Sarra, bottom left during online BIPA class

The Faculty of Cultural Studies (FCS) Universitas Brawijaya (UB) conducts Indonesian Language Learning for Foreign Speakers or BIPA for students who are received the 2021 Developing Country Partnership (KNB) scholarships. The scholarships are specifically intended for students from developing countries from the Indonesian government. A total of six foreign students will continue their studies to the Masters and Doctoral levels spread across various study programs in UB. One of the scholarship recipients is Sarra Ben Bdira, a student of KNB UB from Tunisia who also works as a surgeon.

Sarra, along with five other foreign students are currently undergoing the BIPA education program at FCS UB for a year. This program is a preparatory class as well as an obligation that must be carried out by scholarship recipients before entering the intended study program. Because, one of the requirements as a KNB student while studying in Indonesia is to master the Indonesian language both oral and written, especially academically, as a provision for the lectures.

BIPA learning activities for KNB UB students at FCS UB are still being carried out online due to COVID-19. Currently, they are taking BIPA lessons from their respective countries. Including Sarra who joined the classes from Tunisia.

What’s interesting about Sarra is the reason she chose to study at UB. Sarra, who now speaks Indonesian fluently, said that it all started when she was a student of the 2019 Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture Darmasiswa (DRI) Program. The opportunity to become a DRI student at that time was used to take a walk through the beauty of Indonesia. One of her destinations was Malang City.

“At that time, as a DRI student, I was placed at Universitas Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa (UNTIRTA), Banten. So, I took the time to take a walk to visit interesting places in Indonesia. One of them to Malang City. Arriving in Malang, I met my fellow DRI and was invited to visit UB. Malang made me feel at home, so I also looked for information about UB and its study program. Since then, I have had a dream that I want to continue studying at UB, especially in Master of Medical,” she said.

Besides, she admitted that while in Indonesia, she was amazed by the natural and cultural wealth it had. She feels comfortable while living in Indonesia. According to her, Indonesian people are so kind and friendly and even very tolerant. This is what made her fall in love with Indonesia even more.

She then talked about her profession as a surgeon in Tunisia. She currently works at a hospital in Monastir City, at Farhat Hached Hospital. Every day, she works at morning and night. She admitted, sometimes in one month she can operate up to twenty patients.

“Since becoming a doctor, I have always struggled with the medical world. This is my profession. However, since I learned about other disciplines such as language and culture, this has made me more open. Especially when I started to speak Indonesian. I am increasingly curious about new things, such as culture and art, which have made my life more colorful and meaningful,” she added.

Furthermore, when she was asked about her decision to choose a postgraduate study in Medical at UB, she admitted that all this time she wanted to be a scientist in the health sector. So, when there is a scholarship opportunity, she then uses it well so that she can continue to a higher academic level.

“I have a dream to become a scientist, especially in the health sector. So, when there is a scholarship opportunity, I try to make good use of it so that I can continue to a higher academic level. I am grateful that I can be accepted by UB’s Master of Medical at this time. I may continue to the doctoral level as well,” she said.

Regarding the pandemic situation, she admitted that she felt sad. She should be in Indonesia by now. She hopes that the pandemic will end soon, so that she can experience studying at the campus she has dreamed of. [DTS/MSH/PR FCS]