Category Archives: AAS

First time volunteering in Sydney Open

This year I’ve got another opportunity to volunteer in Sydney Open event. It is one of the big events in Sydney, especially related to architecture and history. In one weekend only, Sydney opens its historical building, museum, private offices, which are not usually open to public. I volunteered for half-day only on Sunday, 04 November 2018 at 1 Shelley Street. It is an office of Macquarie Bank, which has been open since 2008. The building has received so many awards in particular for its diagrid construction. The open part of this building is ‘the street’ level, on first floor, which is an open atrium where people can meet.

1 Shelley Street

The Street inside the building

Since I only volunteered half-day, I have the chance to visit other places too like Australia Museum, The Great Synagogue, 50 Martin Place, and KPMG office at International Towers Barangaroo.

My first stop was Australia Museum, where I found dinosaurs skeleton, history of Aboriginal and Australian, the Gadigal land and all things related to wildlife and animals (frozen).

Australia Museum

The Aboriginal artwork on display

View from rooftop terrace of Australia Museum

My second stop was The Great Synagogue, where people still practise separate places for men and women to pray. It was good experience though, because I did not know that it was a synagogue before because its location is in between shopping places.

My third stop is 50 Martin Place. I think this is the most interesting place I visited on that day. They took visitors by transparent lift to the 11th floor. The 10th, 11th floor and rooftop outdoor terraces were opened for the visitors.

My fourth stop is my volunteering place ‘1 Shelley Street’. There I volunteered from 12.30 until 15.30. I have the chance to visit the fifth stop KPMG office which is next door after my shift finished.

View from KPMG office

View of Darling Harbour from KPMG

I get many advantages from volunteering in Sydney Open 2018:

  1. I can access those buildings for free, because all volunteers get a wristband as an entrance ticket. The ticket price for adults are $49..which I don’t have to pay 😊
  2. I get a complementary museum pass as a reward.. yayy I can visit some more museum like Museum of Sydney which I haven’t been to.
  3. I win a ballot for Tank Stream tour, which mean I get another free tour to visit Sydney underground water tunnel.
  4. It is good for your CV as well 😊

Above all which I have mentioned, I met new people, making new friends, new network, visit new places, see different things, and see how Sydney Living Museums organised such a big event in the city. I will definitely volunteer again next year. See you again in Sydney Open 2019! .. hopefully.. finger crossed !

Sydney Open team for 1 Shelley Street



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Teaching High School Students in Blayney, NSW, Australia

As an Australia Awards Scholar, I had an opportunity to be involved in Indonesian Language Learning Ambassadors (ILLA) program. I decided to be a volunteer in this program. I thought it will be a good experience for me to teach high school students in Australia.

Blayney, is a rural town in New South Wales (NSW), about 4.5 hours by train from Sydney. It is a small town, only 3000 population, not so many people can be seen on the street. I went there last Sunday, 16 September 2018, with my volunteer friend, Steven. We took the train in the morning from Sydney, at 07.19 am and reached Blayney at 11.40 am. We walked from the train station to the hotel provided by the school. It took us only 10 minutes to walk to the hotel.

Sydney Central Station

Blayney train station

After checking in (which is an easy process, only one receptionist, and only 12 hotels room available), we walked around Blayney. So quiet, streets are wide, pedestrian space is big and empty. It seems like a ghost town. The great thing that I would not expect before is there are many cherry blossoms trees in Blayney. They were blooming beautifully during our visit that time.

Exghange Hotel Blayney

Cherry Blossoms in Blayney

Beautiful Cherry Blossoms


We stopped by at Hang Sing Chinese restaurant, the only restaurant I can find in this town. Our next itinerary was surveying Blayney High School before we teach the next day. It was quite easy to find the school, just a couple block from the restaurant. In fact, everyplace in Blayney is reachable by walking.

Blayney High School

After visiting the school, we came back to hotel and took some rest before continue exploring the town again. We walk around and then see Heritage Park in Blayney. The only tourism spot in the town.

Heritage Park Blayney

Me playing in the mouse house

I felt so grateful to be able to visit rural NSW, a rare opportunity given to an ordinary person like me. Who am I anyway can reach this part of Sydney. It was such a great blessing again from God. I can even watch so many stars at night, because it was so dark, not many lights, and it was quiet and peace at that time.

The next day, Monday, 17 September 2018, we came early at 08 am in the morning before the school start. We met all the teachers in the school before we entered our class, year 7 in this high school. In total, there are 6 sessions, but we only taught for 5 sessions. One session before the last one, we used for recess. The students were excited, a bit shy at the beginning, but felt curious and excited towards the end. Steven and I shared Indonesian geography, the islands, the language, daily conversation, and presented videos and photos of Jakarta and Surabaya, biggest cities in Indonesia. We also gave quizzes and give souvenirs to the students. In addition to that, I also brought Indonesian traditional clothing, batik and kebaya, and put them on students who want to try.

With Year 7 High School Students in Blayney

Under Cherry Blossoms tree in Blayney High School NSW

It was a very precious experience for us, and we are thankful also to Australia Awards and Asia Education Foundation to provide this opportunity.

First time carrying a baby lamb in Blayney

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Posted by on October 1, 2018 in A Sydneysider, AAS


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CTBUH (Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat) Sydney Walking Tour 2018

This year CTBUH Walking Tour in Sydney took place on Thursday, 02 August 2018.

Walking tour started at 3 pm from The Goods Line, followed by Darling Harbour, Darling Quarter, International Towers Barangaroo, International House Barangaroo and ended at R7 Rooftop Bar about 6 pm.

The tour theme for this year is walking by the water. It was quite interesting to learn how the public space were designed, the transition between public space, low rise building, and high-rise building (Darling Harbour – Darling Quarter), also the connecting space between China Town to Darling Harbour (The Goods Line), the building and landscape for ICC, timber blind façade in front of Tumbalong Park, and the controversial Barangaroo.

I would definitely recommend architects, urban designer and urban planner to join this event next year.

The Goods Line

ICC Sydney

Relaxing at the Park

Timber Blind Facade


Napoleon Bridge


International Towers Barangaroo



Sunset at Darling Harbour


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New Year New Resolution – 2018

Happy New Year… that means another year in my life begin. I can still clearly remember my last year resolution: study more, travel often, pray always… and it’s true, if you believe in something, you will finally achieve that. I am now doing a PhD, something that I have never expected before. I thought doing Master was already a big achievement for me, as I am no body. Not even from a rich family who can send their children to study abroad. But yes, I can pursue to a higher degree again. Many thanks to my scholarship provider, the Australia Awards Indonesia, who give such training and preparation to the candidates. I found that I am more prepared, than my previous experience in doing my Master.

And yes, 2017, I travelled a lot. I visited Hong Kong for holiday, departed to Australia for my study. I even have time in between to go to Bandung, Yogyakarta, Lawang.. so much travel, but I like it. What I like the most in my travel time is I get new experience by seeing new place, meeting new people, trying different things, and these experience are useful for me as an architect and a lecturer.

I need to pray more, set Jesus as a centre of my life, than playing around in my social media. I felt so guilty for not fully putting my trust in Him. I worry a lot, of my study, my accommodation, my safety, my future, and everything. Yes, I am worrisome. I know that God will protect, will provide, and take care of me. Thus, I should leave all my worries behind. Romans 11:36, “For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things.” Nothing is eternal, all I have is from God.

Therefore, in this 2018, I want to consider this also for a new year’s resolution. First, I want to lean to God more, and not count on myself. Second, I want to give more to other people surround me. Third, I want to spend less time for my social media. I think I start getting addicted and I don’t want to. Hopefully, this year I have many travels like last year.. as I always love to explore new places. I plan to visit all beaches in Sydney within 4 years, believe me I will. I am crazy about beaches.

Well, that’s for now.. I promise I will write more, when I am free. I must keep on writing to enhance my writing skills (definitely needed for a PhD student).


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Posted by on January 29, 2018 in A Sydneysider, AAS


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Yay I’m now in Aussieland

For some times I haven;t written something in my blog. I was totally busy with one month introductory course. Another reason is because I have a new website, it is on my google site, where I got my personal English-learning recorded.

Well June and July passed so quickly. I have been through the o-week time, and got lots of freebies :). I got pen, cap, coffee cup, notes, post it, and many things. I finally settled in (at least until next February) in this place. My home right now is near to my uni, a very quiet and peaceful area, though at night it is a bit scary, since the street is dark. But, I tried not to go out late at night, especially alone. The good thing about my UNI, it provides security escorts for students. So, I can always ask the security guard to accompany me walk home. Another good thing also which I have found, is the library. It is so modern, so comfy for students. They have rest, sleeping area, student lounge, even a pod to rest during afternoon. I like the library so much. Evenmore, you just have to swipe your wanted book to borrow or return. It is so simple, just by tapping your student ID and swipe the book.. voila the book is borrowed. Also, there are free stationery in the UNI, where students actually can donate their ‘no longer needed’ stuffs, and new students like me can get them easily. I got a book holder, trays, and also pen case from there. Cool right? So many new stuffs.

Place where I will study

I have been through some places in the past 1,5 months: Rose Bay, Royal Botanic Garden, Museum of Contemporary Art NSW, Manly, and the famous Bondi beach, of course with the beaches nearby, like Coogee Beach, Tamarama Beach, and Bronte Beach. I did that coastal walk today (will write more another time).

Many things I need to do before settling in for my phD life. Hope that I can manage it though (finger crossed).

Place where I live

My room sweet room

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Posted by on July 29, 2017 in AAS


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Almost time for Aussie Land

Gosh.. time flies and it’s been almost one semester after my PDT training finished. This means my deferral period has ended and time for me to prepare everything for my departure. I am nervous, tensed and a bit worried of everything.

I received my visa on May 9th, and my ticket on May 12th from the Australia Awards office, exactly one month prior my departure date. At first, I did not worry too much about accommodation, but it turns out to be hard not as I expected.

My proposed campus provides temporary accommodation but with a very high price (ca 450-550 AUD). I had to change plan and search for a temporary accommodation myself. I used some references, like realestate, domain, even Facebook group, and also the students group. Lucky me to have friends there who I can ask with. Headache, searching for a place from internet was not that easy.  I hope to be able to find a place to settle down soon. I imagine carrying my heavy luggage and having to move from one place to another can be stressful. I wish I find suitable one soon.. please SYD be easy on me.

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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in AAS


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After 8 weeks PDT and 2 weeks PhD Extension 

Wow, two and a half months passed away so fast. PDT training was great, full of IELTS,  IELTS and IELTS plus academic essay 500 words and 1800 words. My teacher was from Greece, and she has never been to Indonesia, so she knew nothing about Indonesian culture and got surprises about the way people drive here, the food, the way people cross the street, and everything. My friends in PDT class were Master and  PhD awardee. We were close, since we spent most of the time studying together at IALF resource center.  Every 2 weeks we always had IELTS mock test, and at the last week, we finally had the real IELTS test. No matter how many times we practise the test, it was very challenging to do the real test. I think the test at that time was more difficult compared to the 4 mock tests. 

In between, our IELTS study, we had academic essay to do. The first was 500-word essay. It seemed that 500 words were not too much, but extra work like literature review made this work was a pressure to most of the students, including me. I was having difficulty of how to put arguments, counterarguments, and rebuttal. The second assignment was 1800-word essay,  where students should develop from their 500-word essays. Not only making the essay, we also had to present our essay in class. This practise was good especially because studying abroad will require students to do presentation most of the time. 

8W2 AAS 2017

In PhD extension program, which is given to PhD scholarship awardee, we were given basic knowledge of what exactly a PhD is, how to write a research proposal, how to present for confirmation stage, and what is necessary to success your PhD. Finding a good supervisor, time management, and love what you do are key points to finish PhD right in time.

PhD Extension Nov 2016

I learned a lot during this course, and I still need to firm my research topic, apply to my chosen university, and prepare many things before I leave. Hopefully, all start well will end well too.  

All 8 weekers IALF Jakarta AAS 2017

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Posted by on December 11, 2016 in AAS


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