What has been the highlight of your time at Birmingham?
Read more about my experiences
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The most memorable one is encountering my weaknesses of academic writing to become a confidence. After submitting the assignments for the first time was the best moment. The feeling of getting them done in the right time was awesome. There are many highlights other than that. I meet many friends from different countries and share knowledge, worry, happiness, traditional foods, and hobby. The tutors who inspire me to always develop my knowledge as a teacher and never stop learning. And I love the library with all the facilities inside. It is indeed a cave to meditate.
Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?
First, unlike other UK universities that offer TESOL/ TEFL program, UoB has a unique module, called Educational Observation, Supervision, and Evaluation. It allows the students to visit different educational settings and then compare the system to our home countries. It is interesting to learn from the field that in some ways can be modified to make the school where I work better. Another reason is UoB is located in a quiet area, but strategically easy to go to the city and other places.
What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?
It has been seven years since I left my university life. I enjoyed working as an English teacher, but in the meantime, I found many gaps between theories and practices in the classroom. So, I decided to step up from my comfort zone and take a leave for going to the university to obtain answers for teaching problems that I faced before. This is expected to enrich my knowledge, find solutions through available literature and discussions as well as open a new perspective on current teaching methodologies.
Have you joined any clubs or societies, gone on any research trips or done any volunteering?
I have joined different students’ organisations on campus and also Indonesian communities outside. Both give me time to interact with more people, rather than only my classmates. For example, I never baked for the entire of my life, but I turned up and joined a baking society, which makes me love cookies, baking, and social chat. I am also actively involved in the Indonesian community to keep in touch with recent issues in my country as well as other Indonesians. I volunteer to help in their biggest festival for providing a donation for poor Indonesian children.
Was there a big transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study?
Indeed. Studying in an entirely different system shocked me in the first month coming here. In the previous undergraduate study in my country, I found that time easier in many ways. Here, especially in the field, mostly the assignments require academic writing with their daunting critical thinking. Academic writing gives me trouble but also an opportunity to explore my ability. The system encourages me to learn to be an independent learner since there are many reading lists and writing that shall be done. In fact, less time in class does not make me a lazy person, which is incredible.
How have you funded your postgraduate studies?
To come to Birmingham requires a lot of money which my salary absolutely cannot afford. That is why I attempted to follow a series of complicated selection, including official selection, interview, writing on the spot, and leaderless group discussion for Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education. It is a scholarship awarded to Indonesian students who has the strength not only in academic ability but also in social communities’ involvement.
Hello, I'm from Indonesia, nice to meet you :). I really hope I can follow your steps ASAP. From your testimony, it seems very interesting to study there, but the most curious thing for me is when you stated "In fact, less time in class does not make me a lazy person, which is incredible." To be honest, I always wonder how is it to spend only a semester in class? So, my questions are 1) how did you cope with that circumstance? 2) In your case, was it effective enough to acquire such a comprehensive knowledge/skill in just a semester? and 3) Was it adequate to support your thesis? I'm looking forward to your insights. Thanks a lot.
Hi, thanks for asking. You are right, having a year to study a Masters degree is incredible, but it is at the same time challenging.
To be exact, we had two semesters learning in the classroom. At first, it was difficult because the system is different with our country. Self-learning is much encouraged rather than only relied on three hours lectures. We had lists of required and recommended reading to do. I agree with this old saying: ‘Every cloud has a silver lining’. Although it was tough at the beginning, I have begun to adjust myself with the condition. To have fewer meetings in the class could let me be lazy, but I found time management the key. I think I have spent more time in the library than other places in this university. It is effective. I had two semesters for modules and one semester for doing dissertation (or thesis in our country). These three semesters open a wide opportunity to explore on your own through reading or share with others, involving the experts in its field (the tutors and also classmates who mostly are experienced teachers from different countries). Many seminars and conferences about the most recent issues can also easily be found The modules I got in the previous terms help me to work on my dissertation now. All modules in this course require small-scale research project which allows me to dig deeper knowledge of each topic, both theoretical framework and data from school or other educational settings. Although dissertation is a bigger project, the experience of finishing assignments before is advantageous.
I wish you luck on pursuing your dream.
Could you tell me more about how you pass the leaderless group discussion? Did you talk a lot? In short, how can I make it good?
Hi, are you talking about LGD for LPDP scholarship? I remember I was so nervous at that time because I just could not imagine of getting an unfamiliar topic. And yeah, it turned to be that way. So, I simply did my best by expressing what I knew in my insufficient knowledge about it. So, everybody got their turn to talk, and I spoke three times since the availability of time required us to keep discussing until it was over. If you love reading or watching the current issues, then you are absolutely fine. If not, then start to follow some news before the day so that you will have some kind of background information about every possible topic. For LGD itself, try to deliver your opinion in a friendly way and give chances for others to speak up as well. Do not dominate. You don't want to look smart on your own and intimidate others. Then, I wish you good luck.
I'm from Indonesia and I would like to know, what is your biggest challenge for learning abroad? Moreover, please could you give suggestions to get a high score in IELTS? Thank you
Hi, the biggest challenge for me was to adjust to the new education system (mostly self-learning). I had difficulties in producing academic writing in the first semester even though I already learned about writing for IELTS before. It was tough but I could get through it by attending additional classes from Birmingham International Academy (BIA) or academic skills centre classes from the main library.
For IELTS, if you have much time, you can learn from different sources, such as books, English podcasts, songs, movies, or find a friend whom you can practise with. Really nice to read/ listen/ write and speak for pleasure. If not, it's better for you to stick with the IELTS books which provide sufficient exercises for the test.
Hello, I am from Indonesia. I'd like to know what made you decide to pursue your Masters degree in UK? I want to know your experience when you studied in the UK because I have a plan to continue my Masters degree in the UK too. And the second question is how many semesters is it if we want to take TEFL at UoB? Is it as same as in Indonesia? Thank you. Have a nice day :)
Hi, I chose the UK because it has been one of my dream countries and it has many reputable and world ranked universities, UoB is one of them. I have a lot of memorable experiences regarding both academic and non academic life. I already mentioned some in previous questions.
TEFL at UoB or UK universities is a bit different to ours. It usually consists of three semesters: first and second semester for taught modules and the last for final projects or called as dissertation.
Hope you will be in UK soon.