Angeline Stella: When Life Gives You Lemon…

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Perjalanan kuliah dan kerja di Melbourne & Jakarta
Setelah lulus dari SMA pada akhir tahun 2016, banyak dari SMA-ku pindah ke Australia untuk meneruskan kuliah. Aku pindah ke Sydney dan Angeline pindah ke Melbourne. Walaupun kami jadi jarang bertemu karena tinggal di kota yang berbeda – dan sekarang tinggal di negara berbeda, saat berkesempatan untuk catch up itu rasanya seru banget.

Kami berdua penuh cerita-cerita baru dan melihat kembali how far we’ve come sejak lulus SMA. Angeline yang sekarang berumur 25 tahun dan sedang bekerja di Jakarta, Indonesia, masih sangat menggemari travelling dan juga menemukan banyak hobi dan interest baru selama beberapa tahun terakhir ini. Yuk, mari kita dengar ceritanya! 

Hi, Gel! Bisa ceritakan apa yang membuatmu pertama kali pindah ke Australia dan kesan pertama kamu tentang Australia, dan Melbourne pada khususnya?
Hi, Jes! My first impression of the city was that it reminded me of my hometown – the warmth I got from people around me, how lively it gets at night, and hopping on and off the tram is what I found most intriguing.

I decided to move to Australia to study for my Bachelor’s degree because of the closer distance from Jakarta when compared to the United States. Studying in Australia was never my first choice as I leaned more towards the University of Washington in Seattle. I guess everything did happen for a reason. Little did I know my decision to study in Australia changed my life for the better good. 

Apakah kamu mengalami bentur budaya Ketika pindah ke Melbourne?
Yes, I did in many different aspects hahaha – mainly on how to survive living on your own in a small studio room and all the little bits of pieces that came in between (e.g. had to bring your groceries and call the local electricity provider when I first moved in).

Not only that, I also had to adjust to the local culture, such as being more punctual for classes, work, and appointments. Time management was one of the hardest things to deal with when I first arrived in Melbourne.

Apakah hal-hal yang kamu paling enjoy pas tinggal di Melbourne? Apakah ada hobi-hobi atau ketertarikan baru yang muncul karena hidup di luar negeri?
I enjoyed having a more relaxing lifestyle and routine in Melbourne. I like to have my personal freedom in everything I do. Mostly I can go out by myself to run errands and take a nice walk or go to a park near where I live. The public transport is also another big win for me.

I can easily catch trams or even trains for travel, unlike Jakarta. I found two new hobbies: coffee and pastry run, and reformer Pilates. 

Selama kamu tinggal di Australia, pernah mengunjungi kota-kota mana saja dan bagaimana pengalamanmu ketika mengunjungi kota-kota tersebut?
I have an explorer hat on me. I’ve been to different suburbs in Melbourne and visited Sydney once during my six-year stay in Melbourne. I enjoyed my time exploring new places in different suburbs. 

For example, I like to visit Fitzroy Garden or a small café called Morning Market in Fitzroy for a takeaway coffee and sandwich. Another suburb would be Glen Waverley, which is famous for their Asian food and groceries.

I have also hiked in one of the longest trail racks in Melbourne, which took me about 6 hours to reach the top (it was crazy, I know!). I visited a beautiful Lavender Garden in Daylesford, which takes about 2 hours’ drive by car to get there.

When I had a trip to Sydney, I enjoyed walking along the Sydney Harbour Bridge at night. I also went to Barangaroo to meet my friends there and also to meet you across the hotel where I lived hehe. One thing that I did not get to do in Sydney was take a coastal walk, which I believe is a must-visit in Sydney. 

Ya! Kita bertemu di Sydney! Kamu waktu itu masih kerja di Melbourne, tetapi sedang dalam proses untuk kembali ke Jakarta. Apa yang membuatmu mengambil keputusan untuk kerja di Melbourne lalu kembali ke Jakarta?
I decided to continue my journey in Melbourne because, during that time, all students had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a Temporary Graduate visa or working visa for two years. It never crossed my mind back then to go home to Indonesia for good after I finished my studies.

I guess I was not ready as yet to return home and decided to put my feet in the water to see what would happen next. When Covid-19 happened, I was forced to extend my visa for another 12 months because of the closure of international borders, and couldn’t go home. In the end, I decided to make a permanent move to go back in October 2022 simply because I did not pass the skills assessment for the Permanent Resident application. I did not want to take on another temporary visa because I did not see a long-term goal in doing that.   

Sekarang setelah kembali ke Jakarta, pernahkah merasakan bentur budaya kembali? Apakah ada hal-hal yang mirip dan juga yang beda ketika membandingkan pengalaman kerja di Melbourne vs di Jakarta?
Yes, I am experiencing a huge culture shock in my current workplace. One of them relates to the communication style of supervisors. In Australia, it is common to have freedom of speech as it is highly encouraged. However, in my current workplace, there is a hierarchy procedure when it comes to asking questions or simply in expressing thoughts about a topic or situation.

Another thing that surprises me is that in Indonesia when it comes to working in a corporate world, it is expected to have independence in everything I do. There will be a lack of guidance or support from other co-workers, which is very different from the warm culture in my old workplace.

Working ethics is another issue of culture shock that I am having at my workplace where the definition of professionalism is viewed differently from the Australian culture. In Indonesia, it is not allowed to say to a client that we’re taking a half day off due to a personal situation. But in Australia, people are more tolerant when taking personal days off for personal reasons without being questioned for not being professional at work.

Overall, I am still experiencing that culture hit at my workplace. Honestly, it has not been easy in the last couple of months.

Wow, semangat, Gel! Walaupun sulit, menurutmu apa pelajaran yang paling berharga yang kamu dapatkan dari pengalaman hidup di luar negeri dan pindah balik ke Indonesia?
There are heaps of valuable lessons I got during my 6-year stay in Melbourne, which are listed below:

• I learned to live and accept challenges outside my comfort zone.
• I learned that it is not wrong to make mistakes as I learned to be better from them.
• I became wiser in making personal choices, not influenced by others’ opinions and circumstances.
• I became more confident in voicing my opinions and not afraid to speak up when you’re right.
• I learned that for every up and down in life, everything happens for a good reason.
• I cannot force my timing in everything I want to do, but rather to follow and surrender to God’s will and timing in the end.
• I learned to limit my overthinking over things that I cannot control. Instead, to enjoy every moment with a grateful heart and mind. [IM]

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