I was asked to give a short speech on the closing of a pre-departure training for AusAID scholarship recipients at IALF in Jakarta (September 2012). Here is my speech which I delivered surely without text, no teleprompter, either 🙂
It is always good to speak in your home country, especially when people just know how to pronounce your name. Yes, my name is I Madé Andi Arsana, not I made Andi Arsana. Thanks Richard for your introduction and thank you for pronouncing my name correctly. Michael and Barbara, I cannot thank you enough how grateful I am for this opportunity. It certainly is really something. In the language of Syahrini “sesuatu banget”. I have known Barbara for nine years now. Time flies, really! Barbara, you look as wonderful as you were nine years ago [staring at Barbara and smile]. This is actually a payback because that’s what Barbara said to me when I met her two days ago. So Barbara, the score is now one-one.
Teman-teman pejuang sekalian, today is of course about you not me. Today marks an important stage in your journey to Australia. I understand this is not the final day as some of you still have to sit IELTS test in the next couple of days. I know the fight has yet to end but I am also sure that you will do just fine. Good luck.
Barbara asked me to say a few words about life after pre-departure training. I have to admit that life after pre-departure training is one of the best periods in your life. Not because you don’t need to see Barbara anymore. Barbara, you know I am joking right? It’s a relief that you have completed one important stage of your long and winding journey ahead.
Let me share with you three things and three things only, as Steve Jobs said in his famous speech:
First we know you will go to a completely different place. I believe that Barbara already told you about the W curve. That you are going to experience different modes during your journey. I am here to tell you that it is wrong. You will have fun all the time in Australia [chuckles and laughs from the audience]. You don’t believe me, do you? Of course, you will face problems but you have been well equipped with everything you need. Thanks to all dedicated teachers here in IALF. As Aussies would say, “no worries mates!”
Secondly, sharing is caring. It is the time for you to pay forward by sharing your experience and knowledge about Australia and the scholarship in particular. We know that thousands of Indonesians are desperate to know more about what you have achieved and how you do it. They too want to make their dreams come true. In my humble opinion, you can share information effectively only if you put yourself into their shoes. I really need to remind you this because I know that is quite easy for us to forget how desperate we were when we stared the journey. When you have lived in a comfortable apartment for a while, it is easy to forget how hard the fight is to get one. When you discover that you can easily buy indomie and terasi in Sydney, it is easy to forget that it is actually one of your biggest worries before leaving for Australia. That’s why please allow me to remind you again that any small information from you will be a treasure for a lot of people. Don’t wait until tomorrow; Write your experience now because sharing is caring.
Thirdly, you in Australia are to study and gain a degree. However it is not only about a formal degree. In a well connected world like this, geographical location is now less relevant when it comes to study. In terms of access to publications for example, there will be very small difference between living in Jakarta and Sydney, thanks to the internet. So what makes study overseas different? First it is direct exposure to international community. This is the time to make friends with a lot of people from around the globe. After finishing your study you can be proud if you always have someone to contact wherever you go on earth. You can see Indonesia more clearly when you are outside. So this is the time for you to contribute objectively for the good of Indonesia by educating people with your ideas. I remember I wrote for the Jakarta Post for the first time on April 12 2005, when I was in Sydney. Quoting Mas Anies Baswedan, “education is a responsibility of every educated citizen.”
Well, my speech can be very long but let me wrap up with an advice from Deepak Chopra, an Indian-American author, that there are three things to do in life: believe that you can, take action to make it real and tell stories for a larger influence. I am not going to sabotage the whole morning with my lecture because you do no really need it. You are all wonderful, just the way you are. Thank you!