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Perkenalkan Alizka Somawihardja: Menempuh Pendidikan Psychology dan Gerontology di Vancouver, Kanada

1. Ceritakan awalnya bagaimana kamu studi ke luar negeri?

Sejujurnya, gw dulu ngerasa bahwa “lulusan luar negeri” bakal jauh lebih bagus daripada lulus di Indo. Now I admit, gw dulu salah pemikirannya seperti itu. Anyway, long story short, gw list down all the possible cities I wanna study and live at which were Melbourne, London, L.A., and Vancouver. Setelah pikir-pikir semua pros and consnya (considering living cost, the program I want to study, the weather, etc), akhirnya gw mutusin untuk belajar di Vancouver, Canada at Simon Fraser University.

2. Ceritakan hal unik dari jurusan yang kamu tempuh?

Gw dari dulu emang niatnya mau major in Psychology tapi labil mau fokus ke area mana. So I took a bit of everything like Intro to BioPsych, Developmental, Cognitive, Abnormal, and even Forensics. I even got the chance to work at a cognitive research lab for a couple of months. And even though it wasted a bit of my time, I’m glad I got to explore a variety of areas. Terus towards the end of my Uni, I discovered a minor called Gerontology. It’s basically the study of aging in a sociological and psychological perspective. Ga banyak orang yang tau atau sadar, tapi semakin lama the population of the elderly is rising loh. Gw jadi belajar banyak tentang what to expect in my old age and how to take care of those in the older generations. 

3. Ceritakan tantangan terbesar selama kamu studi / tinggal di luar negeri?

Jujur, gw anaknya tuh manja banget jadi jauh dari bonyok tuh sedih, gw jadi sering banget ngerasa kesepian tengah malem. Dan walaupun ada roommate dan ada temen-temen deket, tapi everyone is on their own schedule. And it took me a longggg time to be able to rely on myself (I’m still learning that tbh), but it’s hard to go through that when you’re far away from home. 

4. Ceritakan pengalaman berkesan (senang dan sedih) dari proses studi di luar negeri?

Call me norak, tapi gw dulu during the wintertime suka bikin indomie, put on my baggy pajamas, and watch the snow fall from my bedroom window. Gw tontonin salju tebel di jalanan sambil dengerin Frank Sinatra’s Christmas album. Rasanya udah kayak di film-film gitu hahahaha. But it’s so pretty though. That winter-cozy-feeling is one of the things I miss the most about living in Vancouver karena Jakarta puuuanasnyaaaaa gila. 

5. Apa manfaat yang kamu dapatkan dari proses studi / tinggal di luar negeri ini?

Gw jadi lebih independent. Bisa ngatur duit sendiri. Bisa laundry sendiri. Bisa masak sendiri (walopun bisanya indomie doang). Aside from that, gw juga seneng bisa jalan-jalan ke tempat-tempat yang hawanya beda banget sama Indo and getting soo many experiences from that. Like learning how to ski trus malah ketagihan. 

6. Apa manfaat yang kamu pelajari dari jurusanmu dan bagaimana kamu menerapkan bidang studi ini bila kamu balik ke Indonesia?

Yang gw maksud tadi kalo lulusan di Indo tuh juga sama bagusnya; karena ujung-ujungnya gw cuma hafal basic theories of psychology (yang sebetulnya bisa di google juga). Theory yang lain tuh cuman hafal pas exams doang lol. Tapi gw tetep bersyukur bisa dapet all that knowledge from going abroad karena menurut gw attitude towards mental health tetep beda-beda depending on the culture. Thankfully, I’m using bits and pieces of those basic psychological theories in my place of work now where I teach students with autism. So far, theory yang paling bisa gw apply is from the behaviorism perspective (i.e. conditioning, reinforcements, associations, etc). 

7. Ada pesan untuk pembaca yang ingin merantau ke luar negeri?

Plan ahead of what you want from the experience! Too many times I figured things out on the spot, and while it’s good for my flexibility, tapi gak bagus buat my time management. Changing majors, finding out minors towards the end of Uni, figuring out which areas of psychology I like, itu buang waktu banget. It’s good that you like to explore, but preparing what to expect would save you a lot of time and money. 

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