How I ended up studying at BINUS International University

If you would’ve asked me if I had any interest in getting an undergraduate degree some years ago, my answer would’ve been a big no. Yet here I am now at the age of 27, married and a fulltime student at one of Indonesia’s top private universities.

What changed? I can’t really pinpoint what the trigger for me was to consider college again. The simplest explanation is that I found something that I was passionate about. That something was software development. But just to give you a little bit more about my background I will introduce myself a bit first.

I grew up in a small city near the German border in The Netherlands but my roots are tied to the islands of Maluku in East Indonesia.

This is what drew me to Indonesia in the very first place, but the thought to study in Indonesia just came pretty recently. I started my undergraduate degree at BINUS University in September 2018 at the age of 26. You might wonder what I have been doing all that time before. At the age of 18, I started working after a failed attempt at getting a degree in tourism. There wasn’t much I was really passionate about at the time so I just continued working at my side job back then. I did a lot of job-hopping while I went back and forth to Maluku. During this period I also got married, August 2016 to be exact. I was around 24 when I got into computer programming and decided to get back to school and do something with this newfound passion. So I applied for a software development program at a vocational school which had a fully practical and project-based approach on the subject. But I never stop working though, so besides going back to school I still worked an evening side job at one of TNT’s warehouses. During this program, I also had my internship for 6 months in Jakarta where I eventually decided to continue my education at BINUS International University.

While applying for BINUS International’s Computer Science program I still wasn’t sure if I actually wanted this. Why? There actually were a couple of reasons.

  1. I needed both money to be able to pay for college and to survive on the other side of the world. I was so adapted to earning money by my self so I had to find a proper solution for this.
  2. I wasn’t used to studying a lot of theoretical stuff anymore.

As I stated before, my vocational school was only working on projects 5 days a week without any theoretical exams. I later found out that BINUS had a project-based approach program which of course was a big plus for me. After a long process, I got accepted with a full-tuition scholarship from BINUS, and I got financial support from the Dutch (partially a gift and loan). The support from the Dutch actually took a while to get accepted since at first, they rejected my request. But I still believed that I had the right to get the financial support so I wrote an objection letter before I moved to Indonesia with faith that they still would’ve approved. Because I knew that technically I had every right to it. After 4 months of already studying at BINUS, I got the message that they approved my request. So that was great news.

I had to adapt to many new things in those first months. Like going through the bad traffic and super polluted air almost every day. The first 8 months I spent at a small kos kosan with no kitchen. So that meant eating outside every day, which was something I never did. Breakfast, lunch and dinner I ate outside every day for 8 months. Eventually, I was able to find a place big enough which I could afford and I could bring my wife. So I wasn’t longer alone here in Jakarta and since she is amazing at cooking, I don’t have to eat outside anymore. Fortunately, the language wasn’t an issue for me, although I don’t speak fluently like a local I am more than capable enough to hold my own here (thanks to my roots). And while living here my Bahasa actually only got better.

My experience overall here in Jakarta and BINUS International has been quite amazing. I am meeting lots of new people. I have a great class with really smart students and most of us are ready to help each other. I think that BINUS does a great job of focusing on projects. All of our courses have projects, except for one in the current semester. So I think that’s a great way of learning. It helps me and all the other students to prepare for the real world because we already got our hands dirty. Although the theory is still part of every course, it’s the project grade that always weighs more. Of course, this doesn’t mean that our theoretical exams are not important. And I like that BINUS is trying their best to create an international environment on campus. We have students from all over the world. I actually got the amazing opportunity to help recruit international students in Bali by telling them my story in September this year.

Studying at BINUS opened the door for something I always wanted since I visited Indonesia in 2008 for the very first time. That is, the opportunity to experience living in this country, and it’s been a great experience so far. My wife and I are both learning how to survive in this big metropolitan while I also try my best to maintain a good GPA and graduate on time. I hope I can look back to this experience and I say that it has been an amazing journey when I graduate in 2022.

Imanuel Febie (BI Computer Science, Int'l Student, Netherlands)

Imanuel Febie (BI Computer Science, Int'l Student, Netherlands)