Archive for Nena Brodjonegoro

… is a social media enthusiast who currently enjoys working freelance as a social media strategist. She obtained her master’s degree in Science, Technology and Society in Linköping University in Sweden. Nena believes that the future of the global society will be closely revolving and interconnected around social media, and that the younger generation holds an important part in shaping that global society.

Reminiscing Ramadhan in Linköping

Tomorrow is the first day of Ramadhan this year in Indonesia. People are excited! Some are eating feverishly these past few days as they cannot do so in the daylight starting tomorrow. Some others are cherishing it by praying more and preparing some hampers to share to relatives and the unfortunates. Yet some others are preparing special meals to be served tomorrow after the fasting is over for the day. The atmosphere is full with chatters about the coming Ramadhan, and with excitement of all good things to come in this blessed month.

For those of you who are not familiar with Ramadhan, Ramadhan is the month when moslems are required to fast for one month. This act of self-restraint has much more profound meaning than meets the eye. And Indonesians are very keen on Ramadhan because it is also a good moment to meet with old friends and relatives during the so-called ‘break-fasting’ together or iftar.

This festivity during Ramadhan is one of the things I missed when I was studying in Linköping. Fortunately, there were other fellow students who experienced the same thing – having to fast for Ramadhan, but missing the atmosphere that usually comes along with it. Lucky me, my corridor mate, Alva, a Swedish-named-Bangladeshi-girls, also fast during Ramadhan. So we would wake each other up during sahur, and happily devour our meal during iftar together.

As it turned out, fasting in Linkoping wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be! Because the campus is such an international campus, I ended up finding more moslem friends to have iftar together. There’s Nurangez from Tajikistan, Yasser and Jafer from Pakistan, and many others. Occasionally, we would hang out at one of our corridors and have iftar together – serving meals from different parts of the world.

Apart from that, I also experienced a warm welcome and some sort of appreciation from other friends who are not fasting. Despite their questions or their blank look when I told them I am fasting for one month, they respected me and my decision. They try not to eat in front of me, or apologize if they are. They ask me if I’m okay with not eating and drinking for a whole day. And they tried to empathize by saying that in other religions & beliefs, they also fast – even though with different technicality.

Looking back, I realized that even though the atmosphere here in Indonesia is much more religious and encompassing the spirit of Ramadhan, but my two Ramadhans in Sweden were also filled with the same spirit – only enveloped in a different story. I felt the warmth, the difficulty of keeping my spirit up during the day, the joy of sharing iftar, and the excitement towards Eid – when Ramadhan ends.

So as I reminisced, I came to a conclusion. The atmosphere may be different, but the spirit and the warmth of Ramadhan will be the same.

Happy Ramadhan to those who celebrate it – both in Sweden or in their home countries!

Midsommar Celebration in the Equator City of Jakarta

Living in Indonesia with abundance of sun and summer makes me appreciate sun and summer very little. That’s not the case when I was living in Sweden, where the sun comes out only for a precious 4-6 months in a year and the highest temperature it got was merely ‘mild’ summer or 20-ish degrees celcius.

Here in Jakarta we have sun for 12 months in a year, and the lowest temperature it gets is 30 degrees celcius. Despite all that, the Embassy of Sweden in Jakarta still decided to organize a Midsommar celebration! What’s more, they invited all Swedish alumni, as well as the new scholarship holders and the representatives of Swedish companies in Jakarta to celebrate it with them.

The celebration was held last week, to celebrate not only the Midsommar, but also the Swedish National Day on June 6th. The theme of the event is “Innovation & Tradition” that marks the long-held midsummer celebration tradition and Sweden’s spirit of innovation, particularly in Indonesia.

This year, there are two special occasions related to Swedish innovations in business here in Indonesia, which makes this year’s celebration even more festive than before. The first one is the official announcement that IKEA will open its store in Indonesia in 2014, and the second one is another announcement from H&M that will also open its store in Jakarta in September this year. Yay!!

Along with this happy announcement, the attendees of the Midsommar celebration also had a lot of fun dancing around the may pole together with the Ambassador, while singing “Små grodorna” – which also has an Indonesian version called “Kodok Ngorek”! The fun really doubled when you sing a song in different languages!

Besides dancing and singing, there was also Swedish food tasting, with meals ranging from köttbullar, Janssons fristelse, smoked salmon and many others. To add to all the fun, there was also a huge Dala horse celebrating with all of us and completes the Swedish atmosphere in the midsommar celebration in the equator city of Jakarta!

Happy Swedish National Day!

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H.E. Ambassador Ewa Polano with the scholarship holders & sponsor companies

 

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Photo session with (almost) all attendees!

Dancing around the maypole

Dancing around the maypole

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The Dala Häst is in Jakarta!

Photos taken from documentation of the Embassy of Sweden in Jakarta.

Finding good students accommodation in Sweden

Moving to a new country to pursue higher education is super exciting! You get to meet new people and make new friends from other countries, you get to experience another culture, and most certainly you get to live in another country! What more could you ask for, right?

Well, for one, you can ask for an accommodation first.

Finding accommodation is one of the biggest worries for new students. However, I think that Sweden has a good system that enables new students to start finding accommodation very soon – if you received the information on time. One thing I realized about Swedish students accommodation system is that everything is available online, and that makes it all systematized. And the weakness of a system is that it provides accommodation on first-come-first-serve basis. This means that if you find out about this system later than your fellow students, chances are that you will be down in the list.

This is how the system worked, when I applied for the student accommodation in Linköping. First, you have to register at the website, which was studentbostader.se. In order to register, you have to be admitted in the university. Then, for every day after you register, you will get one point. The higher your point, the higher your possibility is in getting accommodation. This means that the sooner you register, the higher possibility for you to get an accommodation soon.

Usually, the types of accommodation available are corridor room or apartment. Most students choose corridor room because it is cheaper, and it’s more communal so you get to meet other people quite often. Corridor rooms are usually available for rent for approximately 2,300 SEK – 2,800 SEK – depending on the city you live in and the facilities.

Besides the official student accommodation website, another place that is great to look for accommodation is the Student Notice Board. I think every university should have one, and the one for Linköping University could be found here. During the summer holiday, some students lease their room out for a short period of time, and it could be a good option while waiting for your point to accummulate in the official website.

Besides the two mentioned above, another great way to find accommodation is by sharing with another student. Information about this could be found on the Student Notice Board. Or, if there are more students from your country, you can get in touch with them and find accommodation together. For Indonesian students, you can also use the Indonesian Student Association in Sweden to get in touch with current students in Sweden, and to find more information about accommodation.

Hope this could help enlighten all of you who are about to start an exciting adventure in Sweden next year! :)

 

Forum Alumni Swedia in Indonesia is Officially Established!

Yes, the title uses Indonesian words – but I am sure all of you understand it anyway!

The Indonesian Swedish Alumni Forum is now officially established, as per May 4th, 2013. YAY! Congratulations to all members, and particularly the newly elected Chairman, Erlangga Arfan.

Actually, Alumni Swedia as a group was established as early as 2007, when there were quite some numbers of Indonesian students went to Sweden to pursue their higher education. At that time, there were as many as 5 (!!) Indonesian students in Sweden – the highest since 1989.

When it was first established as a group, Alumni Swedia was merely in a form of mailing list. In 2008, the Indonesian students in Sweden then re-established Persatuan Pelajar Indonesia Swedia (PPI Swedia) or Indonesian Student Association in Sweden. PPI Indonesia Swedia got in touch with Alumni Swedia, and since then, close cooperation between the two groups was created.

Together with Ms. Eva Polano and the Swedish Business Community

At the same time, the number of Indonesian students in Sweden increases, and quite matter of factly, so does the number of Sweden Indonesian alumni. J Since then, Forum Alumni Swedia also stays in close contact with the Swedish Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the alumni have been invited in many events organized by the Swedish Embassy.

This year, finally, the Forum Alumni Swedia was established as a formal organization, and elected its first Chairman and his cabinet. The programs that are planned to be organized this year includes organizing a Swedish Culture Show, Swedish Education Exhibition, and organizing seminars in cooperation with external organization and/or companies in Indonesia.

Smile!!

To celebrate this happy occasion, Ms. Eva Polano, the Swedish Ambassador in Jakarta, invited both the members of Forum Alumni Swedia and the members of Swedish Business Community to a link-and-match dinner last week. Hopefully, this dinner will be the first step towards a solid and fruitful cooperation between the Forum Alumni Swedia and the Swedish Business Community.

Fika: The little thing that keeps me smiling for 2 years

I remember the first time I came to move in to my corridor after one week staying at my Swedish host family. It was a sunny Saturday in August 2007. The corridor looks slightly like rows of hotel rooms on both sides – only with a main entrance door before the first rooms, and a big kitchen / dining / common area at the end of the last rooms. I immediately like it – because it was like nothing I’ve ever seen! J

When I started a minor commotion in the kitchen – while unpacking and storing my personal items in the kitchen cabinets – a Swedish boy came out of his room and greeted me. And he told me that there would be “fika” at 6. Little did I know that it would be one of the reasons that keep me smiling throughout the 2 years studying in Sweden.

So, “fika” is basically a coffee break that’s been institutionalized by the Swedes. They have it all the time! When you’re working, you have a fika at 10 and at 3. When you’re a student and lives in a corridor, you have a corridor fika once a week. It’s a nice social gathering to stay in touch with other people, and personally, I think it’s a warm thing in an otherwise cold north.

After the first fika, I was completely taken away by it. There’s coffee, tea, cake, and good friends. What more could you ask for?? Since then, me and a bunch of friends who (surprisingly!) feel the same about fika, would have a fika once or twice a week! The venues were mostly our corridors – so we would be visiting each other’s corridor every week.

Being a student with limited budget, we always bake our own cake. Starting from, cupcakes, kladdkaka – a typical Swedish and very easy to make gooey brownies, kanelbullar – cinamon roll, lussekatter – a Swedish christmas buns made with safran and raisins, and semla – another Swedish spring time cardemom-spiced buns filled with cream and almond paste. Yum!

But the best part about fika is not the coffee, nor the cake. It’s the good conversations that come along with it. And the good laugh, good stories, good ideas that also popped very often. As the two years of our study came to and end, there were also good tears in our last fika. And that’s how fika keeps me smiling for the whole 2 years in Sweden. And even after that. J