Alumni Interview (2015 inbound: Universitas Indonesia)

Ms. Devi Risca was an AIMS student for the 2015 spring semester, during which she studied in the College of International Relations. She graduated from Universitas Indonesia in 2016, majoring in English Literature Studies. She is currently working at a start-up company in Jakarta.

Can you tell us more about the PBL course you took in Ritsumeikan?

I had this one class named Global Simulation Gaming which was very interesting. We were presented with a case of indigenous people in an area who were affected by forced technology changes in their living environment. We played the role of NGO members who defended them. We practiced a lot of debates, lobbying, and even demonstrations. At the end of semester, we were gathered in a big hall, with students from other classes, and each of the classes had a role to play. We had to walk around the hall, speak our thoughts and interests, and defend our positions based on the role we played. Most of the students there I had just met that day, yet I had to come to them to debate. It was very challenging but really fun!

Were you involved in any other activities besides the regular academic classes?

I joined two clubs: photography club and dance club. I was the only foreigner in the photography club, but everyone was very welcoming. They would translate the notes and speeches to English for me. We did photo-hunting sessions around Kyoto and Nara. In my free time I also liked to walk around town with my good friend from Thailand.

What did you like about Japan, especially Kyoto, the city you lived in? Any interesting experiences?

I love it very much, and I miss it a lot. Kyoto was very clean and peaceful. I often got lost in the streets, walking by myself at night, but I felt safe. The friendliness of the people was beyond comparison. One time on a hot summer day I was standing at the bus stop alone, when a lady suddenly shared her umbrella with me. Another time when I asked for directions, the person escorted me to the destination instead. My landlord lent me a winter jacket and gave me a pair of rubber boots. I also spent the fasting month of Ramadan and Eid in Kyoto. 

How has your study at Ritsumeikan affected your life now?

Before coming to Japan, I used to be a quiet student who wasn’t too active in class. At Ritsumeikan, I was encouraged to speak up. The discussion sessions were always intense and lively, especially in smaller classes. The students were very enthusiastic as everybody had to give opinions, and the lecturers would listen carefully and appreciate your thoughts. Now I have become more confident in speaking and expressing my mind.
I also made new friends from Thailand, Malaysia, Egypt, America, and also Japan. When the Japanese AIMS students came to Indonesia, we arranged a meet up and traveled to popular spots in Jakarta and Yogyakarta. Very exciting!
I used to have no plan to continue my study after undergraduate studies, but now I am motivated to pursue a master’s degree. I am following the latest news regarding Japan and Indonesia to find inspirations for a research topic. Hopefully I can come back to Japan soon!

Do you have any advice for new or prospective AIMS students next semester?

I am lucky and really grateful to have this experience. Please make the most of your time, utilize it well. Make new friends not only with fellow foreigners but also with local Japanese people. Participate in activities outside class, do not hesitate just because you cannot speak Japanese. Bring souvenirs from your home country.