Teatime #5: The Twists and Turns of Becoming Overseas Students (1)

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On July 24, 2020, Sorlihah Pohleh was present as a speaker at the Teatime talk show. In this fifth episode, the event theme was “Being International Student and How to Conquer the World.” Sorlihah, who is from Pattani, Thailand, is an alumni of the Communication Science Department of Universitas Islam Indonesia. She was speaking live on Instagram of International Program of Communications Science Department (@ip.communication.uii).  This 2015 class year student shared her experience as a foreign student at UII and how she adapted to the new environment.

Studying abroad is one of Sorlihah’s dreams. Initially she did not think of choosing to study in Indonesia. At that time Sorlihah had become a student at Fatoni University (FTU) Thailand. She got information about scholarships to study abroad from one of his lecturers. Coincidentally there is a scholarship offer from UII that is just running an international scholarship program.

Sorlihah finally ventured to try. She followed the advice to register for a scholarship at UII. At first she was hesitant in choosing a major in economics or communication major. However, because the communication department was one of the rare majors in Thailand, the lecturer again suggested her to choose Communication Major. In addition, her decision to choose UII was due to the good campus environment and culture. The implementation of Islamic culture in UII such as prayer in congregation, similar to the culture in Pattani, Thailand. She feels safer and adaptable.

Pattani area is identical with Malay. Malay language is their daily language. Pattani’s location in the southern part of Thailand makes people there use Thai language less frequently. This made Sorlihah could learn Bahasa easily. Despite, the Malay language is not much different from the Indonesian language. In addition, she also tried to be active when gathering with friends so she could quickly master Indonesian and was no longer constrained by language.

Sorlihah claimed not to have encountered so many obstacles while living in Indonesia. It was because of the friendliness of Indonesians, especially Jogja’s people. “I just enjoy what is in Indonesia. Because Indonesians are friendly, so it’s not difficult to adapt and deal with people,” she explained in the Instagram live program.

Staying away from parents certainly changes a lot of things. Such as having to manage their own expenses and face the homesick. She said that she would usually get a homesick when there is a problem or think of an allowance. Even so, she can quickly overcome it by meeting friends from Thai who are both struggling.

She sticks to her mother’s advice. Sorlihah should became more determined to try new things while in Indonesia, “To deal with new things, I remember my mother’s word to just try it first. Try it first to know whether it’s good or not. So later we can deduce which is good and not.”

Continue to the next Article: Teatime 5: How to adapt to food, friends, and language obstacle


Writer: Fitriana Ramadhany (Student of Communication Major of UII, Internship at International Program of COmmunication Science Department UII)

Editor: A. Pambudi W