Story about an Indonesian student’s experience and success studying in Australia

An Indonesian UTS Insearch  student whose hometown Tsunami couldn’t destroy this student’s ambition to succeed!    

During her first year at university, studying a Bachelor of Architecture in Banda Aceh in the western Indonesian province of Sumatra, things took a turning point for Vida Asrina, when the 2004 tsunami hit, killing 167,000 people throughout the region and devastating the city.

Soon after the tsunami, Vida along with other architecture students from Banda Aceh were invited to Sydney, Australia by Rotary International to help design and advice on building a village for children orphaned by the disaster in Indonesia. “That was my first exposure of Australia, and I really loved Sydney and I wanted to go back.” Being part of this initiative, Vida in turn won a scholarship to study architecture at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

At UTS Vida was exposed to a very different way of studying and thinking about architecture. She realised her first degree in Indonesia was more structured and aligned with an engineering discipline; whereas in Australia, the approach was more conceptual “It was really good exposure for me at the time because I came from a completely different direction of architecture,” she says.

Having experience several years as a freelance translator and interpreter in her home city of Banda Aceh in Indonesia she worked with clients like Australian national broadcaster, the ABC. By the time she came to Australia, Vida was confident with her English skills. However, studying for her master’s in architecture, she knew her academic writing was as not as strong as it should be. She decided to spend four months at UTS Insearch to build on her skills “It can be a big challenge when you’re used to getting a really good Marj and then suddenly you don’t because of the language barrier”

It comes as no surprise that Vida advocates a multidisciplinary approach to education. She’s worked in journalism and broadcasting, loves business, history, graphic design, video editing, new technology – and art. “I want to do it all!” she says. Vida is all about learning and developing a range of skills. She says having distractions by things you love, enjoy and interest you are a great way to be innovative. Vida has worked in various fields from journalism and broadcasting, to having passion in business, history, graphic design and all manner of technology!

She says “Don’t let your degree define who you are and what you do – its only part of what makes you unique.”