Researcher Candidate at the Forest Research and Development Centre, Research, Development and Innovation Agency, the Ministry of Forestry and Environment, Indonesia.
What were your first impressions of Lismore, and what did you love about your time living here?
I landed at Lismore airport so my first impression was like “Oh My God, where am I?” A really small airport and seemed like it was in the middle of nowhere - but it took me no time to start like and even love Lismore. I love everything about this small town: the university life, the landscape (it is amazing, surrounded by beautiful beaches, forests, national parks and great camping sites); the people (they are wonderful and friendly); the markets (nice place and moment to interact with local people and buy many things including organic food, crafts, street food and second-hand books!), the weather (mostly quite nice in all seasons) and the coffee! I enjoyed the sport centre at uni and went for swimming 3 to 5 times a week. Also, the living cost is quite cheap compared to other places in Australia. For me, it’s a great place to study forestry. A quiet and peaceful place, a wonderful break from Jakarta’s traffic.
How does SCU support its international students when they first arrive in Lismore?
SCU International does a great job to support international students. They help with everything that new international student requires: including temporary accommodation, city tour, uni tour, opening a bank account, and so on. SCU International staff even took us out to go shopping for groceries on our second day. The best thing is that they do their job with their heart. It was really good and helpful to feel welcomed.
What sort of activities did you and your friends do on your weekends and spare time?
We often went to uni on weekends, for assignments and thesis writing (and surprisingly it’s lovely). We liked going to the beaches or lake or forests around Lismore. We sometimes went for a road trip to areas around Lismore and ate at the local restaurants. We had barbeques at the park and I also loved to just stay at home and read a real book (not scientific papers, haha).
What sort of food did you enjoy most in Lismore?
Coffee! Lismore has many cafes with good coffee. The local bakery also has a really yummy chocolate éclair. The vegetarian pie (cauliflower and cheese) is also really good. I love the fresh fruits and veggies too.
What is the local Lismore community like towards foreign students? Is it a friendly town?
I consider Lismore a really friendly place for international students. People at uni and also the local communities were so friendly and supportive. People greet each other, and many strangers talk to me nicely. As a Muslim who faces so many negativities due to terrorism acts, I felt safe living in this town. People were so nice and not judgemental.
In your opinion, what was the best thing about the academic and teaching staff at SCU?
They are professionals in their field and so supportive and helpful, and are the most dedicated people towards their job that I’ve ever met. SCU Lismore is a small university and we mostly know each other quite well. The teaching staff guided us for our study plan, personally, and supported us with our study interest with great care. The academic staff are all we can asked for - really nice and helpful people!
After completing your degree at SCU, what opportunities have been presented to you as a graduate?
As a government employee in Indonesia, we get some assurance that we’ll be able to return to our job once we complete our degree from Australia. Of course, receiving a Master degree from Australia is considered valuable in my workplace, and I have received more opportunities in handling the job with greater responsibilities. Receiving a Master degree from SCU has also provided me the opportunity to gain promotion to a Researcher position within the Ministry. Finally, as an SCU Alumni member, I get free access to the SCU Library databases, which is a huge benefit!