Road to Ritsumeikan -part 2-


Welcome to the “Road to Ritsumeikan” series of this blog. I have several series such as “NYUAD: (Bukan) Sebuah Kegagalan” and “A Tribute”, just to let you know. Before you continue reading  this post, please do read the first part of the series here. Well, we should begin, shall we?


February 2015,

I began the month with a bad news. I just got rejected from my New York University of Abu Dhabi admission. I was so heartbroken because I had been preparing for the application for such a time; I started to prepare even since I was still an 11th grader.

However, good things started to happen, as if the whole world was trying to cheer me up. First, I was to witness the euphoria of Sonlis 2015 which was very entertaining. Second, I got an email saying that I just passed the first step of my Ritsumeikan University. I was eligible to join the Interview!

pre interview
good news from Kyoto!

Inside the mail, I was also told that I had to undergo a Pre-Interview through Skype. I didn’t really understand the concept of this Pre-Interview, but the Admission Office told me not to worry beacause it won’t give or lessen my evaluation towards acceptance in the university. I just need to chill out and do what they ask. The office designated February 28 as the date.

It started to rain that afternoon of 28 February; the Pre-Interview was about to start but I had not found a room yet. I should be having an extra class (bimbel) to prepare for the national examination (UN) but I asked permission for this occassion to be absent. Finally I found and empty room in the 3rd Floor of the B Building. Alhamdulillah, I recived the call from the Admission Office on time. The Pre-Interview was basically conducted to check whether our Skype account is active or not. It also aims to tell the propsective students upon the procedure of the real interview whose date will fall in March 15 (just 2 days before my birthday XD)

Got the call from Ritsumeikan IAO (International Admission Office)
Got the call from Ritsumeikan IAO (International Admission Office)
The Pre-Interview. I was still wearing my uniform in the 3rd floor of B Building.
The Pre-Interview. I was still wearing my uniform in the 3rd floor of B Building.

March 2015,

I studied and prepared really hard for the upcoming Interview. As time shrinked, I paced to finish all of the materials to “defend” the 3 essays I’ve submitted in the first phase of the submission. Actually, I was thinking that there was a wide field of materials that I have to study. I even borrowed (be prepared for the long name) Farras Adinnugraha Julyusptura’s A Level Economic Book in case that the professor going to test my economy knowledge. I also printed several articles concerning Theories of International Relations. Lastly, I had to force my self to study Japan in general -its economy, geography and politics which I have no idea about.

From this book I learned trade, macroeconomic policies, etc. to anticipate questions about it in the interview
From this book I learned trade, macroeconomic policies, etc. to anticipate questions about it in the interview

But, something told me that I should prioritize my 3 essays among the other materials. So I reviewed my essays profoundly and prepare my answers for possible questions. I brought my materials anywhere I went. Mosque, class, library, canteen, regardless of time and place; I have to keep studying if I want to get the best result.

I didn’t want to underestimate, but I was pretty sure that I would definetely be accepted; I have no fear for that. BUT, by biggest fear is that only around 3 to 4 of the accepted applicants are going to receive the 100% scholarships. As for the others, the choice would be 50% scholarship or, if you’re not that lucky, 20% scholarship. I can’t imagine what will happen if I got the 50% scholarship or less. Before that, let’s see Global Studies Major tuition fee at Ritsumeikan University.

1.300.000 yen for tuition fee a year is just crazy -_-
1.300.000 yen (156.000.000 rupiah) for tuition fee a year is just crazy -_-

As you can see, if got 50% scholarship only, that means my parents have to pay around Rp80.000.000 each year which means around Rp6.600.000 a month! Not to forget Kyoto’s living cost that reaches around Rp10.000.000 a month. In a brief, my monthly spending will be Rp16.600.000!!! That’s a lot of money.Yupp, that was the challange I was going to take. I really had to study hard to get the 100% scholarship. Unless, my life in Japan would be really expensive and I’d rather enter HI Universitas Indonesia instead.


H-2: Plan Changed,

At the beginning of March all of IC students were on a study trip to Jogja. We, the 3rd graders, visited Baron Beach, Mirota Bakery, Malioboro, BPPT wind turbin site, and several other tourist objects.

Mengunjungi PT. Mirota yang memproduksi susu dan roti
Mengunjungi PT. Mirota yang memproduksi susu dan roti
Mengunjungi Madukismo, pabrik gula terbesar di Jogja
Mengunjungi Madukismo, pabrik gula terbesar di Jogja
Kumpulan kereta untuk mengangkut tebu
Kumpulan kereta untuk mengangkut tebu
Di dalam pabrik produksi
Di dalam pabrik produksi
Pantai Baron
Pantai Baron
Sisi lain dari Pantai Baron
Sisi lain dari Pantai Baron

The trip was really exciting. But to be really honest, the trip was really tiring as well. We had our journey by bus and it tooks so much time. Upon arrival in IC, we were like zombies…neither alive nor dead. Several days after the trip most of my friend suffered from illness. I was lucky to be in a healthy condition, though I was such in a fatigue. So I can continue on preparing towards my interview in March 15.

At the night of March 12 everything changed. I felt really bad, vomit several times and got a severe stomache. I also got a high fever. At first I thought that I was only suffering from masuk angin (An Indonesian term for health consequence of being exposed to wind for too long. The symtpons includes vomitting, high frequency of burping and stomachache).

The next morning of March 13, my condition didn’t become better. So I asked the school’s permission to leave the dormitory and get a rest in my home. Maybe after several sleep, my condition would improve. However at March 14, things didn’t go as planned; my body heat increases. So I decided to undergo some blood test. I also got an IV drip (infus) injected to my body to transfer some Paracetamol in order to decrease my body heat. After the docter screened the result, he said that I wasn’t infected with any disease. I was told only to take some rest and consume medicines in home. I was so relieved because tomorrow is my interview date.

March 15 : Day of The Interview

At last, March 15 finally came. I wake up early at 4 in the morning. I was really thirsty so I went to take some water in the kitchen. But, I felt really dizzy. My sight became dark and I fainted. I can still maintain my concious but it’s very hard to move. I tried so hardly to go back to my bed.

Then, I told my parents about what just happened with me. I needed to go to hospital again. I conducted a blood test for the second time. The result said that my thrombocytes level was dropping. My doctor then sentenced me as a Dengue Fever (demam berdarah) patient. I needed to be hospitalized. But I have an interview with Ritsumeikan University at 14.10 in the same day! So I asked to be given the necessary medicine so I could attend the interview in Summitmas Office, Sudirman. After that, I would return to the hospital.

Pagi hari sebelum wawancara, saya diberi infus agar saya menjadi lebih segar. Infus pun dicopot di siang hari dan saya pamit untuk pergi ke Sumitmas Building untuk menjalani interview.
Pagi hari sebelum wawancara, saya diberi infus agar saya menjadi lebih segar. Infus pun dicopot di siang hari dan saya pamit untuk pergi ke Sumitmas Building untuk menjalani interview.

I received an intensive treatment with several injections. Around 10 in the morning, I felt a bit better. The medicine did refresh me somehow, so I asked to leave the hospital to go to the interview venue. My mom drived me to Sumitmas Building. I met Miss Ade Mirzhanty, Ritsumeikan’s representative whom I first met in the Japan Education Fair inside my school.

Miss Ade showed me the interview room. I found a big screen with 2 speakers and microphone. She said that I just needed to wait untill Ritsumeikan staff called me through Skype. I was very nervous. Miss Ade couldn’t accompany me, she had to be outside, so did mom. Ok Gilang, this is it. This is your last chance. If you fail this time, you must burry your dream to study abroad deep beneath you. Show ’em what you got!

di depan tempat interview di Sumitmas Building
di depan tempat interview di Gedung Sumitmas, Sudirman.

Then the Skype started to ring. Bismillahirrahmanirrahim, I clicked the answer button.

At first I saw one of the staff, she asked wheter I was ready or not. I said I was ready and she turned the webcam towards my interviewers: 2 Ritsumeikan professors who was looking directly at me.

They started to introduce themshelves. One of them was a Japanese, the other was a Hungarian. The Japanese man started to ask questions. I was really lucky, he asked about the materials in the 1st and 2nd essay which was regarding my motives to apply and what was my noticeable experience that I’m proud of. So I started to deliberate my reasons and tell my experience participating in MIMUN (Moscow International Model United Nations) 2013.

Then the Hungarian started to ask the questions. Again I was really lucky, because he asked me to sum up my 3rd essay concerning Sub-Saharan economic growth, which I have reviewed deeply for the previous 2 weeks 🙂

We had deeper discussion towards my 3rd essay afterwards. And when the professor felt enough, they said that the interview was over. It ended really quick, I didn’t even feel that I had been interviewed for 30 minutes! Moreover I coudn’t be happier by their questions; The questions matched perfectly with what I had been studying to prepare the interview 😀

After I finished, I thanked Miss Ade for her help and took my leave. I returned to the hospital and was hospitalized for the next 6 days, yay!

Diberi 3 infus sekaligus ._.
Habis pulang wawancara langsung diopname. Diberi 3 infus sekaligus ._.
Akbar membacakan surat kangen saya ke teman-teman Astonic yang sedang studi lapangan ke Taman Bunga Bogor
Akbar membacakan surat kangen saya ke teman-teman Astonic yang sedang studi lapangan ke Taman Bunga Bogor

9 April,

As I was informed previously, this day April 9 was the day of announcement of accepted Global Studies Students for Fall Enrolment 2015. I checked the website, and yes…it was already there! I nervously open the file and I found this.

hasil ritsu
application number saya 15713230 tertulis disana!

and after it, I receive the official letter from Ritsumeikan which was posted to my school through DHL Mail Service

DHL package containing my result
DHL package containing my result
Di dalem paket DHL ada surat ini. Nervous banget mau buka ini.
Di dalem paket DHL ada amplop putih ini. Grogi banget mau buka ini.

Though I know that I had been accepted as a student in Ritsumeikan, I hadn’t know whether I got the 100% scholarship or not. Because, If I only get less than 100% I consider not to take the chance to enroll in Ritsumeikan, because the tuition is too high for me. I had no bravery yet to open the white envelope. So I called one of my friend, Salman, to open the envelope together. I gave him the honor because he was the one who always ask about my progress. So I thought, he’s worthy enough to be the first person who know the result.

So we started to open the envelope, and we found this

the final result: I got the100% scholarship!!!
the final result: I got the 100% scholarship!!!

Alhamdulillahi rabbil alamin…I was one of the lucky applicants who are awarded with the 100% scholarship 🙂

I stayed speechless for so long. I kept asking Salman like, “Bro, is this real? Should I recheck this? I mean, it can’t be…”. But he replied like, “I’m pretty sure that you got it, Gil. Congratulations!”. His reply made me really convinced that..yeah…all what I had been through worth this. A big smile started to appear in my face. I can’t belieave that I actually stood on the end of the road, I had reached the finish line, and moreover I got a “bonus trophy”. Ya Allah, I couldn’t thank you more 🙂


Lessons learnt,

Hardly to say, my journey during the past 8 month (since I had made my choice to study in NYUAD) of struggling to study abroad has come to and end. It is a very emotional moment, because all this time…studying abroad was like the greatest life goal, and now I’ve arrived at the point to say “consider it done!”. It’s kinda funny though that want I wanted so badly in the first place (NYUAD) ,in the other hand, was not in favor of me. Yet, if I were so lucky to get NYUAD, I won’t be able to enjoy the beauty of Kyoto which -as I could say so far- transcend Abu Dhabi’s.

Having a nostalgic flashback to what I’ve been through, I felt really lucky with what happen in late 2014. I’ve written the story about it in the previous post but let me just make a quick summary here.

So on a day at late 2014, my school was having a Japan Education Fair. However, I was sick and not able to join it beacause I needed a bed rest. As I was absent, I started to feel guilty for not coming because my teacher had prepared hardly to make the fair. So, though still in a very unhealthy condition, I forced my self to come to the fair. There, I saw a booth of Ritsumeikan University and that was the moment I firstly knew about the campus.

Today, I just imagine: what would happen if I didn’t come at that fair? what if I continued my bed rest? what if I told myself, “udah Gil…tidur ajalah, lo kan lagi sakit”? I won’t be able to reach know Ritsumeikan in the first place!

So, my experience really convince me that before we do or decide something,  Allah had formulated the best ways for us, though it may be peculiar or unpleasant in the beginning. We just need to follow His guidance; and with wisdom, we shall reach our happinnes as He wills it.

And now, I’m here in Kyoto; living the life I’ve been dreaming. Studying abroad is indeed an uneasy road. Obstacles and problems would be our daily meal as step in to this path. Yet, as we struggle to overcome it we just need to remember this:

“Lautan yang tenang tidak akan menghasilkan pelaut yang unggul”

“A calm sea would never make a professional sailor”

Kyoto, 25 September 2015.

Your faithful comrade and professional sailor in the future

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7 thoughts on “Road to Ritsumeikan -part 2-

    1. Pro: a lot of awesome professor, abundant chance to study in partner universities abroad (China, Korea, UK, Indonesia, etc.), nice gym (LOL), great japanese classes (I take it everyday), a bunch of cultural programs with Kyoto citizens, and of course its global reputation.

      Cons: IT’S EXPENSIE. and even if you get the full tuition fee, you still need to fund your living cost by yourself. oh and I think this campus has not use technology to its fullest.

  1. Halo gilang!
    I’m ichi, please just call me k’ ichi. What a nice post to be read. I knew you by coincident when I watched a video made by Ritsumeikan University and you appeared as the first student who shared the opinion about Ritsumeikan. My journey is quite similar to yours. At first, the only country in my mind where I want to continue my study was UK. But, like what you said, to study abroad we do need many plans since we can’t guarantee whether we will be success at what we want at first. Well, keep writing and inspiring! And thank’s for sharing 🙂

  2. Hello, Mas Gilang!

    I’m Shafira, a hopeful applicant of Ritsumeika University’s faculty of global studies. I’m currently still in the middle of waiting for the first screening’s results, but just in case I passed, would you please tell me in detail what they asked in the interviews? Or are the questions just as you wrote here?

    Quite frankly I did not expect to find a blog post regarding the admission, so I was very excited to find yours (quite easily, at that!).

    Thank you very much for the time.

    Best regards,
    Shafira

    1. Hey Shafira, nice to hear you’re applying for GS as well! The interview questions really depend on who are the Professors interviewing you. But in general, your essay would be a strong focus of the discussion. So profound understanding of what you’ve wrote would be a strong bedrock to start with.

      All the best!

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