Inspired by my friend's posting here, I am tempted to write my own experience, too. Unlike him and some other friends, my scholarship hunts were started quite late, about two years after completing my degree at the university. Inadequate preparation took me nowhere, neither Chevening nor BGF, so I started the process all over again in 2006 for both, this time with sufficient preparation. I might write about this in other post.
Back to this post's title, I had two things in mind when reading that particular question. So here were my answers.
1. When I entered University.
Having been accepted at one of the leading-state institutes, majoring urban and regional planning, I felt very fortunate as I had the chance to learn with other best students from all over Indonesia and lectured by prominent scholars who are internationally recognised by their intellectual capacity as well as their practical expertise. I am certain that being a student in the concerned institution could be the gateway to my career achievement in the future.
Being a student at Ganesha Campus has been my dream since I was at junior high. My eternal dream was to secure a seat with Pharmacy department. It turned out that I chose different major. Nevertheless, I never regret my decision and eventhough I am not working in the field relevant to my degree at the moment, I am always grateful for my 4,5 years there.
2. When I started my employment with United Nations agency
My initial assignment with UN body that focuses its work on science, culture, and education in July 2003 was as an intern. Taking some time to adapt with the city where I currently live in, the working environment as well as the people of more than 10 nationalities, I soon learnt how to position myself in such situation and eventually have the benefit of working in the organisation. Furthermore, I was employed under minimum supervision thus, I have applied "learning by doing" and "learning by mistakes" approach which sometimes put me in difficult position yet challenging. Despite the hardships I have had during my tenure there, I believe that they have contributed to the development of practical skills, knowledge-gained, and psychological aspects of myself.
Living a working life with the people and atmosphere completely different from those I used to have in Bandung (at that time) was not easy for me. But since being part of the UN has been my other eternal dream since I was young, then the show must go on. Well, many things were not like my expectation, but there are always pros and cons, right? Today, when I look back, I am happy to say that I was once a part of it for four years where I got to know work in its real meaning, learnt lots of brand new things, found wonderful people whom I call friends, had fun and exciting trips with them, got to know the city life with the Jakartans, immersed with other cultures, and last but not least, where I found my other half.
When I compared these answers to the previous ones for the same application that I made two years before, it made me laugh. They were incomparable! Anyway, those answers, together with others, have conspired to help me win the scholarship after one year of preparation, Alhamdulillah.
But if I had to answer the same question again today, I surely would need more than just "two". If you were asked the same, then what would be yours?