Australian in-country trip: Kupang to Sydney

Hi I’m Roni Fredik Manu currently studying in Nusa Cendana University (UNDANA) and now in fifth semester. In this article I will share my experience about my in-country study trip to Australia with UniBRIDGE Project. I have been an active participant of UniBRIDGE project from UNDANA since 2017. Then on September 14th I received a notification from Chris Hall, project manager of UniBRIDGE, that I was selected to go to Australia on 13th to 26th November. And I wasn’t the only one that was selected, I went with my mate Desmon Hurek, who is also an active participant of UniBRIDGE from UNDANA. After finding out about our trip we started to prepare our travel document and all the stuff that needed to take with us.

When the time came for us to Australia, it turned out the visas had not been approved yet, so we were stuck in Bali for five days and we have to totally change the whole plan which meant we had to cancel plans to visit Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. We were very disappointed at first, but we had to stay positive to solve the problem that we were facing at the moment. First, we had to find a hotel to stay in Bali. We spent wonderful five days to visiting places in Bali and went sightseeing which become wonderful adventure for us. We met new people and they were very kind to us. After all Bali was fun for us.

The visas were approved on November 16th and the flights were re-booked by Chris. We continued our trip from Bali to Sydney on November 18th and we arrived on November 19th in Sydney at 7am Sydney time. The first day was very challenging for us because this was our first time abroad and we had to find our own way to Coogee to meet Chris. At twelve o’clock we checked into our hotel then walked around with Chris and he taught us about some basic things such as crossing the roads safely and the market “woolies” that sells cheaper things. He also brought us to his favorite cafe and for the first time we tried Australian coffee.

On the second day we moved to Sydney Harbour YHA, we went there by bus and also Chris taught us how to use Opal card. When we arrived at the last stop, it surprised me because the circumstances and the situation are completely different between Kupang and Sydney CBD. After checking in to the hostel we walked around Sydney Harbour which only was a 5 minutes walk from hotel and took some memorable photos, then went back to hotel had dinner and went to bed.

Third day we had brain storming session about UniBRIDGE in a café with academics from all over Australia. After the brain storming we went to the Sydney Opera House and took some photos. The next day, we moved to Sydney Railway Square YHA then we attended a meeting at The University of Sydney to discussed what we have to do for UniBRIDGE Project in the future, evaluate the 2018 program, and how the UniBRIDGE mentors overcome the problems that we faced a year before. Then I taught them Timoresse dance called Bonet. After that we visited USYD’s museum and like Indonesian always do, we took a lot of photos without missing the most iconic of USYD Quad building.

On the day fifth we didn’t do many activities although we hung around the city. The last day in Sydney we went to Bondi beach and from there we went straight to USYD to make lesson video for UniBRIDGE after that at around 4pm we had UniBRIDGE Project networking and social event. We had so much fun, after it ended we had to rush back to hotel and prepare our stuff because, sadly, we had to go back home the next day.

In the end, it was really nice to have this opportunity to meet new people including our online friends from UniBRIGE Project. I’m also really thankfull for UniBRIDGE Project for making my dreams come true.

It was a great trip for me and I got so much experience and it encouraged mr to study even harder to so I can come back to Australia for my masters degree.

Over all Sydney was really nice. Thank you!