Pusparaniology Blog is Moving!

Halo! Blog Pusparaniology punya alamat yang baru di http://www.indahgilang.com

New Name

Pusparaniology now becomes IndahGilang at http://www.indahgilang.com

Terima kasih buat teman-teman yang suka baca, share, kasih komentar, dan feedback selama ini. I have enjoyed blogging since 2010 (hey there, if you have been around since then :D). I found that my mind was still racing with thoughts and words at night, while I have done with all the mundane things I did during the day.

So, I open my laptop and write. and publish. and it seems that people read me writing. and like it. and share it. and contact me that it has inspired them one way or another. It was an organic thing and really beautiful.

Sometimes because of that, I was pressured to create an interesting content with all the tips and tricks to boost likes and readership (like most insecure teenage with social media) . But then, it doesn’t feel natural nor genuine. So, I decided to just post whatever pops in my mind, like the real me, like Indah Gilang Pusparani.

Cambridge, UK. Credit: Miko Buntoro Cambridge, UK. Credit: Miko Buntoro

Because like every regular girl with college, organization, internships, and jobs, I have my down time…when I was completely lost from here or other social media outlet, which means my day-time activities really occupy my time and energy, which is equally exciting! Also, I may also write professionally on other websites, such as Best Delegate, Good News from Indonesia, or Hotcourses Indonesia.

So, if you happen to read this blog, just consider me as your girl friend or sister who happen to have some stories to tell, from college to travelling, from scholarship to nationalism, from books to make up, from Cirebon to London! So if you have any comments, questions, feedback, or just want to say hi, shoot me a message through my new address. If you find that the content is relevant and useful to others, feel free to share to your network.

New Face

New face available at http://www.indahgilang.com

In fact, maintaining and even developing a new website is a lengthy and challenging process. Six year of blogging at least gives the idea of how a WordPress dashboard work, but nothing about hosting, cpanel, plugins, and…what is it style.css thingy? With a help from fellow IT members in my current office (hey Bang Topan dan Rully!) who help me understand domain and hosting (with a lot of analogies and burst of laughter), I can finally sit down and work on this.

UCL summer break at Hyde Park, London UCL summer break at Hyde Park, London

It is a lot of work! In fact, I had fun figuring things out that I can do manually. I set out the blog to be sleek, simple, and easy to navigate from content to content. Also, it is fully responsive with any device (I hope so :D). Yes, in fact, it needs upgrading here and there, but so far I am proud!

Thank you for those of you who always encourage me to share this “part of me”, you make my world colorful. Dream, fight forward, and make it happen. See you in http://www.indahgilang.com! Cheers!

15+ Scholarship Questions We Should Answer

I compiled a list of questions frequently asked on scholarship essays and interviews. Daftar ini berguna buat teman-teman yang lagi nyiapin esai atau latihan interview beasiswa master/doktoral, student exchange program, sampai leadership course.

And for me personally, taking time to answer these questions help me reflect about my purpose, my plan, and how the things that I do have a meaning and impact to a wider cause. So, the process of applying, preparing, being accepted or rejected by scholarships actually make us more mature.

Indah buat daftar ini berdasarkan pengalaman dan review banyak beasiswa master, student exchange programs, sampai program full-time master degree (untuk informasi apa aja programnya, cek di sini).

Universitas Indonesia to University College London
Universitas Indonesia to University College London

To put this questions into context, khususnya untuk komponen akademik, Indah pake case study lulusan S1 Ilmu Hubungan Internasional UI yang apply beasiswa MSc Development Administration and Planning di University College London (UCL) UK, currently the 7th best university and 2nd for Built Environment subject in the world in QS University Ranking.  Interesting case di mana applicant lanjut studi yang arguably beda jurusan. Tentu saja ini bisa disesuaikan dengan konteks teman-teman. So feel free to adapt them to your needs 😀

Also, interesting to take note, pertanyaan di bawah ini mostly found in merit-based scholarships, yaitu yang berdasarkan pencapaian akademik, bukan latar belakang kebutuhan ekonomi. So, if that is what you are applying for, go check this out!

Beasiswa Master dan Doktoral LPDP, Angkatan 13, 2014
Beasiswa Master dan Doktoral LPDP, Angkatan 13, 2014
  1. Mengapa kamu mendaftar program beasiswa ini?
  2. Mengapa kamu memilih UCL?
  3. Mengapa program Development Planning, bukan HI? Apakah background kamu cukup untuk ekspektasi akademik program tersebut? (atau contoh lain, kenapa pilih MBA?)
  4. Mengapa S2? Bagaimana karir kamu sekarang berkaitan dengan kebutuhan untuk S2?
  5. Mengapa riset yang diajukan tetang Jakarta urban development, sementara kota-kota lain di Indonesia juga memerlukan pembangunan? Mengapa urban, bukan rural development, sementara sebagian besar Indonesia masih rural?
  6. Mengapa memilih Inggris? Bukan Australia, Singapura (sebut negara relevan lainnya) yang lebih bagus untuk bidang yang kamu geluti?
  7. Bagaimana rencana perkuliahan kamu?
  8. Bagaimana rencana karir kamu? Dan mengapa memilih hal tersebut? padahal kan…dll..
  9. Bagaimana rencana karir/akademik/personal kamu 10 tahun ke depan? Bagaimana kaitannya dengan peran kamu saat ini?
  10. Bagaimana background/pengalaman/skill/network kamu relevan dengan misi beasiswa ini?
  11. Mengapa kami harus memilih kamu?
  12. Bagaimana jika kamu gagal program ini?
  13. Apa impact yang bisa sampaikan setelah program ini? Bagaimana tolak ukurnya?
  14. Apa kegagalan dan kesuksesan terbesar bagi kamu? Bagaimana kamu mengatasinya?
  15. Bagaimana kamu menghadapi culture shock? Atau misalnya, mahasiswa/dosen luar negeri yang bersikap tidak acuh dengan mahasiswa Indonesia?
  16. Bagaimana kamu bisa bersaing kalau Bahasa Inggris (dan bahasa lokal negara tersebut) skornya masih rendah?
  17. And counting……

This list is not exclusive nor exhaustive. Artinya, ga semua pertanyaan akan ditanyakan serta merta pada suatu esai ataupun interview, juga pertanyaan ini masih terus berkembang sesuai dengan background applicants dan sponsor (pemberi beasiswa) (think about questions like, “Sepertinya kamu ambisius, apakah tidak khawatir dilarang bekerja oleh suami/orang tua setelah lulus S2/S3?” “Bagaimana rencana keuangan kamu membawa pasangan dan anak sementara kami tidak memberikan tunjangan tersebut?” NAH!)

If you have these questions covered, practice and get feedback from trusted friends, colleagues, or even willing professors. Pass this article to you friends and partners to cross-check and give feedback.

Students of Development Administration and Planning, University College London
Students of Development Administration and Planning, University College London

Most fall out in the essays/interviews/applications in general is that we just describe what achievements we have, what volunteering/internships/leadership position that we have done in the past, but not why it matters, what are the impacts to society, and how it influences you personally and your decision right now and in the future. Karena dari situlah reviewer akan melihat karakter, pencapaian, dan memutuskan apakah kita layak untuk mendapat investasi mereka. Mereka adalah pihak yang memiliki anggaran dan mereka membiayai program tersebut atas dasar tujuan atau misi tertentu yang lebih besar.

Okayyy.. kalau teman-teman ada komentar atau pertanyaan, leave comments on the box below, dan silakan share biar teman-teman lain terbantu!

Are we ready to drive a change?


Life in A Suitcase: Reverse Culture Shock (and Tips!)

After years of living overseas and international trips, I never anticipate myself to experience a culture shock when I return to Indonesia. A month prior to and several months upon my arrival in Indonesia were very difficult time for me, physically and emotionally. The feeling of excitement, sadness, longing, alienation, frustation, optimism, rejection, dissapointment was just bottled up and I could not express it without the fear of being called arrogant or not nationalistic… (and it exploded in a bad way).

Then I talked to some of comrades in several alumni projects and gatherings, and read articles about “Reverse Culture Shock”, and finally I can figure out what’s going on with me, how to cope with it, and that I am not alone.

Reverse Culture Shock / Coming Home Syndrome

Desa Cigadog, Kabupaten Garut. Credit to Intan W. Anugrah

Most resources (find some links below) say that reverse culture shock or coming home syndrome is experienced when returning to a place that one expects to be home but actually is no longer. It is more difficult to manage than outbound shock precisely because it is unexpected and unanticipated. Shaffira D. Gayatri, one of my best friend, alumni of University of Warwick in World Literature, had once showed me her work on the diaspora coming home, and their unique challenges and experiences in a place they called “home”.

Reverse culture shock is not uncommon among overseas students, diaspora, or employee from international assignments. Even in International Organizations and companies, they have trainings for the returnee and the family to help them adjust to the new environment.

My Experience: Redefining Home

I lived in Cirebon for 18 years and moved out to Depok for college. I can say it is my home town. Then, I spent 5 weeks in Muncie, Indiana, U.S. Then, I moved to Singapore for half a year, and I know all the SMRT lines like the back of my hand. Then I moved again to London for a full year with two-week overseas field work in Ethiopia and two digit trips to countries in Europe. And I feel like I know some place better than the other, even better than my “home town”.

London Southbank. credit to Nina Asterina

I miss every bits of mundane life in London like going to aisles of supermarket, navigating the best exit at the Kings Cross Station, or just sitting down at the less-beaten corner by the River Thames. I can look at the 100-year-old map of London, brushing to major tube lines, street and landmarks, and pinpoint the location of my previous flat, UCL, or the best location to pick up a plate of Rendang in Brick Lane, Whitechapel. Even I finally can relate to Adele’s “Hometown Glory” which basically is about London..

So no wonder why, no matter I miss “home” and all my beloved, I could not stop crying in my 16-flight from London-Amsterdam-Jakarta, which caused me major headache and jet lag, which I could not recover until 3 months later.

So back to the question, what is my home? Why home coming is really difficult?

I love Indonesia and values it upholds. Back in the UK, I wrote my dissertation about Indonesia’s housing policy, I contribute articles about overseas Indonesia for Good News from Indonesia. I make the best of my effort to make Indonesia proud.

However, coming home with a set of new eyes, assertiveness, and personalities, I felt like my idealized notion of Indonesia as my home country is somehow betrayed, and my new self did not feel quite fit. Both I, my friends, my family misunderstood each other. All of us have changed, even the environment has changed, over the time when I am not at home. We thought we can pick up where we left off, but the fact is we have to start over…to everything and accept that we all have changed.

How to Cope with Reverse Culture Shock

I could not say I finish coping with this, but I want to share things that help me go through this, which may be helpful to you:


  • Connect with fellow returnee. It is easier to share express what you are undergoing with people with shared experiences. It can be through whatsapp chats, meet ups, aumni gatherings, or alumni projects. Ask for support, get inspired by their ways in dealing with culture shock, and just laugh over our confusing life 😀
  • Do not punish yourself for not being “accepted”. Blaming yourself for broken friendships and romantic relationships or being rejected by several jobs application upon our return is unhealthy and even make us question our decision to go at the first place. Remember times in the past we dreamt and fought to have this experience, remember the bittersweet things we have been through, and…
  • Accept your new lifestyle. Being flexible is something that help us adapt overseas, it also applies back home. I keep subscribing to British youtuber, eating less rice, and being critical and outspoken about (almost) anything. Just be yourself.
  • Express your voice. I find it really hard to express my thought and feelings with the fear of being called arrogant or snobby (even when I cannot say things in Bahasa Indonesia! like this 😀 ), because of which I experienced some trust issues. But not every person on this earth thinks that way, there will be people who will support us with open ears and honest interest. I share things in this blog, instagram, and occasional Facebook post…and was overwhelmed by how much people can relate to what I have been through.

More please!

For additional support and resources, you can check some interesting articles and podcasts regarding reverse culture shock:

If you find this article helpful, please share! Thank you, Cheers 😀


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