made very big posters from powerpoint that we print. This is my poster

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漢字いっぱいですよ! Even I didn’t realize now I know some kanji and vocab related to my major. And I can’t believe that in the end, I passed this challenge. I can present my research in front of people. Maybe it wasn’t perfect, still did many mistakes, but people understand what I said and I could answer their questions, is already a big achievement for myself 🙂

Interesting Facts

I’m sorry this post become this long because I want to summarize all I got on these past 4 months in one post (my mistake to not write regularly >_< ).

Inside and outside class we often talked about many things with our Senseis. And I found some interesting facts that I want to share to you who read this until this part 😛

Live overseas. So from chatting with some Senseis (almost all I think), I came to know that almost of our Senseis have ever lived abroad. So that’s why our Senseis are different from normal Japanese. Lol 😀 What so different?

First, our Senseis can speak English even though they didn’t use it that much while talking with us. Sometimes when we wanted to ask something and didn’t know how to ask in Japanese, we asked them in English and they understood and answered it in Japanese, which is good for us to train our listening skill.

Second, our Senseis are very open-minded. I think Senseis can deal with different kinds of student. It’s not just about how different character of one student to another student but because we came from different countries, we also have many different customs. Since I come from eastern country, I rarely have difficulty to adapt with Japan’s custom. But many of my friends come from western countries and they have many different custom too. Sometimes I saw them doing something that I think they shouldn’t do in front of Senseis, but Senseis never angry or offended.

Third, our Senseis are very patient. Even some of us sometimes came late to class or not doing homework (which I know it’s not Japanese’s character), Senseis just gave us reminder without making us feel uncomfortable. If I were a Sensei, maybe I couldn’t become as patient as this >_<

Fourth, Senseis have so wide knowledge in many different areas. One of my Sensei even remind me about Ramadan one week before it started >_< I wonder how he found out that Ramadan was about to start. Another Sensei has interests in Latin’s culture so she can talk about many things with my friends from Latin America. Another Sensei knows many things about Indonesia! So I can see that Senseis who teach us have interests in many different countries or culture. Maybe that’s why they are assigned to teach foreigner 😀

Japanese Japanese. It’s hard to translate that sentence. In Japanese I mean “nihonjin no nihongo” 😛 I heard from one of our Sensei, normal Japanese didn’t study Japanese grammar at school. So they don’t know such things as ‘te-form’, ‘ta-form’, ‘dictionary-form’, ‘i-adjective’, ‘na-adjective’, and all that we learnt at class. Now I know why long long time ago, when I was still in Indonesia, I have a friend who had live in Japan for 5 years when she was a kid. I asked her about verb in group 2, and she didn’t know what group 1, 2 and 3 are! She said that she never heard such thing. And I was surprise (shock maybe) at that time, and now it all makes sense 😀

Still about ‘nihonjin no nihongo’, I can see that there aren’t so many Japanese who can communicate well with foreigners who are new in studying Japanese. As a beginner, our vocab is still limited, there are some words that have many translation in Japanese, and maybe we only know one word, but not the other word. So Japanese who can communicate with foreigner, they can rephrase difficult word with easier one, or they can explain that word with an easy explanation in Japanese. But for Japanese who don’t have this skill, they can’t rephrase it and become confuse how to explain that word. The other thing is, there are too many slang words in Japanese (same as Indonesian actually 😛 ). So normal Japanese often speak using that slang words, that are difficult to understand by beginners >_<

*****

Now without realizing, this amazing experience has come to an end. It’s like once again, another chapter of my life is closed, and all I can do is just look back and feel the benefits from what I got so far.

On the farewell party, one Sensei told me a story. Years ago, she also taught in one Japanese Class. One day, one of her student called her after a long time no seeing each other. On that call, the student told Sensei that her dream came true. She was graduated and was about to come home to her country. Sensei said that it was one of the best time of her life, knowing her student reached her succeed. And Sensei also told me, “Nadine-san, before I get old, reach your goals as fast as you can, and please call me when your dreams come true.”

Another Sensei also told me, “Now you get scholarship to study in Japan. Here, there are so many chances you can get. You can study your major, and you can also study Japanese. Make sure to catch all of those chances and use them well in your future.”

Another advice from another Sensei, “Here you might be facing many hardships. But it’s life. The longer you live, the more challenges you will faces. But don’t worry, after you passed one step, it means you deserve to be on the next step, on the higher step.”

(Ok, now my eyes watery) T_T

To all of our Senseis, I can’t express how thankful I am to teach us so many things in a very short time. Thank you for all stories and advice you gave us. Thank you for choosing me as one of Intensive Class’s members, because I know, if I weren’t on this class, I wouldn’t get the same experience.

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at Nikko

(not all ) Senseis and our presents

(not all) Senseis and our presents

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Seleksi Wawancara Monbusho G2G 2013

Tahap sebelumnya : Ujian Tertulis

Sebetulnya saya sudah agak merasa putus asa dan tidak berani berharap banyak gara-gara tes bahasa Inggris yang cukup susah kemarin. Tapi, harapan itu masih ada sih walaupun cuma secuil. Pokoknya, doa yang tak henti saya ucapkan kala itu, ” Ya Allah, berikanlah yang terbaik saja menurut-Mu”. Alhamdulillah, berkat doa itu, hati ini menjadi cukup tenang menghadapi apa pun hasilnya nanti.

Tidak disangka-sangka, 2 minggu setelah tes tulis, tepatnya tanggal 4 Juli 2012, tiba-tiba seorang teman meng-sms saya, “Din, cek website!” Wah, kalo smsnya kayak gini, mestinya sih kabar baik (udah GR gitu 😛 ) Saya pun lagi-lagi membuka website kedubes dengan hati dokidoki >_<

Daann.. Alhamdulillah, saya dinyatakan lolos ujian tertulis bersama sekitar 90-an pelamar lainnya. Rasanya bener-bener ga nyangka dan speechless. Segala puji hanya untuk Allah saja yang sudah membawa saya hingga sejauh ini 🙂

Saat itu, pengumuman yang lolos ujian tertulis langsung disertai dengan jadwal wawancaranya. Saya kebagian wawancara hari Rabu tanggal 18 Juli 2012 sesi pagi. What?! itu kan cuma 4 hari setelah wisuda >_< yang mana saya sudah merencanakan untuk berlibur dengan orang tua, adik, dan sepupu saya di Bandung. Namun takdir berkata lain, terpaksa rencana liburannya jadi dipadatkan hingga hari Selasa saja.

Persiapan

Sejak mengetahui pengumuman bahwa saya lolos ujian tertulis, dan mengetahui kenyataan bahwa mendekati wisuda pasti heboh dengan persiapannya, saya pun berlatih untuk menghadapi wawancara ini sedini mungkin. Waktu itu, saya langsung searching pengalaman wawancara Monbusho dari senior-senior dan pertanyaan-pertanyaan apa saja yang mungkin keluar. Saya bahkan membuat cheatsheet rencana jawaban yang akan saya sampaikan jika memang pertanyaan itu keluar 😛

Berikut isi dari cheatsheet saya:

Perkenalan diri

  • Saya lahir di mana, background keluarga, pekerjaan orang tua, serta riwayat pendidikan saya dari SD hingga kuliah
  • Saya tekankan bahwa saya sudah terbiasa jauh dari orang tua sejak SMA karena tinggal di asrama, lalu ketika kuliah saya juga ngekos di Bandung (memberikan kesan kepada pewawancara bahwa kita tidak akan masalah tinggal berjauhan dari keluarga)
  • Saya sebutkan kelebihan serta kekurangan saya, serta bagaimana cara saya menghadapi kekurangan itu (menunjukkan bahwa kita mengenal diri kita dengan baik dan tahu cara meminimalisasi kekurangan)

Tentang riset

  • Saya cerita abstrak riset saya dengan bahasa yang lebih santai daripada yang tertulis di paper
  • Dari mana saya dapat ide untuk melakukan riset ini
  • Apa keuntungannya jika riset ini dikembangkan
  • Langkah-langkah apa saja yang sudah saya pikirkan untuk mewujudkan riset ini (menunjukkan bahwa kita tahu apa yang mau kita lakukan saat riset kelak)
  • Saya juga siapkan handout yang berisi bagan riset saya untuk diberikan kepada peawancara kelak (menunjukkan bahwa kita melakukan persiapan untuk menghadapi wawancara nanti)

Seputar Jepang

  • Apa saja yang saya ketahui tentang Jepang. Karena tahun 2011 Alhamdulillah kebetulan saya mendapat kesempatan untuk ke Jepang, saya ceritakan saja hal-hal baik yang saya rasakan dari kunjungan ke Jepang tsb.
  • Saya juga cerita bahwa saat ini sedang les bahasa Jepang
  • Sudah bisa masak beberapa makanan Jepang (padahal yang gampang-gampang doang 😛 )
  • Kenapa memilih Jepang sebagai tempat menuntut ilmu daripada negara-negara lainnya
  • Sudah kontak dengan profesor Jepang atau belum

Pertanyaan trivial

  • Perdana menteri Jepang, menteri2 di Indonesia
  • Isu-isu yang lagi hangat sekarang di Jepang maupun Indonesia
  • Kenapa mereka harus memilih saya dibanding pelamar lainnya

Yah kira-kira seperti itu isinya. Karena wawancara nanti akan menggunakan bahasa Inggris, semuanya saya tulis dalam bahasa Inggris lalu saya hapalkan. Hehe. Niat banget yak. Saya cuman ga mau tiba-tiba lupa bahasa Inggrisnya apa trus jadi gagap di depan pewawancara kelak >_<

18 Juli 2012

Hari H

Sehari sebelumnya, saya, orang tua, serta adik saya yang kala itu sedang di Bandung untuk menghadiri wisuda saya, bersama-sama menginap di rumah om saya di Bekasi. Ortu dan adik saya akan pulang ke Balikpapan hari Kamis melalui bandara Soekarno-Hatta, jadi sekalian menemani saya wawancara hari Rabu-nya.

Wawancara akan diadakan di Kantor Kedubes Jepang di Thamrin mulai pukul 08.00. Berbekal pengalaman buruk pernah terlambat datang wawancara di suatu gedung lain di daerah Thamrin juga karena berangkat dari Bekasi pukul 05.45, dan langsung menyebabkan saya tidak lolos wawancara lain tsb, kali ini saya tidak mau lagi fail wawancara karena datang terlambat. Nggak banget! >_< Apalagi ini hal yang sudah saya impikan sejak lama.

Maka, pagi itu saya, om saya yang mengantar dengan mobil, ortu dan adik saya sebagai cheerleader, bersama-sama kami berangkat pukul 05.15. Dan tahu tidak sodara-sodara, pukul 06.00 saya udah sampai di Thamrin! siiinng…koak koak..sepiiii bangeett.. Berangkat 05.15 jam 06.00 udah sampe. Dulu berangkat 05.45, sampai jam 08.30! Beda banget! Dasar Jakarta! Macetnya ga bisa ditebak! Beruntung saya bukan orang Jakarta >_<

Alhasil, kami menunggu di parkiran depan EX Plaza yang untungnya sudah buka karena pagi-pagi memang banyak yang nge-gym di situ. Sambil menunggu, kami pun sarapan dengan bekal yang dibawa dari rumah, dan saya mengulang-ulang lagi hapalan cheatsheet saya. Sekitar pukul 07.30 kami memutuskan ke sebelah, ke gedung kedubes Jepang.

Alhamdulillah sudah ada beberapa orang yg menunggu pintu dibuka. Sekitar jam 08.00, peserta wawancara dipersilakan masuk, sedangkan om, ortu, serta adik saya berencana menunggu di McD Sarinah yang buka 24 jam.

Untuk shift pagi ini, ada 7 orang yang akan diwawancara. Pertama-tama kami diajak ke perpustakaan bagian pendidikan. Di situ, kami dibagikan beberapa rangkap dokumen yang harus kita kumpulkan kembali ke kedubes jika kita dinyatakan lolos wawancara. Setelah itu, kami diajak masuk ke bagian kantor melalui pintu berlapis 2 yang cuma bisa dimasukin oleh mereka yang memiliki kartu dengan chip khusus. Benar-benar ketat ya pengamanannya.

Kami dipersilakan menunggu di sebuah ruang tunggu. Rupanya ruangan itu berbagi dengan musola. Di bagian kiri ruangan terdapat beberapa sofa, dan di sebelah kanannya merupakan musola yang diberi batasan berupa partisi. Di situ kami dijelaskan bahwa wawancara akan dilakukan antara 20-30 menit tiap orang. Saya mendapat urutan ke-3 (atau ke-4 ya, saya lupa). Sembari menunggu giliran, saya pun menyempatkan solat dhuha untuk menenangkan hati dan supaya diberikan kelancaran dalam menjawab pertanyaan kelak.

Dari obrolan dengan sesama peserta wawancara, ketahuanlah ternyata saya yang paling muda. Yang lainnya pada udah kerja, dan ada beberapa yang sudah pernah sekolah di Jepang sebelumnya, maka bisa dipastikan bahasa Jepangnya lumayan lancar semua >_< Huhu..saya minder banget deh kala itu. Pokoknya di dalam hati saya terus berdoa mohon diberikan yang terbaik saja sama Allah. Apa pun hasilnya, saya cuma minta sama Allah supaya ga gagap saat menjawab pertanyaan nanti.

Tibalah giliran saya. Tiap langkah menuju ruangan sama beratnya dengan angkat barbel, dan tiap hela nafas sama sesaknya dengan mendaki gunung (lebay doang sih ini). Tiba di ruangan, saya mengetuk pintu dan dibukakan oleh mas-mas Jepang yang ramah banget. Saya pun dipersilakan duduk.

Ruangan wawancaranya ternyata kecil banget. Di dalamnya dimasukin sebuah meja besar dengan 6 buah kursi yang mengelilingi, 1 untuk saya, 5 lainnya untuk pewawancara di hadapan saya. Saya sebenarnya bingung, gimana bisa meja sebesar ini dimasukin melalui pintu yang sempit itu ya? (intermezzo 😀 )

Saat saya masuk, salah seorang pewawancara tidak ada. Yang ada hanya 2 orang bapak orang Indonesia, seorang bapak orang Jepang yang sudah cukup tua, dan seorang lagi mas-mas Jepang tadi.

Pertanyaan pertama (saya lupa siapa yang menanyakan), “Good Morning. Nadine, right? So please tell us about yourself, Nadine.” Alhamdulillaaahh…pertanyaan pertama sesuai dugaan, dan jawaban pun mengalir sesuai hapalan saya. Ditambah acting dikit-dikit biar ga keliatan kayak menghapal banget. Hehe 😀 Alhamdulillah berkat pertanyaan pertama yang bisa dijawab dengan lancar ini, perlahan-lahan rasa gugup ini hilang dan saya mulai merasa percaya diri.

Berikutnya, saya diminta menjelaskan seputar rencana tesis saya. Saya pun membagikan handout yang sudah saya buat dan menjelaskan sesuai bagan di handout tersebut. Pertanyaan-pertanyaannya yang masih saya ingat antara lain:

  • Kenapa kamu pikir riset ini penting dan harus dilakukan?
  • Apa keuntungannya bagi Jepang dan Indonesia?
  • Apakah bisa mempererat kerjasama antara Jepang dan Indonesia?

Alhamdulillah, saya tidak terlalu dibantai saat menjelaskan tentang tesis ini >_< Tapi salah satu bapak yang dari Indonesia agak galak dan jutek saat menanyakannya, sementara 2 orang Jepang bahasa Inggrisnya sangat susah dicerna.

Setelah itu, 2 orang Jepang menanyakan hal seputar Jepang dan budaya Jepang apa saja yang sudah saya ketahui. Alhamdulillah, walaupun bahasa Inggris mereka agak susah didengar, pertanyaannya ga susah-susah, jadi bisa saya jawab dengan lancar. Setelah saya cerita-cerita tentang ketertarikan saya terhadap Jepang, eh malah jadi ngobrol-ngobrol sama bapak-bapak tersebut.Lalu saya juga disuruh mempraktekkan kemampuan bahasa Jepang saya. Waktu itu, saya cuma menceritakan hal-hal yang saya alami waktu jalan-jalan ke Jepang tahun 2011 lalu. Ternyata mereka ber-4 ramah-ramah aja kok, dan bahkan kami sempat tertawa-tawa (lupa karena ngobrolin apa) 😀

Alhamdulillah, secara keseluruhan, saya merasa wawancara ini berlangsung dengan sangat baik dan lancar. Saya pun keluar ruangan dengan langkah kaki jauh lebih ringan. Begitu sampai di ruangan tunggu dan bertemu peserta wawancara lainnya, mereka bilang saya wawancaranya lama banget. Dan benar saja, ternyata saya menghabiskan waktu lebih dari 30 menit sementara orang-orang sebelum saya kalau tidak salah hanya 20 menit.

Berdasarkan nasihat dari seseorang, jika dalam suatu wawancara kamu diwawancara dalam waktu yang lama, it’s a good sign. Artinya pewawancara tertarik denganmu dan ingin menggali seperti apa kamu lebih jauh lagi. Jika kamu diwawancara sebentar, sebaliknya, mungkin pewawancara sudah tidak tertarik denganmu dan sudah tidak tahu mau bertanya apa lagi. Dan sekarang saya sudah mengalami keduanya.

Wawancara terdahulu (bukan wawancara Monbusho) yang saya ceritakan di atas saya gagal gara-gara terlambat datang, saat wawancara, hal pertama yg dibahas sama pewawancaranya adalah “Nadine tadi datang terlambat ya?”. Bapak itu nanyanya santai aja sih, tapi dia langsung menceramahi saya mengenai keterlambatan tersebut. Dan benar saja, wawancara saya singkat banget! Cuma 30 menit, sementara orang-orang lain sejam sampai satu setengah jam. Dan saya tidak lolos dalam wawancara tersebut.

Sementara yang terjadi di wawancara Monbusho ini sebaliknya. Saya diwawancara cukup lama dan Alhamdulillah, pada tanggal 31 Juli 2012, saya mendapat pengumuman bahwa saya lolos seleksi wawancara, yang artinya saya lolos Primary Screening! ^_^ Alhamdulillah…

Dari 90-an peserta tes wawancara, hanya 35 peserta yang dinyatakan lolos Primary Screening ini. Langkah berikutnya yang harus kami lakukan adalah mengisi form yang sudah dibagikan tadi serta mengumpulkan Letter of Acceptance (LA) dari profesor di Jepang. Apa itu LA? Tunggu lanjutan ceritanya ya! 🙂

Tahap selanjutnya : Melengkapi dokumen lagi

Beasiswa Monbukagakusho (MEXT) G2G

Bismillahirrahmaanirrahiim..

Alhamdulillah, setelah penantian selama 9 bulan, akhirnya kemarin pengumuman final penempatan universitas bagi peraih beasiswa Research Student MEXT 2013 keluar juga. Dan saya mendapatkan universitas pilihan pertama saya, yaitu University of Tsukuba atau Tsukuba-dai. Rasanya bersyukur tapi juga deg-degan, mengingat masih banyak perjuangan dan tantangan yang bakal saya hadapi selama beberapa tahun ke depan >_<

Didorong keinginan untuk memberikan informasi yang bermanfaat sekaligus otentik mengenai beasiswa Monbusho ini (karena banyak juga temen yang menanyakan pertanyaan yang sama), maka akhirnya saya pun membuat postingan ini. Walaupun sudah banyak blog dan website yang membahas mengenai beasiswa ini, tidak ada salahnya saya mengulang kembali, karena saya percaya perspektif yang berbeda dari setiap penulis yang mengalaminya, akan  memperkaya khasanah pembaca dan dapat saling melengkapi antara satu tulisan dengan tulisan lain.

Apa sih Beasiswa Monbukagakusho itu?

Monbukagakusho/Monbusho/MEXT (selanjutnya akan saya sebut Monbusho saja) adalah salah satu kementrian yang ada dalam pemerintahan Jepang, yaitu Kementerian Pendidikan, Kebudayaan, Olah Raga, Ilmu Pengetahuan dan Teknologi Jepang. Setiap tahunnya Monbusho memberikan beasiswa kepada negara-negara yang memiliki hubungan diplomasi dengan Pemerintah Jepang. Untuk Indonesia sendiri, Monbusho bekerja sama dengan pemerintah Indonesia melalui Kedutaan Besar Jepang yang ada di Indonesia melaksanakan seleksi penerimaan beasiswa setiap tahunnya. Beasiswa ini meliputi biaya studi, biaya hidup, dan tanpa ikatan dinas apapun. Info lengkap tentang Monbusho bisa dilihat di sini.

Beasiswa yang ditawarkan antara lain:

  1. Undergraduate (S1), College of Technology (D3), dan Professional Training College (D2) untuk lulusan SMA (info lengkap bisa dilihat di sini)
  2. Research Student (S2 dan S3) untuk lulusan S1 (info lengkap bisa dilihat di sini)
  3. Teacher Training untuk pendidikan keguruan
  4. Japanese Studies untuk mahasiswa jurusan bahasa dan budaya Jepang

Link saya kasih di atas saat saya menulis ini masih untuk keberangkatan tahun 2013, tapi setiap bulan April link tersebut akan di-update untuk keberangkatan tahun 2014. Begitu seterusnya tiap tahun. Jadi silakan di-bookmark saja link tersebut.

Saya sendiri mendaftar untuk program research student (RS). Nah untuk RS ini, terdapat 2 jenis jalur yang dapat ditempuh, yaitu G2G dan U2U. G2G adalah Government to Government, dalam artian kita dapat memperoleh beasiswa ini melalui seleksi yang ditetapkan oleh pemerintah dan jika dinyatakan lolos oleh pemerintah Indonesia dan Jepang. Sedangkan U2U adalah University to University, yang kurang lebih beasiswa tersebut ditawarkan oleh suatu universitas ke universitas lain.

Karena saya mendapatkan beasiswa Monbusho yang G2G, jadi saya tidak dapat menjelaskan dengan detail seperti apa U2U itu. Mungkin bagi yang mau tahu juga, bisa membaca ulasan senpai saya di sini. Nah untuk selanjutnya, saya akan menceritakan dengan detail mengenai Monbusho G2G.

Tahapan Seleksinya

Seleksi Monbusho G2G dibuka setahun sekali setiap bulan April minggu pertama. Secara umum, seleksi ini terbagi menjadi 2 tahap, Primary Screening dan Secondary Screening. Primary screening merupakan seleksi oleh pihak Kedubes Jepang di Indonesia, sedangkan Secondary screening merupakan seleksi oleh pihak Monbusho di Jepang.

Primary Screening sendiri terbagi menjadi 3 tahap. Tahap pertama merupakan seleksi dokumen. Info lengkap mengenai dokumen apa saja yang harus dikumpulkan, dapat dibaca di sini. Tapi nanti pada postingan selanjutnya, saya akan menceritakan pengalaman saya juga dalam mempersiapkan dokumen2 tsb 🙂

Jika lolos seleksi dokumen, akan dilanjutkan dengan ujian tertulis yang terdiri dari ujian bahasa Inggris dan bahasa Jepang sekitar bulan Juni. Jika lolos lagi, maka akan menghadapi ujian wawancara sekitar bulan Juli.

Nah jika lolos ujian wawancara, maka kita dinyatakan lolos Primary Screening! Yeay! Alhamdulillah.. 🙂

Tapi jangan senang dulu, karena masih ada seleksi terakhir >_< yaitu secondary screening. Di secondary screening ini kita harus mengirimkan Letter of Acceptance (LA) dari profesor di Jepang ke kedubes Jepang di Indonesia. Setelah ini, kita harus menunggu pengumuman cukup lama yaitu kurang lebih 4 bulan. Heu, banyak2 berdoa deh saat2 ini. Tapi gosip-gosipnya sih kalo kita lolos primary dan dapet LA, insya Allah lolos secondary juga. Wallahu ‘alam, namun Alhamdulillah, seperti itulah yang terjadi pada saya 🙂

Jika kita sudah dinyatakan lolos secondary, maka insya Allah, kita akan berangkat ke Jepang bulan Maret minggu akhir tahun berikutnya karena kita akan memulai perkuliahan pada bulan April-nya 🙂

Setelah Lolos Semua Tahapan Seleksi

Sebenarnya kita belum menjadi mahasiswa S2 saat tiba di Jepang bulan Maret tersebut. Saat ini kita akan berstatus kenkyuusei atau research student. Pada masa-masa ini, kita akan belajar bahasa Jepang dan mempersiapkan untuk ujian masuk ke universitas yang dituju. Ujian masuk ini tergantung universitasnya, biasanya sih bulan Agustus di tahun yang sama, namun ada juga yang baru Februari tahun depannya lagi. Kita  akan berganti status menjadi mahasiswa S2 jika sudah dinyatakan lolos ujian masuk Universitas tersebut. Heu, jadi begitu sampe Jepang ternyata masih ada ujian yang harus kita hadapai, ya. Tapi tenang saja, insya Allah, it worth the pain kok 🙂

Naahh, kalo sudah berubah status jadi mahasiswa S2, sapa bilang perjuangan sudah berakhir? Justru inilah awal perjuangan kita sebenarnya!! >_<

Inget aja bahwa:

Kami tidak membebani seseorang melainkan menurut kesanggupannya…” (Terjemah Q.S. Al Mu’minun: 62)

So, yakin saja apa pun yang akan kita hadapi setelah ini, insya Allah, Allah sudah menyiapkan solusinya. Aamiin.. 🙂

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Tentang Beasiswa untuk Undergraduate Student

Sebenarnya tadinya saya tidak berencana  menulis tentang ini. Namun disebabkan banyaknya komen yang bertanya tentang beasiswa Undergraduate, mungkin saya bisa bercerita sedikit tentang pengalaman saya mengikuti seleksi ini 5 tahun yang lalu saat saya baru lulus SMA. Saya sendiri tidak lolos seleksi S1 ini, namun saya bisa menceritakan apa yang saya pikir menjadi kekurangan saya sehingga adik-adik yang masih SMA bisa belajar dari kekurangan saya ini 🙂

Tahapan seleksinya sendiri bisa dilihat di link ini. Persiapan saya waktu itu ya mengerjakan soal-soal tahun sebelumnya. Dari mengerjakan soal-soal ini, saya mendapat gambaran seperti apa tipe soal yang akan keluar. Dan ternyata memang tipe soalnya serupa dari tahun ke tahun (ga tau ya kalo sekarang masih akan serupa atau tidak).

Saya memilih pake IPA-A waktu itu, yang berarti saya harus mengerjakan soal Matematika, Fisika, dan Kimia. Untuk Matematika, tipe soalnya setingkat olimpiade. Karena saya memang bukan anak olimpiade Matematika, kalau ga salah waktu itu saya cuma bisa mengerjakan 75%, itu pun kebanyakan yang bagian Multiple Choice-nya. Essay-nya sendiri cukup sulit menurut saya. Untuk Fisika, tipe soalnya setingkat lomba-lomba, jadi agak selevel lebih tinggi daripada soal ujian di sekolahan. Alhamdulillah, karena dulu memang saya ikutnya Olimpiade Fisika, 98% soal dapat saya kerjakan (saya masih ingat saya hanya tidak dapat menjawab 2 soal dari 40 atau 50 soal waktu itu). Untuk Kimia juga setingkat lomba, mungkin saya cuma bisa mengerjakan 75% juga.

Nah sebenarnya setelah selesai mengerjakan soal-soal ini saya cukup PD karena saya merasa berhasil mengerjakan soal-soal Fisika-nya. But in the end, saya ga lolos seleksi tertulis ini. Jadi mungkin, mereka yang lolos itu adalah mereka yang dapat mengerjakan tiga jenis soal di atas dengan prosentase benar 85% semua kali ya…wallahu’alam…

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Segini dulu untuk postingan kali ini. Insya Allah akan segera saya lanjutkan dengan post mengenai tahap-tahap yang saya lalui hingga akhirnya mendapatkan beasiswa Monbusho ini. Semoga tulisan ini bermanfaat dan menambah referensi yang sudah banyak bertebaran di dunia maya. またね!^^v

Tahap selanjutnya : Seleksi Dokumen