Students of the Faculty of Law (FH) University of Muhammadiyah Malang (UMM), Irawan Roy, deserved pride. How not, he could prove that he was more fortunate and counted for studying at private university instead of the state one. "Although I had been accepted in UI or UGM, I didn’t feel that I lost something when I left them. I’m more fortunate here," said Roy.
What has made Roy feel fortunate and proud to study at UMM? The student from Jakarta was one of 27 UMM students who attended the student exchange program to Europe. He took Legal Studies Program at the University of Trento Italy. There were also seven other UMM students who took different study programs and one lecturer who joined Postdoctoral Program. Meanwhile, other 19 UMM students were spread in various universities in Germany, Portugal, Austria, Turkey, Finland, and Spain.
During studying in Italy, Roy and his friends obtained a scholarship from the EU Commission through the Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window for 10 months. He followed seven subjects of international class. His scores obtained in Trento were to be recognized by the UMM and vice versa. "Alhamdulillah, I graduated with satisfactory scores for all my courses," said Roy.
There were many unique experiences gained during the study in Italy such as difficulty in communication because most of the Italians do not speak English. Luckily, Roy had already known about it and he anticipated it by learning Italian from UMM student coming from Poland, Hanna Szymanska. "She taught Italian a lot, at least the commonly used basic words such as greeting, numbers, and how to ask," Roy said. Italian lessons were very helpful when he first stepped in Italy.
In Italy, Roy got Italian language bridging program. Because he had relatively good language talent, Roy managed to master the Italian language better than his mastery of English. "I prefer to speak Italian rather than English. My grade in Italian is better than English," he said.
With his skill in speaking Italian, Roy got along quickly with other students in his apartment and on campus. His most frequently visited place was the International Relations Office (IRO) on campus. There was no doubt that nearly all IRO staffs knew him. "Even the Vice Rector I also knew me," he admitted.
Early last June, when he arrived from Italy, he felt that 10 months went so quickly. However, he determined to finish his study at UMM as soon as possible since he was offered a scholarship for Master program in Trento. University of Trento is one of the prestigious universities in Italy. Its Faculty of Law even is the best in the country. "Insyaallah, I will return there for my Master Degree," he said.
One thing that made him felt at home in Italy was due to a positive impression of the Italian people about Indonesians. Initially, there were many who saw him and Indonesia cynically. Because of his good communication, the view was increasingly improved to be better. "At first, even Indonesians saw me and UMM in minor view. They thought that UMM is just a private university which came from Malang, also a small town, not Bandung, Yogyakarta or Jakarta. But once they knew UMM campus and its various accomplishments, including the UMM students’ behavior and achievements in Italy, they appreciated us," explained Roy.
While in Europe, Roy travelled to various countries. He used his spare time and funds from the scholarship which was more than enough to go to France, Germany, Spain, and Portugal. "Even I’d been to France four times," he said.
Interestingly, when a group of UMM lecturers visited Italy in the beginning of last May, Roy became their guide. Roy became the dialogue translator between the leadership of the University of Trento and UMM Rector with the lectures. Roy also accompanied the group of those lecturers to have entourage around the City of Rome.
Roy's story is part of the success stories of UMM students who received Erasmus Mundus scholarship. For him, being UMM student is a matter of pride. It is because not all campuses in Indonesia have a connection with the Erasmus Mundus. The scholarship has made him familiar with the outside world, in fact, to be known abroad. (nas/t_alf)