As a part of preparation for Scholars before departing to the United States, PRESTASI held a Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) on May 6 – 9, 2015. Fourteen scholarship recipients attended this event in Jakarta. The PDO was opened by remarks from Peter Cronin, the Deputy Director of Education Office, USAID Indonesia. Peter assured all participants that they will get many positive experiences from studying at the US universities and also reminded them to have fun during this upcoming period. Out of fourteen awardees, ten has received admissions from various U.S. universities, such as Montclair State University, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Tulane University and University of Chicago. They are very thrilled to start their studies at the Fall semester this year. These scholars were awarded the scholarships in 2014. They will earn master degrees in the fields of education, economics, health and environment.
The favorite part of this event was the alumni-sharing session. Four alumni were invited to share their experiences, namely Hariatni Novitasari (University of Missouri, Saint Louis), Angela Kurniadi (Tulane University), Hafizh Adyas (University of California, San Diego) and Adi Nugroho (University of Massachusetts, Amherst).These alumni were happy to share their bitter-sweet experiences during their stay at the US. Novi was surprised when she got heat rash on her neck when the summer time came. “I’m Indonesian and very used to the hot and humid weather. Therefore I did not expect to have heat rash, though it is normal to happen in the summer”. Angela said that the scholars must be ready to work hard. “I should take classes even in summer and winter semester, in order to fulfill the minimum of 45 credits and graduated on time”, she recalls. Angela then successfully graduated from Tulane University with outstanding GPA: 3.8. While Angela shared the secrets to academic success, Hafizh told them that it is crucial to have friends and be active in the class, no matter how introvert your personality is. On the contrary, Adi shared a less-fun experience, where he had a Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) due to extreme winter in Amherst. SAD has caused him to suffer a severe insomnia where he couldn’t sleep until 7 in the morning! He emphasized the importance of balancing the mind, body and soul. “Once they get imbalance, a disease will occur”, he says.