Thursday, July 23, 2009


It's obligatory to prove your English proficiency when you admit a course at one university. This refers to people whose mother tongue language is not English. Yeah, Indonesia is not country which it's language is English, but Bahasa Malay... hmm, I mean bahasa Indonesia.. hahaha..

You know, sometimes I think why we were not colonised by British so we can communicate in English fluently, at least like Malaysian (LOL). However, okay, we have to face this reality that we must be prepare an English proficiency evidence that show our ability on understanding expressions for our academic purposes.

In line with this issue, we can consider at least two choices ways to show our ability in English. Generally we recognise TOEFL as a test to measure English proficiency. Now, TOEFL is provided in two ways of tests, they are paper based test (PBT) and internet based test (iBT). As we know usually we have to reach at least score about 550 on PBT to succeed our eligibility to study abroad. This score is equivalent about 79 in iBT. Maybe others institution set a higher standard, especially in English speaking countries such as US.

TOEFL is usually used when we apply to American universities. When you think to be educated in Europe, especially Great Britain, or Australia, taking IELTS is preferred. Whereas TOEFL, especially PBT, only checks your ability in listening, reading comprehension, and structure & written expressions, IELTS tests you on four abilities in language, they are listening, reading, writing and speaking. Actually iBT TOEFL now also tests our speaking ability, but IELTS is assessed as more real one because when speaking test we will meet a native speaker who will make a 10-15 minutes conversation with us unless on iBT we'll only speak in front of a computer. IELTS is also regarded as more suitable to tests English for academic purpose, especially if we take academic module (there are two modules, another is general training module). As same as standard stated before, IELTS score recognised for admissions is 6 or 6.5 in higher standard.

Costs of these test ranged more than USD 150, exactly IELTS about USD 180 and iBT about USD 165. Wow.. this is felt an expensive price for us, isn't it? However, TOEFL also provide ITP (institutional test) whose it's price only USD 27.5 - 30. Unfortunately, it cannot be used for admissions directly to universities, except some universities. Whereas TOEFL provide institutional test unless can not be considered for admissions, IELTS only provide international test.

Wheww.. however, I have to reach this requirement, both TOEFL and IELTS. I plan the next semester to take an IELTS preparation class, so I can intensively improve my English proficiency, especially enhance my ability to speak and make conversations and also build my ability on brilliant writing. Ya!! I can do it!!

Online Score
VEC Level
0 - 250 0 - 310 0 - 30 0 - 8 0 - 1 0 - 34 2
310 - 343 33 - 60 9 - 18 1 - 1.5 35 - 38 3
255 - 400 347 - 393 63 - 90 19 - 29 2 - 2.5 39 - 45 4 - 5
397 - 433 93 - 120 30 - 40 3 - 3.5 46 - 53 6 - 7
405 - 600 437 - 473 123 - 150 41 - 52 4 54 - 57 8
477 - 510 153 - 180 53 - 64 4.5 - 5 58 - 65 9 - 10
605 - 780 513 - 547 183 - 210 65 - 78 5.5 - 6 66 - 73 11 - 12
550 - 587 213 - 240 79 - 95 6.5 - 7 74 - 81 13 - 14
785 - 990 590 - 677 243 - 300 96 - 120 7.5 - 9 82 - 100 15
Top Score Top Score Top Score Top Score Top Score Top Score Top Level
990 677 300 120 9 100 15

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Daydreaming about Study Abroad

Dream is the greatest thing for you to feel such a fantastic or imagination which exist below your consciousness. A nice dream is hoped by everyone because this can give a happy feeling and you can enjoy your day with a wonderful fun. However, I think we also can dream not only when we are sleeping. During my internship phase, I always do daydreaming. How come?

This thing has initiated by my obsession to be a academic staff in my university, especially since my meeting with Bu Dewi and Pak Tommy. My daydreaming actually began by visiting Thailand where AIT is located there. But.. oh no! I think I should try another direction, haha.. I would find a better institute one.

Until now, I have visited Australia, US, UK, Singapore, Germany and so on to pick my future university candidate for my master and PhD programme. I used keywords "regional planning", "regional development", "development studies", or "planning studies" to browse some program that suit with my interests. Yeah.. I'm interested on regional analysis that is issued about regional development in economic, social, and environmental context. Among these aspects, regional development more stressed on economic view. I love this path because I can think more comprehensive to learn and plan regions as long as utilizing it's owned resources and capacity.

I also surfed each university choice by explore it's academic quality and credibility, facilities, fees, chance to get scholarship, curriculum structure and all courses, accommodation, and also halal food and prayer time information. This step also I did when I chose Regional and City Planning program for my 1st choice in Kemitraan Nusantara 3 years ago. At that time, I felt in love with Regional and City Planning and think to get the chair on this program. Alhamdulillah, now I can study here and moreover now begin to think my next departure in abroad.

Just FYI, from my visits I can inform some characteristics of each country.

Australia. We can get scholarship from Australian Governments such as ADS or Endeavour which are full scholarship including tuition fees, departure allowance, living allowance and accommodation, healthy insurance, and student visa. You also can work at part time when you study. I suggest to consider universities joined Group of Eight because academic quality of these universities is more secured.
Australian academic system classified programs to undergraduate degree, Honours (research program continued from undergraduate who has an excellence ability), masters by coursework (get your master by pass courses), master by research (80% of your study is research), and higher research (PhD).

USA. Maybe you can obtain such as Fulbright scholarship or others but it will not cover your full fees. However, my lecturer asked us not to worry about it because we can get part time job and you can earn money which is more than you need! There are a lot of world class universities there. Generally, the universities will ask high pre-requisites on English capability, academic records, and also academic potency. There is an unique fact from America. PhD students who cannot meet the qualification can obtain 'MPhil' degee as a bonus.

UK. Some people say that London is the best place in Europe. Unfortunately, only excellence candidates will get full scholarship. You have to browse deeper to know what scholarship you can get. Anyway, varied from US, firstly you will registered as MPhil student that one day his/her status will be improved to PhD candidates if your supervisor assess that your research is progressive and meet the qualification.

Germany. Generally postgraduate programmes in Germany are free of tuition fees. The program maybe conducted in German or English. Some scholarship to cover living expenses are provided. However, it's very possible to finance your costs with work. The DAAD scholarship will give you allowance to study, travel and living during your study. The unique model of PhD programme in Germany, you will get "6 months-1 year training" before doing field research. This may be a strange model because each subject is scheduled on some weeks but everyday, e.g. weeks 1-3: microeconomics, week 4-5: macroeconomics, weeks 6-8: methodology, and so on.

Netherlands. Most of master programmes in Netherlands is only 1 year, but PhD programme will last on 4 years. Some universities in Indonesia also held a cooperation with Netherlands universities. Maybe you can take a double degree programme in Indonesia and Netherlands.

Japan. Did you know that living costs in Tokyo is more expensive than in New York? Yeah!! Some universities offer international programme tought in Japanese or English. Unfortunately, it is hard to get full scholarship whereas the costs is expensive. However, Monbukagakuso could be one choice.

Canada. Academic system in Canada is alike with US. I'm sorry that I have not yet elaborated the Canada deeper to know about scholarship.

From Reading to Writing

I think you knew that there are four competencies of language skills, i.e. listening, reading, speaking and writing. You might have also ever heard that the highest competency is writing. The writing activity needs more intensive thinking in order to create a good expression with systematic and trusted resources of ideas. Reading would be a lowest level one, because it needs only ability to understand and catch the ideas from those materials. Nevertheless, reading may be a boring part of your activities. Unfortunately, it is a must to reading a lot carefully to create an excellence writing. Isn't it?
.. to be a good writer, you have to read a much..

When I was in first year in my undergraduate program, I had to take reading class in English course. There are three groups actually, they are reading, presentation, and writing class. This classification is based on TOEFL score we gained from placement test taken before. So you know, what it's mean I grouped to reading class. Huh.. I felt so shy, and sometime I would answer the question, "Which class are you in English?" by "WR-warga reading"or "PR-pasti reading"!! Hoo..

The first year of my undergraduate program maybe the most difficult phase for me to understand expression in English both written or spoken. I felt almost getting mad when one of lecturer give his lecture in English. Ugh.. it's hard for me. But, at the second year, as you know, we began to "buy" textbooks that written in English and I tried to read it. Only one sentence I can say, "It's boring and difficult". At that time, I preferred to read only courses materials in slides given by lecturer and forgot the textbooks. Hahaha..

Huh.. The 3rd year of my study had forced me to read English articles more frequently. The reading assignment and making resume were addressed to read English words in academic context. It's a must and we couldn't avoid that. However, it has to recognized that this activities enabled me to improve my English skill and vocabulary.

One more important step is my experience during my internship now. Actually I was surprised that my project is in English so that I must read and write report in English. Damn.. This made me shocked but I had to face it. Only in one first week of my internship I could adapt with the condition, and greatly you know?? Now I can understand the articles faster and better. Moreover, now I can write easy writing like this and also academic report for my assignment. This is wonderful for me. I'm satisfied with my instance selection for my internship beside I also do love this kind of work. I do thank for this experience..

What will happened with my internship activities this week?

Last Thursday, I joined the internal meeting with other members of HP3 project which is my internship project. At the meeting, I have delegated to do some important action (wew) i.e. calling HP3 team to get contact persons in some departments in DKI Jakarta and North Jakarta municipal governments; calling those departments to make appointments for meeting and an interview the next week, and also-of course-writing the 2nd report.

Uh.. I don't know what will happened to me because my supervisor and her assistant would not be there in office in this week. So, I have to do this work myself without know how to bring this institution name and the appointments would be created!! I feel too 'junior' for doing this, but what can I say.. my partner in this internship also already began her work and may be doesn't know the problems more clearly, so this work refers to me.

Anyway.. I would try.. May this chance give me experience to create a good network environment for my professional career.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Introduction Story

Hello world!

This is my first post in my blogger that I gave name this "before bed time stories". Yeah.. actually I had some blogs in my account but I have not ever post anything there, and then I erased them. I also have another blog, named "Fikri Information Center". Wew?? Why it's named information center? Yes, at the first time I published this blog as an online billboard so all of my friends could access a bunch of information regarding academic issues and also download some course materials forwarded from lecturers.

Unfortunately, my posts were not only responded by a good welcome but also some claims and comments. Some course materials I have uploaded actually have a copyright and it was restricted if I violate that copyright. Then I banned all of my post and I changed that blog to a private blog which its' contents is my free expressions.

Maybe, now I will begin writing story in this page.. before bed time. This only will be an easy writings. Before bed time has to be a relax moment, so we can sleep tightly and have a nice dream.. :)