A Year Which Just Past By: My Journey of Studying in United Kingdom

15:40 Handini Audita 6 Comments

I cannot believe that it has been a year since my first arrival to Glasgow, United Kingdom. It was a very long and unpredictable journey. I was very lucky to experience that, even though with a very sudden preparation. It was not an easy journey to step my feet on the Royal Land of United Kingdom. This is the short story about my very long journey in the Royal Land of United Kingdom.

Going for master degree after graduating my undergraduate study, had been the very long plan of mine. My parents was very kind to give full support until their very limit. Not only financial support that they are willing to give, but they also wonderfully give mental support in the form of motivation and advice. However, going to study in the UK was not the plan! We did not even consider having me studying in the UK. Not even a single thought.

Our plan until the very last minute was to prepare for taking master degree in Australia. The land that were deeply attached to my heart because I spend most of my childhood time in that beautiful land. So we prepared every single detail of it to go to Australia. Financial planning, IELTS tests, recommendation letter, and any other documents to support my application to universities in Australia. Months after the preparation I was blessed to be accepted in one of the best rating university in Australia. A university which the vice president of Indonesia (Mr. Budiono) graduated from. The class starts at February 2012. I was accepted approximately on June 2011. So I still have a lot of time before my departure. I was blessed.

God hands work in an unpredictable manner. One day, somewhere in the beginning of August 2011, I visited my friend house just to have a chat. Her name is Myra. A very good friend of mine during my undergrad study. That day, I cannot remember the beginning of the story, Myra suddenly told me a story about her big brother who had finish his master degree in the UK. She suddenly gives me an advice. I remember it so well because these sentences had changed my plan dramatically.

She said to me: "Dini, why didn't you go to the UK instead? I know that the Poundsterling rate is so damn high. But think about it, master degree in the UK will only take 1 year if you're on track. In Australia it takes 2.5 years if you're on track. So if you accumulate your spending until you finish your course, UK will be way much cheaper. The education system in the UK is also so good."

That sentences opened my eyes dramatically. It changed my mind in advance. At that moment I suddenly  think, "I have to study in the UK".

So as I went back home, I called my dad directly to talk about what Myra said to me. He agreed directly. From that second, our plan turns into a different direction. We will now focus on getting my master in the UK.

As I arrived home, I rushed into my laptop and starts Googling the universities which provides the major I am interested to study (Marketing). So I came by three Universities (University of Strathclyde, University of Birmingham, and University of Manchester). There is one problem that occurs. The class for the year 2011 admission starts in mid-September 2011. It was August already at that. Time seems to be impossible for me to enter the September 2011 admission period. So I act nothing to loose. I just continue to do what I have to do.

Don't be afraid to change into another direction. If the other direction gives better values, why not give it a try?

Right the next day, I contacted an Education Consulting Agent (IBEC) to help me with my application. I understand that with this very limited of time, I will need an education consultant. I was lucky enough to be advised by Mr.Hendra, the head of that education consulting agent. He gives me lists of documents that I have to send to him to complete my application. I also contacted my professors to ask for another letter of recommendation. They were surprised because I changed direction in a very short period of time. One of them even said: "Handini, it is impossible for you to be accepted this year. The time is very limited and you will still need to process many other things. It is impossible. It is impossible.." (he said the word "impossible" three times). But I replied: "Sir, you cannot say you can't before you try".

Never said you can't before you try! It will be more painful to not trying to do what you wish to do rather than failing on things you have done your best to do. Don't be afraid to take new opportunities. What's important is to do your best, let God do the rest.

Seeing my dedication and motivation, they easily signed my recommendation letter. I prepared all the documents needed just in one day. The next day, I directly fly to Jakarta to meet Mr.Hendra and to complete the application documents.

Things does not always goes smooth. When the day I arrived in IBEC office, Mr.Hendra starts to call those three universities I've selected to ask if they still can provide just one more seat for one student. We have to wait until 16:00 Indonesian time because we have to wait for UK office hours. Unfortunately, University of Manchester and University of Birmingham is already full. They cannot accept more students.

Frustrated? Not even. I still have an opportunity with Strathclyde. So I decided to still go with my application. Again, I act like I have nothing to loose.

I prayed every single day. If it is what's best for me, please let it be.

Finally.. Couple of days after my application, I received an Unconditional Letter of Acceptance. This means that I am fully accepted to take master degree in University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom. I was filled with joy. Right after I received the email from  the university conforming my status, I directly complete any payments needed to be payed (tuition fee). I also booked a student accommodation online.

After that process, I have to apply for my student Visa. I will need a CAS number (Confirmation of Acceptance for Study) to apply for my visa. The University said that it will take approximately 1 week for me to receive it. Unfortunately, things does not go as expected. I've waited until Mid September, the CAS number has not been sent. I called the University conforming this situation. They said that they cannot control this situation because CAS number is issued by the Ministry of Education in United Kingdom. It is not the University that issued this letter. So the only thing that the university can do is to issue a permission letter to arrive late for class. It is a kind of relieve hearing a slight solution for my situation at that moment. But deep inside my heart, I believe that I can arrive on time.

Again, I prayed every single day. You will when you believe! So I believe that I can arrive on time for class. Positive thoughts will lead to positive results. That is the law of attraction!

After days and days of waiting, on 20 September 2011, I received my CAS number. FYI, that is just 5 days before the first day of class. As soon as I received the letter, I rushed to the UKBA (UK Border Agency) to apply for my Visa. It was the most challenging moment of my life (in Indonesian, we called it "Sport Jantung").

I got my Visa approved on Friday, 23 September 2011 at 10:00. The flight that I booked will fly on Saturday, 24 September 2011 at 0:15. So I received my visa just 14 hours before my departure! I rushed to the UKBA to collect my Visa. Then go around Jakarta to search for Poundsterling. FYI, it is not an easy task to ask for a lot of Poundsterling in a very limited time. Fiuuuhh... Such a stressful day.

But again. Even though it was so stressful, but I felt so much blessed. This means that I can arrive in time for class. I don't need to skip any classes.

Short story short, I flew to Glasgow, United Kingdom and arrived safely. I did not have anyone to pick me up in the airport. This is because all the Indonesian students which I have got contacted to is busy with their student orientation activities. It's all right. I use taxi to take me from the airport to the student accommodation which I booked already. I was lucky enough to have such a pleasant place to live. Collegeland, is my home for the next 52 weeks.

My first day of school starts on Monday, 26 September 2011. I was very happy to meet lots of great people from many different countries. India, China, Pakistan, Italy, Greece, Thailand, and many other countries that I cannot mention one by one. I also have a friend from our closest country neighbor, Malaysia.

On the 2nd of October 2011, I met all the Indonesian students in the Glasgow area for the first time. It was the day where we go around Glasgow in Batik. We proudly promotes Batik in the nation of far away. We chat and exchange numbers so that we can keep in touch.

Batik Day, Glasgow, United Kingdom

My first holiday in the UK is a trip to Loch Ness. I was invited to take a one day trip by an Indonesian friend of mine. As I remembered, I think it was the next weekend after the Batik day. I took that opportunity to get to know some Indonesian friends a bit more personal and closer. I am blessed until this moment (the day I write this article), we still remain best friends.

Loch Ness Trip With Dias, Maya, Ilham, and "Pakde Dito"

Among the Indonesian students, we had a very good relationship. To some, we act like family. I am very blessed to receive such a caring family in Glasgow. "Duke Street Citizens", "Roebank Citizens", and the "Blackfriars Court Citizens" is my most closest family of mine in Glasgow. Thank you for the wonderful love and joy you give to me. Especially for "Pakdhe Dito" who always cook for me every time I got "home sick". I will not forget the sate buntel, tongseng kambing, and the katetong..:D

Glasgow was never sunny. But when it's sunny, it's time to dress your best!

During my study in the UK, I manage to travel to many different cities outside the Glasgow area. I'm very happy to meet more and more friends when visiting to different cities. I am happy to meet more and more great Indonesians such as Davina from Leeds, and Happy from Manchester. You guys are uniquely awesome!

My trip to York

Manchester Trip, I met Happy

The most unforgettable trip was when we celebrate new years eve in Edinburgh. It was unforgettable because we have to struggle in the freezing weather and the storm. Plus, we go from one club to other club just to find a "free place" to sit and warm up (mahasiswa gak modal). Having no sleep time because we have no place to sleep. We also experience being kicked out from a student accommodation building because we secretly sleep in their common room. The experience was Priceless!
2012 New Years Eve in Edinburgh, United Kingdom

London was also a memorable city during my stay in the UK. It is because I visited this city twice for two important events. Both were priceless! My first trip was a "business trip" to one of the world biggest consulting company. My second trip was a trip to hunt for BIRKINS...!!!!! That's why I called London as a priceless city, because I always conduct a priceless trip to London.

Business Trip To London

Hunting more and more BIRKINS with "the Birkin Lady"..!!!!

Another awesome events while living in the UK is the opportunity to experience London Olympics 2012. I was lucky enough to receive free tickets to see a female football match between USA and Colombia in the Hampden Football Field. Even though I have no idea about football, but I felt blessed having the opportunity to experience the "Olympic atmosphere". 

London Olympic 2012, Hampden Park, United Kingdom

I understand that reading this post creates an image that all I did in the UK was just to travel and to have fun. Well, it's not true at all. I've experienced several ups and downs also in my study period. The best experience which adds values to my study is the opportunity for me and 5 of my other friends to work as a consulting team for one of Scotland biggest food and drinks distributor. I was blessed because I can experience a very rare opportunity to experience the "Scottish" working environment. It was one of the best learning process of my master degree period.

SouthEast Team, The Consulting Project

The Final Gala Dinner, University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom

Now, a year had went passed by. It felt that everything happens so fast like a glimpse of light. It was priceless yet meaningful. I cannot regret any single thing from this very long journey.

Today, just one year after my arrival in Glasgow, I am now returned to Indonesia. I returned back home on August 2012 before the Ramadhan. Now, I cannot wait for my second journey to the UK. But this time, the journey is for GRADUATION.

Never be the first person who doubts your own ability.
Don't be afraid to change to different direction for a better cause.
Always remember to believe in yourself...

Dream.... Believe... and Make it Happen...

Written With Lots of Love,


  1. Wow....great story......

  2. Dont you want to put the RCTI interview? haha :D

  3. Thank you everyone...

    Anyway, yes I forgot to put the RCTI interview. hahahahaha...
    The interview that was made at 3 in the morning just because we have to catch up with Indonesian time.
    Interview with the sleepy eyes...

  4. What happen with the Uni in Australia?

  5. Unfortunately, I have to send an email to them conforming that I reject their letter of acceptance offer. This means that I would not conduct my study in that Australian university.

    However, I still conduct such a great relationship with that university. I might apply for PhD in that university. Who knows..:)

  6. Well done girls!! I went to Strathclyde Univ for an exchange program (only 1 term) in 2004/2005. I loved it. Great people!!! Great international students community.