An undeniable fact that many people set their eyes on prestigious university since it is believed to be the door for one’s bright future. Graduating from prestigious university abroad certainly will make a powerful resume. Besides, most of prestigious top-ranked universities in the world claim to have a strong alumni network that may benefit students in their professional career. However, the enrollment to these universities can be a fierce competition. Realizing a dream to study abroad at prestigious university needs determination, strategy, and serious preparation.

Finding the right information is the first step to do in planning for studying overseas. Marking the first week of the new semester, Universitas Kristen Duta Wacana (UKDW)’s Office of International Affairs (OIA) together with IDP Education Yogyakarta and University of Southampton organized an information session with the theme “Study at Prestigious Russell Group University” on Thursday, February 7, 2019. This event was conducted at Rev. Harun Hadiwijono. With the purpose of encouraging and providing information about studying abroad, this event is open for students, lecturers, and staffs of UKDW who have interest in pursuing their master’s degree as well as Ph.D. especially in United Kingdom (UK). In total, there were around 50 people attending this event.

The information session was officially opened by the President of UKDW Dr. Henry Feriadi. “I think this is a very good opportunity for us that we have this information session today, especially for our students who have a dream to study further for the master program as well as doctorate program. You can learn and get more information about study in UK in general, and especially at University of Southampton, one of the members of Russell Group,” Dr. Feriadi said in his opening remark. Russell Group is an association of 24 top UK universities committed to maintaining the highest research and teaching standards, and creating strong links with business and the public sector.

Lizzie Eyres who serves as the Country Development Manager of University of Southampton, was invited as the speaker in this information session. Ida Ayu as the UK Counsellor of IDP Education Yogyakarta was also ready to provide the information related to studying in UK and answer the questions from the participants. Meanwhile, the moderator in this information session was Arida Susyetina, S.S., M.A., the Director of OIA UKDW.

As the name implied, University of Southampton is located in the city of Southampton in England. Lizzie began the session with introduction of the city, “Southampton is one of the greenest cities in UK. This city is fortunate to enjoy some of the sunniest days in the UK. We have a mixed and mild climate, so expect the weather to surprise you!” Continuing her presentation, she explained that University of Southampton has more than 26 thousands students, with around 30% of the students come from outside UK. The university comprises five faculties, i.e. Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, and Faculty of Social Sciences. As a multi-campus university, it has seven campuses – five in Southampton, one in Winchester, and one international branch in Malaysia.

Explaining further about University of Southampton, Lizzie mentioned some of the university’s significant research in beating breast cancer, drone technology, eye-tracking insight, cracking cybercrime, making the internet faster, and making the past a virtual reality. “The University has been at the forefront of cancer research for 40 years. Our long-established relationship with Cancer Research UK (CRUK) supports facilities such as Southampton’s CRUK Centre of Excellence and CRUK Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre. Leading the UK in cancer immunology research, the University has recently launched a fundraising campaign to open a world-leading Centre for Cancer Immunology at Southampton General Hospital in 2017,” she said.

In this occasion, she also shared about scholarship offered by University of Southampton, entry requirements, and accommodation for students which is called the hall of residence. The university also provides supporting centers such as Enabling Services for students who have disabilities, mental health problems or specific learning difficulties, Personal Academic Tutor, Faith and Reflection Center, etc.

In this session, Ayu also shared about her experience living in UK. “People in UK are very kind. They will greet you when you board on the bus. In the restaurant, the owner or the manager will come to your table and ask how was the food or is there anything inconvenient to you,” she said. She also mentioned some scholarships available for Indonesian students, such as LPDP and Chevening Scholarship.

Closing the information session, Arida said, “It takes time to find the scholarship and apply to a university abroad. You may need months, even a year preparing the requirements, including the immigration-related documents. So, if you want to continue your study abroad, it is better to plan it from now.” [drr]