Studying in Australia/Overseas (Part 1 – Preparation)

study_abroad

bar

Picture credits: schoolanduniversity.com (top), apsu.edu (bottom)

Hi guys, I’m back again and this time I am writing from Jakarta!! Yes I have finished my bachelor’s degree in the University of Melbourne and I am going to share my one-year experiences in this blog in several parts because you cannot simply cram one year into one post (even 3-week US Trip blog posts were broken down into parts…hahaha). Basically one-year abroad in Australia has been fantastic! There were so many opportunities which I could not find anywhere in Indonesia, and it will simply broader your mind and perspective about education. Now I know why people decided to study abroad at the first place or even continue their degrees overseas. Well, I’m not saying that all people who had studied abroad were more successful compared to those who studied in Indonesia but honestly there were things that you would not get in Indonesia. Work ethics, perspective, disciplines, confidence and networking are the key things that I got from studying abroad. Frankly speaking, there were more benefits that I got from one year of studying abroad compared to three years of undergrad in Indonesia. Many people said that studying abroad is expensive, well quotes such as “Winners find a way, losers make excuses”, “Losers make excuses; winners make progress”, “Losers Make Excuses… Winners Make Adjustments“, and even Blair Waldorf quoted “Destiny is for losers .It’s just a stupid excuse to wait for things to happen instead of making them happen” said it all. Remember that there is always a way. Scholarships are widely available and as for Australia, there are numerous scholarships including AusAID scholarship by the Australian Government and recently one of my good friends who is currently seeking for a master’s degree abroad told me about a scholarship by Ministry of Finance called LPDP. Private institutions also offer scholarships, which means that there are lots of opportunities.  

In case of my situation, going abroad is obligatory as I am registered as a student in the International Undergraduate Program (UI KKI). Universitas Indonesia (UI) has this program in several faculties such as Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Economics, Faculty of Computer Science, Faculty of Psychology, Faculty of Engineering, and Faculty of Social Sciences and Politics (did I miss anything? Faculty of Law also has this program but they don’t do double degrees). This program enables the students to get two degrees within four years, 2 years in UI and 2 years in partner universities (this pattern applies to most of the faculties offering this program, in Faculty of Medicine the pattern is 3 years in UI + 1 year in partner universities + 2 years in hospitals as a clerkship medical physician a.k.a co-assistant/koas. Other faculties also have 2.5 years + 1.5 years scheme). As UI being the number 1 university in Indonesia, their partner universities are also equivalent in their countries and looking at the world ranking, they are way above from UI’s ranking. Partner universities include the University of Melbourne, Monash University, Newcastle University, Deakin University, the University of Queensland, Queensland Institute of Technology, Universiteit van Amsterdam, University of Groningen, and others. So imagine graduating from two world class universities in merely four years, even 3.5 years (mine is 6 though…but it’s not a big deal since other medical students in several medical schools in Indonesia can take up to 6 years to finish the whole thing without a year abroad) so the degrees would be: xxxx (your name), S.E., BCom (Economics major), xxxx (your name), S.Kom, B.Inf.Tech (Computer Science major), and for Faculty of Medicine, the final degree would be either dr. xxxx (your name), S.Ked, BMedSc,  dr. xxxx (your name), S.Ked, BMedSc (Hons), or  dr. xxxx (your name), S.Ked, MRes. (I have presented this issue during Career Day presentation in my alma mater, SMA Labschool Kebayoran back in 2012, might as well upload the slides :D)

So let’s jump straight to the preparation! Sorry if this list seems incomplete since I did not apply from scratch, but I’ll try my best to explain based on my knowledge from talking to fellow Indonesian friends while I was in Melbourne.

Last day in the University of Melbourne...very grateful and blessed to have an opportunity to study here! :)

Last day in the University of Melbourne…very grateful and blessed to have an opportunity to study here! 🙂

1. Research

Research is important because nowadays workplace has become very competitive, especially in welcoming the free-trade era. When seeking for an employee, companies consider lots of factors, but one thing that always matters is educational background. I know that it does not guarantee anything in regards to personality, works ethics, etc., but sure it will get you shortlisted and give you an extra point ahead of others. It is important to look based on the rankings and their reputations. Google always do best for comprehensive search, but if you want to take a look briefly in terms of rankings, Times Higher Education is credible for their World University Rankings as well as QS World University Rankings. Besides the overall world rankings, don’t forget to check for ratings by subject because being the top of the list does not always mean that they are also number one based on the subjects. For example, the University of Melbourne ranked 31st on QS World Universities Ranking and based on the subjects, the highest ranking was achieved by Social Sciences and Management faculty on the 16th rank, therefore it is a good consideration to choose to study Economics in the University of Melbourne instead of xxxx University which was placed slightly higher in the overall world rankings but was ranked much lower based on the particular subjects. Don’t forget to check for their regional rankings as well as rankings for employment. Looked at their alumni, how many alumni were successful in their fields and looked at the testimonials from the alumni or current students as well. What I learned from studying abroad is that if people are satisfied with something, they will automatically say all the good things about it without even asked or paid about that. I talked to my friends who are seeking master’s degree about how wonderful the University of Melbourne is and even to my mother’s friend who is on scholarship in a particular university in Melbourne and considering about transferring without getting paid by the University of Melbourne. They did not pay anything to me for writing this blog post. I do it because this experience is worth sharing due to the fantastic experiences that the University of Melbourne has given me for just one year of studying. Studying overseas does not always mean that the universities are superior compared to the universities in Indonesia as there are many universities abroad placed below the top universities in Indonesia. Therefore, pay attention to the rankings. If you and your families hold on a strong principle in going to reputable universities, do check the regional leading group such as Group of Eight/Go8 (Australia) and Ivy League (USA). 

Other important points to ponder:

  • Locations: locations determine living cost and if living cost is not covered by the scholarship, you might consider about this. *Bonus: if you enjoy travelling or a certain hobby or passion, a good location means more travelling, more places to explore, more places to be crossed out of your travel bucket list, and more platforms to pursue your hobby or passion! Who knows you will be inspired to do and create something BIG 😀 (e.g. Kaskus was initially found in Seattle, WA, in which the headquarters of Microsoft and Amazon are located and also known as a reputable place to study information technology. My dance teacher Miss Gigi was inspired to open a dance studio based on her experiences during studying abroad in Singapore. Even Farah Quinn the celebrity chef decided to change path to become a chef although she completed a bachelor degree in Finance from a university in USA)
  • Tuition fee: this should not become a big deal if you are covered by scholarship)
  • Language: non-English speaking countries or universities might be a little bit difficult in terms of adjustment. Well, even most of the people who go to English-speaking universities might find it difficult at first to adjust with the language especially academic language, even though they are fluent in English and their English test score is above average. Studying in non-English speaking countries can affect performances and psychological states, which will further lead to low academic scores during the few first years, but eventually you will get used to it. For people who enjoy learning new language and looking for a bigger challenge, this should not be a problem
  • Environment: this is related to opportunity to learn and grow as a person. Environmental factors such as living in four-season countries can slightly affect academic performances and make adaptation process slightly more difficult, but it will go through with time. See whether the city or country has a good and reputable companies related to your fields, therefore the chance to do internship at a good and reputable company is also higher. For example, New York has Wall Street and financial districts which comprises the offices and headquarters of many of the major financial institutions. As a result if you are from finance major, it is a good consideration to study in New York or other cities in USA as you can spend summer period for internship.
University of Melbourne ranking

University of Melbourne ranking (Picture credit: UoM Indonesia Office Facebook Page)

UoM Indonesia Office Facebook Page

2. English fluency requirements

One of the most crucial requirements for studying abroad is the English fluency requirements. Usually countries like UK, Australia, and Singapore ask for IELTS test, while USA asks for TOEFL test. When it comes to IELTS test, there is only one type of IELTS test used globally for education, which is the Academic IELTS test (for immigration purpose, they use General IELTS test). They have official test centres which means if you take IELTS test outside the official test centres, your result is not valid and you can’t use it to apply for studying abroad. You can check out about the IELTS test, including what to prepare, sample papers, and official test centre locations on their website. IELTS test consists of 4 parts: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. All of them have their own score ranging from 0-9. All of the scores will then be calculated to an overall score. For more information about IELTS scores calculation, go to IELTS Essentials. The IELTS score is valid for two years, meaning that if you already had taken IELTS test previously in more than 2 years, you have to retake another one because the previous one is not valid anymore.

The minimum score depends on the program and university, but remember always to aim higher than the minimum score to increase your chance 🙂 Based on my experience, I must say that IELTS was quite crucial when UI students (especially FKUI KKI, but I have heard stories from different faculties as well) transferred to the partner universities. The minimum score for FKUI KKI students to be accepted in University of Melbourne (from now on let’s refer it as UoM) is 7.0 with minimum writing score 7.0, which means that although your overall score is 7.0 but your writing score is 6.5, you need to retake the test. Writing is crucial because in Australia, most of the evaluations and assignments are in essay form, even exams! They are very meticulous when it comes to grammar and they don’t care whether English is not your first language. If your writing is bad, they will not mind giving you a low score. Therefore, if your writing is below 7.0, they will not accept you because they know that you will have difficulties in dealing with the assignments. Coincidentally, writing is the most difficult part of IELTS test and it is also one of the main reasons why UI KKI students failed to transfer on the usual intake. Remember that IELTS test happens only once a week and the results will come up in two weeks, so please bear in mind with the test date, the result date, and the submission date.

Tips for IELTS test-takers:

  • Sign up for IELTS prep: although you are fluent in English or you have studied English throughout your life, at least sign up of the 3-day or 5-day workshop. If you still think you need more preparation, sign up for IELTS preparation program which can take up to 3-6 months. You will be given test tips and practice materials so that you can focus on those 4 aspects that will be tested in the test. You will be given drills on each part so you will know what to expect in the real test. Usually the teacher are also registered examiner so they will give you tips on how to score higher.
  • Listening tips: practice, practice, practice. Remember to read the question on the exam paper first so you know what you are looking for during the listening period. The recording will be only played once, so make sure that you listen and pay attention to the conversation. Frankly speaking the accent was kind of weird and unusual, so make sure that you practice a lot.
  • Reading tips: again, practice makes perfect. Practice on how to do skim reading and find the important information. Don’t spend too much time on reading as you still have writing. Remember to use your time wisely and efficiency, therefore it is important to practice skim reading.
  • Writing tips: again, practice makes perfect. Practice by writing from the topics given from the practice materials and submit your writing to your instructor or your English teacher and read their feedbacks. In addition, you can read sample writing results from band 8-9 so you will have a good idea on how to get a good score for writing. Try to copy the format, vocabularies, and linking words used in the sample writing results. Try to enrich your vocabularies and linking words as well. In addition, make sure that you have the topic sentence in each paragraph and what you are writing on each paragraph is in accordance with the topic sentence. Another crucial factor is grammar, make sure that your spelling and grammar are correct because your score will be deducted if you got them wrong.
  • Speaking tips: same with the previous tips, practice makes perfect. Practice by recording your answer to a certain speaking test topic from the practice materials and look at the time because during the speaking test, there is a part when you only got 1-2 minutes to answer the whole question. Make sure that you have a point in your answer a.k.a not bluffing and make sure that you answer the question. Take a deep breath and be confident! Remember to speak clearly and carefully plan your points before speaking.

Sorry I could not give any tips regarding TOEFL because I haven’t taken any TOEFL test…I have taken two IELTS test (first one was when I applied to FKUI KK and the second one was when I applied to UoM) so I can give you these tips which I also gave to my friends who are going to sit for IELTS test. Another consideration is that IELTS test and prep is expensive (one test could take up to 2 million rupiah, exclusive to the prep) so it is important to pass on the first attempt to save money 🙂 Regarding TOEFL test, please bear in mind that there are many types of TOEFL tests and make sure that you got the correct one. For instance, LPDP scholarship asks for TOEFL ITP® 500/iBT® 6, so you either go to official ITP® test centre of IBT® test centre. Don’t be fooled by TOEFL prediction test as it is only a prediction test and not valid to be used to apply to universities or scholarships. Find out more about TOEFL in their official website. 

SampleTRF4

Samples of IELTS and TOEFL test results

Samples of IELTS and TOEFL test results (Picture credits: takeielts.britishcouncil.org (IELTS) and jaimemiller.com (TOEFL))

3. Extra Documents

Since there is a partnership from FKUI with UoM, I don’t have to prepare for other documents besides application form. Application form can be obtained from the universities’ websites or local representatives, for example UoM representative for Indonesia is located in Kuningan, Jakarta. If the universities don’t happen to have a local representative, you can contact them through agents, but beware with agents because there were stories about scams. Official agents are written on the universities’ websites so if they are not listed, don’t bother going to the office and ask for their help.  Agents can be beneficial because they have direct contact with the universities (only licensed and official agents have the privilege to do so) and they can assist you with almost everything such as requirements, documents, application form, visa application, pre-departure briefing, and giving suggestions and consultation about which universities should you apply to. Please check out the universities’ websites first for the authorised agents and contact the agents listed on the websites.

4. Visa Application

Visa is also crucial since you can’t set foot overseas without any visa (except ASEAN countries, but in order to study you still need Student Visa). Agents or local representatives will assist you with  visa applications because there are lots of things to be submitted such as official documents and financial documents. If you are on scholarship, the fee will be covered but if you apply by yourself, you need to make sure that you have a financial guarantee because visa application requires a certain amount of money to be available in the bank on the visa application. For example, you apply for Australian student visa in April, therefore by April you need to attach a copy of your parents or your bank statement with Rp. xxxx available on the account (according to the requirement). Overseas countries are very strict about that because they don’t want you to discontinue your education in their countries and become moneyless or even homeless because it will increase their nation’s burden. Please allow several working days in order for your visa to be processed, therefore do not apply at the last minute. (Australian student visa requires 14-21 working days, exclude weekends or public holidays)

5. Accomodation

Once you got your visa and your departure tickets ready (will be covered by LPDP), it is better to find accommodation prior to the departure. You can ask your friends or colleagues who are also studying there or you can join the Facebook group of Indonesian student union/Perhimpunan Pelajar, such as PPIA in Australia, PPI in UK, and PERMIAS in USA. Each university has their own student union, for example there is PPIA Monash, PPIA UoM, PPIA Deakin, under the regional PPIA Victoria. You can ask questions through their e-mail or Facebook and they can assist you with that. I got my accommodation through my senior and so did my mother’s friend who already secured her accommodation prior to her departure through her senior. This will be easier because you don’t have to worry about being homeless and you can just focus on your study there. In Australia, if you want to rent an accommodation, you need to make appointment with the agent and come to the property to do inspection with other people who are also interested with the property. If you are satisfied with the property, you have to submit the application form as fast as possible to avoid competitions. Imagine how tedious the process is! Therefore it is better to do it beforehand. If your university happens to have a dormitory, it is also a good option if you want an adjacent place with a good value or you can stay there while you are looking for a better place. Of course dormitory means sharing kitchen and sometimes bathroom, but if those are none of your concern and you are looking for a place with good value and university atmosphere, dormitory can be a good consideration.  Few things to be considered:

  • Location: again this is important; if the accommodation is located near the university, you don’t to spend money for transportation, which is good. Besides, the air quality overseas is way better compared to Indonesia (no pollution!) so walking is a good and healthy option. Besides if you need to spend more time in the universities (e.g. studying late in the library; this might be uncommon in Indonesia but in other countries if exams are coming, libraries are filled with people even until midnight!) you don’t have to worry about going home alone at night. In addition, if you often wake up late (like me ;p) it is better to find places near the university so you won’t arrive late (time is money and they are very strict with time so try to be on time overseas). Since you are not equipped with private transportation, it is better to find an accommodation near train stations, tram stops, or bus stops so it will be easier for you to get around.
  • Type: Like I have said before, you can either choose an apartment, dormitory, or shared house. For me apartment is more convenient because you don’t have to wait to use the bathroom or kitchen unlike in dormitory or shared house. Looking at the price, apartment is way more expensive compared to dormitory or shared house, but you can always share an apartment with your friends to minimise the budget. There are also full-furnished and unfurnished apartments. If you rent an unfurnished apartment, you should buy the furnitures on your own but you don’t have to be fancy and try to make it as convenient as you can with minimal stuffs. There are lots of furniture stores (IKEA is good,  affordable, and widely available in most countries overseas) and you can buy secondhand stuffs with good condition in garage sale or moving sale. Furnished apartment is more expensive since it comes with the furnitures, but sometimes you still need to go shopping for additional furnitures although it is already equipped with TV, kitchen utensils, etc. Again, it is based on preference!:)

This is the end of part one and hope these tips help! To be continued to part 2 very soon! 🙂

For more info about UoM, go to futurestudents.unimelb.edu.au

GOOD LUCK AND SEE YOU IN ‘STRAYA! (or the other side of the world!) Remember to live your dreams!!!

UoM awaits!

UoM awaits! (Picture credit: unimelb.edu.au)

Picture credit: studentuniverse.com

Picture credit: studentuniverse.com

Disclaimer: I did not get paid of any party for writing this, this blog post is solely based on my experience and like I said, because I am satisfied with what UoM had given me and several friends and juniors are asking about UoM, I decided to write a blog post about it 🙂

Feel free to write comments, additional info, or ask questions!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

AusWHO 2014!

Image

Hi all! Haven’t posted for a long time so here we go. I just spent my weekend with AusWHO! It’s the first ever WHO simulation in Australia and I believe if you have done the MUN (model united nation) conference (especially for the first time ;p) you’ll get post-conference euphoria!

So what is AusWHO? Basically it is a smaller version of model UN. Model UN is a simulation of UN (United Nation) conference, in which participants act as delegates representing a country. All of the countries have to work on a specific resolution, which tailors the need and interest of all countries with a certain goal: creating a world to become a better place. The delegates have to act thoroughly as a real delegate of a country, so a delegates must consider their relationship with other countries, their political condition, their current situation, healthcare system, GDP, stance in an issue, everything! That’s why research is a must for MUN delegates because they have to master everything in regards to their country! Well, let’s get back to AusWHO. UN has principal organs such as ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council), Security Council, General Assembly, ICJ (International Court of Justice), and specialised agencies. Specialised agencies consist of UNESCO, FAO, ILO, WHO, and many more. In AusWHO, it is a simulation of WHO conference or assembly in which delegates represent a country and focus on global healthcare issues. Cool right? This year’s theme is NCDs (Non-communicable diseases), which are diseases that are not transmitted from person to person. Right now, we are shifting our stage to NCDs since there are medications and vaccines available to prevent infectious diseases. The number of people dying because of cancer, CVD (cardiovascular diseases), and diabetic complications are increasing over time. I believe this thing is important since NCDs are highly related to our lifestyle. Lifestyle change is very difficult to do compared by giving medications, since it requires a huge commitment and work everywhere.

I saw the advertisement for this event in Brownless Library during O-Week. There was a MUHI (Melbourne University Health Initiative) stand in Brownless Library and they gave out brochures regarding this event. I haven’t had any MUN or debating experience but I just thought that it was a brilliant opportunity to get experiences, meet new people, and learn new skills. Since my schedule was pretty relax, I was happy to spend my time to do research on these issues. Since I had quite a background on NCDs (I have covered it during pre-clinical years, but only the basics, not the strategies to control them) I decided to just jump in. I asked my friends to join this as well since I believe it would be a great addition to our resume. I am a firm believer when it comes to opportunities so while we I am still in Melbourne, I make a promise to myself to do and learn things that I am unable to do in Indonesia. There are two countries that have this kind of simulation (Indonesia already has its own MUN though, so obviously I can do MUN in Indonesia), which are Canada (MonWHO — first ever WHO simulation in the world. The founder of AusWHO actually attended MonWHO so that was why she decided to create one in Australia) and Australia. So without any MUN experience, there were three of us (me, Marco, Edo) who finally decided to get on board and we asked our friend Rino who had Harvard MUN experience to coach us (and he did really well!) Prior to the conference we had to submit a position paper, so we worked together since all of us were newbies. We had samples from committee as well from our coach so it wasn’t that difficult. I represented International Union Against Cancer (IUAC), Edo represented International Diabetes Foundation, and Marco represented Canada. For the research, IUAC provided heaps of information on their official websites even in PDF form! Therefore it wasn’t very vigorous for the research. I had access to their targets and programs so I knew what to include and discuss during the event. Three days before the commencement day, we had a micro-mini MUN simulation with our coach Rino as the chair and we did a simple role call, general speaker’s list, motions for moderated caucus and then dismissed :p (kidding, we went through some procedural stuffs). I did one MUN training session but it was very basic without any simulation.

Day 1

Day 1 was basically just seminars from guest speakers. There were four speakers, Dr Sam Byfield from Nossal Institute, Dr. Fiona Lander who holds a Bachelor Degree (with honours) in Medicine and Law (yes! both of them with honours!), Dr. Melinda Carrington from Baker IDI, and Craig Bennett from Diabetes Victoria. I was really impressed with all the speakers (which led us – me, Marco, and Rino started to question our path as a doctor as turned out that there are many options available with our medical degree!) I learned a lot from them. Dr. Fiona was amazing, she had an internship with WHO in Geneva, she had worked with UNHCR, and best of all, she works as a doctor AND a lawyer. Yes, she works in a hospital and a law office!!!! Can you believe that? Medicine and law are different with other professions since they need to pass a certain exam to be able to get a license to work. It applies in every country for example UKDI in Indonesia and the Indonesian version of bar exam (I don’t know about that but I believe that my dad had one). I mean of course there are doctors in Indonesia who have law degree (mostly forensic doctors) but then they are not lawyers, they just have a law degree. Dr. Fiona works both as a lawyer at a law office and a doctor in a hospital……one memorable quote from her speech “Take opportunities. If you fail, at least we know that it did not work out” that hit me the most. Faith in opportunities: restored. Dr. Melinda was also inspirational. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree and then she took a gap year (usually people in Indonesia underestimated gap year, parents or family members would highly oppose the idea of one year jobless after graduation, although you decided to go volunteer or something, you still don’t have a stable job and salary, so they will consider you as jobless and they will push you to find a decent job) and she realised that she wanted to do a research so she started off with a research about sleep psychology, and now she’s the Manager of the Clinical Prevention & Surveillance Unit in Baker IDI. Mr. Craig Bennett is actually a health economist, a term you might not be familiar of. I think Indonesia needs more people like him, someone that understands both economics and healthcare system with the ability to negotiate and make the best deals that benefit both stakeholders. He spent the past eight and a half years as CEO of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the only public hospital in Australia dedicated solely to cancer care. Prior to this, he was the CEO of public hospitals in Western Australia, South Australia and the UK. See, another career option with medical degree is to become a health economist!

Day 2

The conference kicked off on Saturday the 29th. First, the delegates were divided into regions: Europe and Middle East, America, Asia Pacific, and Africa. I was an NGO alongside Edo so I could move between any region during the regional sessions. Basically these sessions aimed to create a draft resolution per region that cater all the countries’ needs and interest. After the regional sessions have finished, these resolutions will be brought to plenary, in which all countries are present and voting in one large room. I sat in Europe and Middle East region during the first regional block. They were pretty fast because they started talking about their drafts during the 3rd regional session. Some of them already had MUN experience so they were very good in making deals and resolutions. Oh, I forgot to mention, in order for a resolution to be voted, they should have two NGO seals and either two pharmaceutical company seals or one industry seals. There were four NGOs which are IUAC, IDF, IMHRO, and NCDFree, three pharma companies (supposedly 4): Novartis, GSK, Merck & Co, and Pfizer, and two industry: Phillip Morris (tobacco company) and Coca-Cola. These are interesting because countries need to make deals with NGOs and pharma companies, which often set high prices with the drugs and medications, and also industries, which are in fact tobacco company and company that produce drinks with high sugar content, thus contributing to the risk factors of NCDs. During the first day, I gave my seal to the resolution from Syria and Russia because they have a resolution on creating a better cancer registries, provide better access for pain medications, and provide vaccines for HPV and HBV (vaccines for viruses that can cause cancer) in partnership with Merck & Co. So all of our interests were met. I should applaud the delegates from Syria and Russia who both won awards during the conference for their outstanding negotiation skills. They also had strong words for their draft, which was good. At the end of the day, only two resolutions presented in the plenary, the first one was from Syria and Russia, and the second one was from Zimbabwe. However, chair requested the resolution to be more specific for example one resolution to focus on tobacco control, one resolution to focus on research, and so on. So the meeting was adjourned until the next day. There was an optional dinner afterwards in Tazio and it was fun because I got to meet local medical students and shared about our experiences in medical school. It was kind of difficult to tell them about my degree because in fact the University of Melbourne gave that degree only for UI-AMS students, so they did not even know that it exist because they were studying for Doctor of Medicine or MD. There were four tiers in the medical school, MD1, MD2, MD3, and MD4. I did not belong to either of them because MD1 is pre-clinical (which I already passed) and MD2, MD3, and MD4 are clinical years.

 

IMG_20140330_131208

First plenary session on Saturday.

IMG_20140329_213644

Dinner at Tazio with the committee, media team, and delegates

Image

Negotiating with Russia and Merck & Co.

Day 3

The day started with a delegate who happened to be on the same tram as me asking about my seals (lol, in MUN, it happened all the time. Although you’re having lunch, break, or just getting off from a tram, they could talk to you and lure you into signing their resolution!). However it was fine since I gave my seal to the resolution that he signed up for. To spice things up, NGOs decided that we would not give seals unless countries approached us and we also circulated together rather than spreading up like yesterday, so then resolutions from each country will get enough chance to get seals from NGOs. I started receiving some notes (yep, in MUN we did a lot of note-passing) asking me to see their drafts and whether I want to give my seal. In the end, I gave my seal to Syria and Russia about CVD issues because they try to promote physical activities and healthy lifestyle (World Cancer Declaration Target #3), France about research regarding risk factors, mortality rates, incidence, effective preventive method, and many more (World Cancer Declaration Target #2 and #6, #11), Japan about mental health and it’s relation to cancer patients (cancer patients are prone to depression and mental health illness due to the chemo, medication, and social stigma), and Canada about tobacco (World Cancer Declaration Target #3). Canada, which was represented by Marco, merged with Syria and Russia. Interestingly, in Canada’s resolution, they had Phillip Morris on board as well because they did not want to completely ban tobacco, but they just wanted to limit it and increase education and awareness regarding smoking. They also provided a platform to assist in quitting. At the end of the day, all resolutions were passed although there were amendments here and there!!! Woohoooooo! Committee adjourned!

Syrian Arab Republic delegate (Best Delegate recipient) is reading his resolution, in which I gave a seal for their CVD draft resolution

Syrian Arab Republic delegate (Best Delegate recipient) is reading his resolution, in which I gave a seal for their CVD draft resolution

Notes from other delegates asking for my seal :p hahahahahahaha

Notes from other delegates asking for my seal :p hahahahahahaha

NGOs selfie! Selfies are everywhere in this conference :D

NGOs selfie! Selfies are everywhere in this conference 😀

NGOs! International Diabetes Federation, International Union Against Cancer, International Mental Health Research Organisation, and NCDFree

NGOs! International Diabetes Federation, International Union Against Cancer, International Mental Health Research Organisation, and NCDFree

What I learned from this conference:

1. In the end, attitude matters. If you have good attitude, people will like you and get on board with your ideas. If you’re sneaky but you have good attitude, people will still like you because you have good attitude though. If you’re sneaky and you have a bad attitude…..well, say it for yourself.

2. Negotiation matters. Well, we negotiate throughout our lives. It’s an essential skills. You need to convince people to accept your ideas, but at the same time you have to accept their ideas as well.

3. It’s very difficult to go to medical school in here; high GPA, high GAMSAT score, and outstanding interview. But on the bright side, no night shift and no prescribing drugs during OSCE. It’s 7 years in total + 1 internship so 8 in total.

4. Made new friends! People are very nice although they can be cruel during plenary or regional, they’re just acting it out. They appreciated what you did, they were very nice to talk to and very open-minded. My NGO groups were all very nice and supportive. All of us understood the word “kiasu” and we could talk about which delegate was being so :p. Moreover, it’s very funny because some of us are actually Indonesian. We suddenly bumped into each other and got introduced by our friends as well. Not just Indonesian people, but people who have lived in Indonesia also approached us because our names were very Indonesian. One delegate approached me and Edo because she had lived in Jakarta for 6 years and went to JIS, another delegate spent his vacation in Jakarta every year because his grandparents work in Jakarta. Amazing right? International relation rocks!

5. It’s important to be open to all sort of field. I had a talk with my friends about how doctors are arrogant. They feel they are the smartest because they have spent years and years of training and education compared to other professions. They tend to not listen to other people’s ideas from different field. I have to disagree with this. Doctors need to have a sufficient law and economics knowledge, as well as other knowledge. In this conference, although most of them were studying to become a doctor/dentist/healthcare professional/pharmacist/public health advocates, the one that came up with brilliant idea and resolutions (thus becoming best delegates) and have a great negotiation and communication skills are studying to become a lawyer. So it’s important not to be exclusive and listen to people from other fields and also open your mind for knowledge outside of medicine.

Well, in summary, I enjoyed this opportunity and I am thankful for this. We’re talking about creating this one in Indonesia….let’s see!

 

Indonesian medical students in Melbourne who attended this conference. Marco, Edo, and me are transfer students from FKUI, while the others Vellyna (Best Delegate in American region) and Jess are studying in the University of Melbourne for an MD

Indonesian medical students in Melbourne who attended this conference. Marco, Edo, and I are transfer students from FKUI, while the others Vellyna (Best Delegate in American region) and Jess are studying in the University of Melbourne for an MD

IUAC rep for two days :p

IUAC rep for two days :p

Those in favor for motion to adjourn the debate please raise your placards!

Those in favor for motion to adjourn the debate please raise your placards!

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Natural Skincare, Why Not?

Hi all! I recently had KORA Organics Facial Session with Emily in Model Academy (yes, the KORA Organics by Miranda Kerr!) which inspired me to write this post. In addition to that, I have been reading “The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You” by Jessica Alba and “Sephora: The Ultimate Guide to Makeup, Skin, and Hair from the Beauty Authority” by Melissa Schweiger which also inspired me to talk about my recent discovery of natural skincare.

The Honest Life by Jessica Alba (source: The Honest Life)

The Honest Life by Jessica Alba (source: The Honest Life)

Source: Amazon.com

Sephora: The Ultimate Guide to Makeup, Skin, and Hair from the Beauty Authority by Melissa Schweiger (Source: Amazon.com)

As we all know, I am a junkie for skincare and makeup products. For me, a good make up is nothing with a healthy and glowing skin. I love skin care products and discovering the best ingredients available to make my skin healthy and glowing. In fact, one of my dreams is to create a skincare and make-up line which is safe, effective, sustainable, affordable, and made of natural ingredients. After reading Jessica Alba’s book and attending KORA Organics Facial session, I realised that they are soooo many harmful chemical ingredients in our skincare and makeup which will be absorbed by our skin (since they are applied directly on our skin)! In addition, we are all familiar with the occurrence of cancers in woman right? Well, some of the ingredients from the skincare or makeup which are absorbed by the skin may induce the abnormal cell division, thus leading to cancer (remember cancer is a multifactorial disease, so we are unable to directly conclude that cosmetics can cause cancer, it is just one of the factor that may induce cancer). I did some research on the internet and here are the results:

1. Read Labels!

Similar when you’re buying food, don’t forget to read the ingredients written on the packaging. There are several harmful ingredients that you should avoid: (source: sarahwilson.com.au and The Honest Life)

  • SLS: SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which act as surfactant, detergent, and emulsifier. This chemical ingredient is mostly present in shampoos, scalp treatments, hair color and bleaching agents, toothpastes, body washes and cleansers, make-up foundations, liquid hand soaps, laundry detergents, and bath oils/bath salts. SLS also goes by other names such as ALS, SLES, Sodium dodecyl sulfate, Sulfuric acid, monododecyl ester, sodium salt, Sodium salt sulfuric acid, Monododecyl ester sodium salt sulfuric acid, A13-00356, Akyposal SDS, Aquarex ME, and Aquarex methyl. So when you read the labels, don’t put the product right away to your shopping bag when you find that there is no SLS inside, it may go with other names! Why this product is dangerous? SLS is contaminated by two carcinogens during the process of making the chemical, which are ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane. In addition, SLS is also linked to nitrosamine, which are very carcinogenic (a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue) due to its ability to enable the body to absorb nitrates, which are known to be carcinogenic as well. The danger of SLS results from the gradual, cumulative effects of long-term, repeated exposures of this chemical. For more information about the research about SLS, check out the article by Dr. Mercola.
  • Paraben: This chemical is mostly found in underarm deodorants and other cosmetics which has been shown to mimic the action of the female hormone estrogen and induce the occurrence of breast cancer. They are used as preservatives in cosmetics and skin care in order to add shelf life and stop fungus, bacteria and other microbes from growing in creams and makeup. As we all aware we often store our skincare and makeup in a warm and moist environment such as bathroom, which is an ideal environment for microbes to grow. With the addition of paraben to our skincare and makeup, microbes will not be able to grow in them. This chemical also goes by other names such as methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben (anything that has “-paraben” in it!). Similar with SLS, the danger results from the gradual, cumulative effects of long-term, repeated exposures of this chemical. For more information about the research of paraben, check out the article by Anne Mullens.
  • Phthalates (pronounced: (f)θaleɪt/THAL-ates): Phthalates or phthalate esters are esters of phthalic acidThese ones are scary. Why? Because the purpose of phthalates is mainly as plasticizers, which are added to plastics (yes, PLASTICS) to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. They also go by other names (Gosh, why harmful chemical have soo many weird names!!!!!) such as dimethyl phthalate (DMP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), diallyl phthalate (DAP), diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP), and many more (anything that has “-phthalate”). They are commonly found in cosmetics, perfume and nail polish and other products such as sportswear, sporting goods, toys, etc. In addition to that, the ingredient “fragrance” also contains a trace of phthalates as it may include a combination of chemicals including phthalates. Why these chemicals are dangerous? Besides the fact that they are added to plastics (well, we can say that our skin is treated as plastics because this chemical is added to plastics!!! our skin is definitely not plastics!!!), they are known as “endocrine disruptors” because they mimic the body’s hormones and have, in laboratory animal tests, been shown to cause reproductive and neurological damage. Several countries and districts already banned phthalates in toys, which means that these chemicals are dangerous
  • Talcum powder: Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral made up mainly of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. It acts by absorbing moisture well and helps cut down on friction, making it useful for keeping skin dry and helping to prevent rashes. This ingredient is commonly found in baby powder and adult body and facial powders. Research suggested that talcum powder might cause cancer in the ovaries if the powder particles (applied to the genital area or on sanitary napkins, diaphragms, or condoms) were to travel through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovary. For more information, check out the article by American Cancer Society.
  • Synthetic musks: Musk is a group of aromatic substances used commonly as base scents in perfumery. Originally musks are derived from glandular secretions from animals such as the musk deer or numerous plants emitting similar fragrances. However, since the 19th century, natural musk has been replaced by synthetic musk due to economic and ethical motives. Researches have shown that musk don’t break down in the environment and can accumulate in human bodies. They are also shown as potential hormone disruptors and may break down the body’s defenses against other toxic chemical exposures.
  • Toluene: Toluene is made from petroleum or coal tar, and found in most synthetic fragrances. In addition, toluene is also used as used as a solvent in a variety of nail products, such as nail polish, nail hardeners, and polish removers. Chronic exposure linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage, and may affect a developing fetus. Why this chemical is dangerous? Toluene is a potent neurotoxicant that acts as an irritant, impairs breathing, and causes nausea. Mother’s exposure to toluene vapors during pregnancy may cause developmental damage in the fetus. In addition, human epidemiological studies and animal studies found that toluene has been also associated with toxicity to the immune system and a possible link to blood cancer such as malignant lymphoma. For more information, check out Enviromental Working Group Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database
  • Petrolatum: Petrolatum is also known as petroleum jelly (V***line, I quickly ditched my v-line right after I found out about the danger of petroleum jelly), mineral oil, paraffin wax/oil or petrolatum. Petrolatum is a gasoline derivative which is frequently contaminated with carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Most of the products contained this ingredient claimed to heal chapped, dry skin as well as photosensitivity since it prevents the body from purging daily toxins. In reality, the substance attaches to skin cells and creates the appearance of better hydration, however they do that by forming a barrier that blocks nutrient and oxygen transmission, which means that your skin will be oxygen and nutrient deprived! They coat your skin like plastic, clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins. They also slow cellular development, which can exhibit earlier signs of aging, and are a suspected cause of cancer and disruption to hormonal activity.
  • Oxybenzone: This chemical is very common in sunscreen or anything containing SPF (sun protection factor). This chemical has raised numerous concerns regarding the researches which suggested that oxybenzone may disrupt endocrine organs by means of penetrating the skin and creating some hormone-like activity in the body.

2. Start Buying Natural Skincare or Makeup! 

First, make sure that you read labels before buying certain products and make sure that those products do not contain any harmful chemical. I know it’s very hard to find skincare or makeup that is good and safe at the same time. In addition, most of them are also expensive and hard to find. I’m lucky enough to live in Australia where natural skincare and makeup has been ubiquitous in health stores. They use organic ingredients and do not contain nasty ingredients mentioned above. But once again, take small steps such as buying skincare or make up that has “fragrance-free”, “preservative-free”, etc. By buying those products, which are not completely 100% natural and may still contain other harmful chemicals, the skin will thank you by not putting too many nasty chemicals to your skin. I haven’t tried a lot of natural skincare or makeup brands for a long period, but I can recommend Burt’s Bees for starters because these products are more ubiquitous compared to other natural skincare and makeup brands. The closest places to get them if you are in Indonesia are Sephora Singapore and Indonesian online shops. I recently tried Sukin’s paraben free and aluminium free deodorant and paraben free and fragrance free eye serum. I must say that I am satisfied with the results. The deodorant worked great although the weather was super hot and I had a Zumba class on that day but I still managed to smell nice throughout the day. The eye serum was also fantastic since it contains soothing ingredients such as aloe vera and cucumber. Of course I have tried KORA Organics during the facial session but too bad the price is too expensive for me :(…Other natural brands that worth searching for include trilogy, Jurlique, LaMav, Inika (make-up), Akin, WotNot and many more (please let me know if you have found one!)

15_pic2

37_pic2

My recent purchase of Sukin products (source: sukinorganics.com)

For sunscreen or anything with SPF, opt for products with zinc oxide instead of oxybenzone. Sadly, one of my favorite tinted lip balm contains oxybenzone 😦 I tried to limit the usage of that product, but I should give credits to the one who put “contain oxybenzone” label on the packaging, too bad I did not know about this when I buy the product :(…

In addition, here are the list of nail polish brands that do not contain “the big three” ingredients (phthalates, toluene, or formaldehyde):

Nail polish brands which are free of the three toxins (source: sarahwilson.com.au)

Nail polish brands which are free of the three toxins (source: sarahwilson.com.au)

3. 80-20 Rule

Lastly, go with 80-20 rule! Similar with foods, go with 80% of natural skincare and makeup in your daily routine, and 20% indulgence such as using products contain fragrance to make it smell nice or using your favorite or  the best products available although they contain harmful chemicals!

Tips: For perfume, spray it on your clothes instead of following the rule of spraying on your wrist or neck a.k.a directly to your skin so the chemical ingredients won’t penetrate your skin directly.

Quotes from Sephora book:

“The future of beauty is the redefinition of what is beautiful without facial boundaries or parameters. Face-lifts without surgery. Natural and organic without being “crunchy”. Beautiful formulas, textures, and packages that are good for you and the environment.” – Sarah Kugelman, Skyn Iceland

“Organic beauty is growing at 20 percent a year, so the future certainly holds more organic offerings. I can envision people having a mini cosmetic refrigerator in the bathroom to hold products that are really fresh” -Karen Behnke, Juice Beauty

“The future of beauty is green. We’re going to see an interesting combination of efficiency and recyclability, but companies will still try to find a way to keep the glamour and luxury in the product. Just like a lot of car companies are introducing hybrids, beauty companies will come out with second lines that are environmentally friendly” – Lisa Price, Carol’s Daughter

“I think the natural trend is here to stay! It’s all about having healthy ingredients in your beauty products. Fruit extracts, preservative- and paraben- free products are definitely playing an important role”. – Maureen Kelly, Tarte

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

You Are What You Eat?

I believe that this sentence has been ubiquitous but I comprehended it for the first time during a lecture about nutrition in Skin and Integument module (it was in 2011 if I’m not mistaken…3rd semester for sure). I remember exactly that this sentence was on the first slide and there was a picture of a beauty pageant contestant alongside the text.

Well certainly you have heard about people losing weight and so on and they had their own meal plan and diet restrictions in order to lose their weight. In addition, nowadays people started to become more health conscious and started consuming all healthy, raw, and organic foods. Celebrities also began to create some sort of hype regarding clean and healthy eating. Social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram also took part in this hype in which people started posting (or re-posting) pictures or articles about healthy foods.

You’ll realise how big is all ‘healthy food’ phenomena when you meet up with your friends and then you started ordering food and suddenly one of your friends ordered a bowl of salad and simply said that they “had a snack earlier”, “only eat veggies”, “don’t eat meat/rice/pasta”, or frankly saying “I’m on a diet”.

Before I’m blabbering much, let me say that I’m not an expert on healthy food and I’m not your teacher in this case (although I will be when I become your doctor one day :p) and if you are disagree with me, go on because this post was intended to be an open-discussion post so you can comment on anything you don’t like. This post is strongly based on my upbringing, experience, and opinions. If you find anything you don’t like or disagree, don’t follow me and don’t do it. If you find anything interesting and you agree with it and you’d like to give it a try, go on! 🙂 My first intention of writing this post was also to share about my view and experience on eating healthy. 

This post was inspired by the books that I have read which are Skinnygirl Solutions by Bethenny Frenkel and The Honest Life by Jessica Alba. I highly recommend those books if you need some insights on eating and living healthy (and happy!) In addition, I am also inspired by a session during Model Academy course with Marissa Frew, who is an ambassador for lululemon athletica (an athletic apparel company from Canada), personal trainer, model, and TV presenter. She’s very inspiring and you can check her blog here.

Marissa Frew for lululemon athletica (source: Model Academy Facebook page)

Marissa Frew for lululemon athletica (source: Model Academy Facebook page)

The Honest Life by Jessica Alba (source: The Honest Life)

The Honest Life by Jessica Alba (source: The Honest Life)

Skinnygirl Solutions by Bethenny Frenkel (source: Yahoo.com)

Skinnygirl Solutions by Bethenny Frenkel (source: Yahoo.com)

Tracing back from my upbringing, I was lucky that my mother was a health-conscious person. I strictly was not allowed to eat candy, chips, ice cream, fast food (although I did have my cheat days because children love junk food….this is something that is absolutely wrong in society..why we let children have junk food at the first place!!!??!?!?!)  and I was not even allowed to buy something in the canteen up until I was able to get my own money (the money was intended to be the emergency money in case anything happened but children will always be children so I spent it to buy foods in the canteen..duh bad decision..). I wasn’t even allowed to buy foods from street vendors!!!! When I was little I thought my mom was cruel because of that, I mean other children were allowed to eat candy, chips, ice cream, fast food, and street vendor foods all the time but why I couldn’t eat that???? Even my aunts thought my mom was crazy. But now, I think they were crazy and cruel as parents! (Sorry for this offensive language but now I’m thankful that I had a strict upbringing).

I was used to eat veggies hassle-free as a child. If other mother or babysitter kept chasing their kids to give them veggies, or hid the veggies in some way so that their kids would eat them, my mother did not have to do that. I was pretty easy on veggies in fact I can eat all veggies, they are the best! I also rarely ate instant noodles simply because my mom would not let me eat instant noodles. She only let us eat that once a month. Now we’re instant noodles free since she found a healthy noodle substitute 😀 I was also easy on fruits. I love berries! They’re the best. However there are two fruits that I despise, which are dates and banana. But we can all survive without those two fruits right????? My mom also was very strict on MSG (mono sodium glutamate, in simple words, artificial seasoning) , she never gave any artificial seasoning to our foods. If you need any chicken stock or beef stock (in Indonesia we currently don’t have any stock without MSG) she’ll boil the chicken bone or the beef then use the broth as the stock. It tastes soooo good!! And it’s natural! She also used a little bit of salt and pepper as well and now she used natural organic sea salt instead.

Well, if I had studied about healthy food earlier I’d have never bought anything in the canteen when I was in school! When I went to junior high and high school, I did not want to bring lunch because everyone did not bring lunch from home and I did not want to be a loner who sat alone in the class while everyone was out buying foods (peer pressure..this is something that we should work out in schools! Especially in junior high and high school!) I demanded that to my mom and you knew how teenager could be very stubborn right? So my mom stopped making me lunch and giving me money instead to buy foods for lunch. As a result I was totally chubby during junior high 😦 Same also goes when I was in high school, but I started to bring my own lunch after seeing few of my friends bring lunch. That day I still ate white rice so I am still chubby :00000

Then when I entered college, my mom started switching to all natural and all organic food, including no white rice policy. We started eating red rice and most of the food were baked or boiled. We occasionally ate Padang food since we’re from West Sumatera but it was like once or twice a week. My mom tried to make the most authentic Padang food as healthy as possible using all organic ingredients and olive oil as the oil substitute. No MSG added as well! I lost weight because of that but then I started living in a boarding house next to my campus so I had to order food all the time and ate food from restaurant or cafe or canteen…:( Of course my mom brought me healthy snacks, but for the main food, I did not have any option besides eating outside or calling for deliveries. Because I felt guilty, I sometimes skipped meal 😦 so I lost a lot of weight but not in a healthy fashion 😦

Now, I live in Melbourne and I take charge of what I eat. My mom told me to buy organic and healthy food although they are more pricey. Thank God healthy foods are ubiquitous in here. My mom always told me to buy fruits and veggies and I never skipped a day without it. Although sometimes I do like to cheat (I love Chinese food!!!), I cleanse my body the other day by working out (Zumba’s my fave!) or eating all-healthy the next day. I’m still underweight….but I’m doing things as healthy as possible here! Here are some tips that I could give to you based on my experience:

1. A fan of rice? Don’t worry you have other alternatives! I recently tried Quinoa and it tastes just like rice!!!!! People usually don’t want to switch to red/brown rice since they tastes a bit different compared with white rice but this one tastes just like rice! The shape is also cute though :p You can pop it in the rice cooker and cook as if it is white rice. If you have some leftovers, just pop in the refrigerator and pour some milk (almond milk is my fave) and yoghurt (Greek yoghurt is my current fave) and serve it with fruits for your breakfast! Ta-da!!!!! By the way, cook in the rice cooker with this equation: 1 cup of quinoa = 2 cups of water. If you are still uncomfortable with its cute shape, you can try red or brown rice (I sometimes do cheat on white rice when I’m eating out :p but I’ll cleanse the junk the next day by working out and eat healthy). There’s a research on the difference between brown rice and white rice from Harvard School of Public Health in terms of diabetes risk factor and I am thankful to be able to attend the World Diabetes Congress to listen to the presentation directly from the researcher. The title of the research is “A randomized controlled trial to assess the effects of substituting brown rice for white rice on diabetes risk factors in India” by V. Mohan, D. Spiegelman, M. Ramya Bai, P. Vijaylakshmi, N. Wedick, K. Krishnaswamy, et al. 

Cooked and uncooked quinoa (source: TwoHealthyKitchens.com)

Cooked and uncooked quinoa (source: TwoHealthyKitchens.com)

Red rice (source: scurry.com)

Red rice (source: scurry.com)

Brown rice (source: whole foodshouse.com.au

Brown rice (source: whole foodshouse.com.au

2. Buy organic! This will be more expensive and not all markets have the organic version but the organic version is sooo much healthier because they do not contain unnecessary chemicals. Organic fruits and vegetables were grown in a pesticide-free fashion, unlike the non-organic versions. The non-organic versions were sprayed by hundred of pesticides and chemicals to prevent them from getting destroyed by insects. The chemicals contained in the pesticides will be absorbed by the fruits and vegetables and then it will be transferred to our body as well! Eeeeeekkk! Major lowdown!!! You don’t want to put the unnecessary chemicals inside your body right? They are intended for plants, not humans!!! Below are the list of fruits that you always have to buy in the organic version! Other than that, no need to worry about choosing the organic or non-organic because, for example avocado, they have a thick outer skin so that the chemicals from the pesticides won’t be absorbed inside the fruit, hence it is acceptable to buy the non-organic version. On the other hands, strawberries do not have a thick outer skin as the protective layer, so they chemical will be absorbed inside the fruits, so opt for the organic one!

This is a good way to remember which one should be bought in organics and which one that we should not be worry about whether it is organic or non-organic, remember: CLEAN FIFTEEN AND DIRTY DOZEN (15=don’t bother buying organic or non-organic, 12=always buy the organic version!)

"Clean fifteen and dirty dozen guide" (Source: blog.paleohacks.com)

“Clean fifteen and dirty dozen” guide (Source: blog.paleohacks.com)

3. Juice and smoothies! I had juice everyday since I was little in my house. Now I have my own blender, I’ll try to use it as much as possible. Even if you are too lazy making one, in Melbourne we have sooo many juice vendors on the street with Boost as the most popular and most common one. I once had Boost in Jakarta but now they are closed 😦 but you can still order juice or smoothies in few cafes in Jakarta, just make sure that they make it fresh (using real fruits) and with no sugar. Well, if you don’t trust them, just make one on your own! A lot of celebrities also host campaigns on social media to encourage people to drink juice and smoothies. Look at Nadya Hutagalung! She has a very vibrant skin and do you think that is rocket science? She’s a fan of juice hence her skin is soooo good! Check her instagram for inspirations! Marissa also said that drinking juice or smoothies is a good way to put all nutrients together. It’s also uncooked or raw so you won’t miss any nutrients contained in the fruit/veggies. Marissa also noted that when you looked at a certain food, think about this: the more process the food had to go through before arriving in front of you, the more unhealthy the food is. With juice and smoothies, they are uncooked and they only had one process before appearing in front of me: juicing (it’s best to eat directly or fresh but if you don’t have time, this is a great alternatives!). In addition, it’s very hassle-free, just pop everything on the blender and taaa-daaa! Here are my favorite smoothie recipes:

Green Smoothie (I’m not good with measurement so just trust your guts!): 1 handful of Kale, 1 handful of spinach, almond milk, Greek yoghurt, Chia seed (omega-3 source), one-two tbsp of Acai berry powder (powerful antioxidant, I learnt in in Marissa’s session), honey (or any natural sweetener such as stevia) to make it sweeter, ice cubes and half or a quarter package of silken organic tofu (you can skip this or change this to banana to make the texture creamy. If you skip this it will be just juice but if you add this the texture will be more creamy hence we call it smoothie).

My green smoothie!

My green smoothie!

Berry Smoothie: 1 handful of strawberries, goji berries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, milk, Greek yoghurt, Chia seed, one-two tbsp of Acai berry powder, honey (or any natural sweetener such as stevia) to make it sweeter, ice cubes and half or a quarter package of silken organic tofu.

Ta-daaaaaa! Trust me they taste sooo good plus they are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, omega 3, and all the essential nutrients!

4. Almond and Soy milk! These are great substitutes for milk lover and all the people who are lactose intolerant. I stopped drinking cow’s milk since I was in college because apparently I had stomach problem right after I drank cow’s milk so I switched to soy milk and now I discovered almond milk. They taste sooo good and you can drink it whenever you feel hungry or craving for anything sweets. Mix these with your oats for breakfast as well.

My favorite almond milk by Sanitarium! (source: choice.com.au)

My favorite almond milk by Sanitarium! (source: choice.com.au)

5. Snacks? If you are hungry in the middle of the night, just grab berries! They are small so you can take a handful of them and just eat them while you’re watching TV or movie. They are packed with vitamins and powerful antioxidant so it’s a good way to make it habitual to consume them. If you can’t live without chips, try fruit or veggie chips or regular chips with least ingredients as told by Marissa. I have tried Kale chips, Apple chips, and Macro chips (they only have 3 ingredients).

Kale chips! I have tried the yellow one and they tasted really good like real chips! (source: lovingearth.net)

Kale chips! I have tried the yellow one and they tasted really good like real chips! (source: lovingearth.net)

5. Go with your guts! This is probably the best advice. Remember that you do this for your own self and your family. Think again why do you want to eat stuff My personal reason in eating healthy is because firstly I want to look good have a good and vibrant skin and body (this is me being superficial). When people started getting oily skin, acne, and breakouts, I had a very little experience with that because I constantly eat healthy foods and avoid excessive oily and fatty foods as much as possible. Skin care is no use if you do not eat healthy. The term you are what you eat is somehow correct because what you eat will be reflected in your skin because the nutrients from things that you eat will go through your bloodstream and will be distributed to all over your body, including your skin as the outer part. Dr. Howard Murad (founder of Murad skincare) said that the skin is divided into two parts, the outermost part, the epidermis is highly affected by the topical products such as skincare, while the dermis or the lower part is highly nourished by foods and dietary supplements. Secondly, I try to eat healthy because I don’t want to be very sick and make my family and friends worry about me (this is me being wise and mature). I want to enjoy life to the fullest, not lying in bed when I get old! I don’t want to spend millions of dollar staying in the hospital. Thank God so far I haven’t been admitted to a hospital and missed a lot of classes because of it. So think again why you want to eat healthy (and please, if you answer “to become skinnier”, please find another reasonable statement, this is not about being skinny, this is about being healthy!!!). I often cheat by eating Chinese food (they use a lot of MSG!) 😦 but I have never cheated on fast food!!!!! (I’m trying so hard on this!!! I only ate fast food like once or twice in a year I guess…I ate fast food last year when I was in Singapore because I could not find another food vendor in the airport right after I landed and I haven’t eaten anything during my flight. I also ate another fast food prior to my flight because I had a late night flight and could not find another food to eat as well)

If you’re not ready to start thoroughly, start with small steps such as making your own juice or smoothies, eat fruits as snacks, substitute white rice with red rice, brown rice, or quinoa, substitute instant noodle with the healthier version, substitute pasta with the healthier version, use almond milk or soy milk instead of regular cow’s milk, and try to do this for the sake of you and your family! And have fun and think positively!!! This is not a pressure, do this for fun! If you’re worried of the price because they are more expensive, just remember the hospital bills when you are admitted to the hospital. Even a doctor’s consultation will cost more than buying healthy foods! (This is me, a future doctor speaking! HAHA :p) You’ll also look and feel better after days and days of eating healthy food

I’ll talk about exercise to balance your life on the next post :p

Stay gorgeous and healthy!!!!

Oooh, and remember no matter what you do, people will always find a way to judge or criticise you, just don’t think about it! It’s your life, do it your own way! Just think about all the long-term benefit!

P.S.: This picture tells everything and will give you a slight idea how to start. So your plate should look like this:

My take on this picture:

A glass of water: I drink water all the time..when I was little my mother won’t allow me to drink soft drinks, canned bottles, or any drinks on the counter besides water or home-made juice. Now I know that they contain heaps of artificial sweetener. When I eat outside I always have water (I bring my own bottle in here) or sometimes lemon tea or juice.

Oil: I use olive oil and canola oil

Vegetables: Kale and spinach, but usually kale

Fruits: Berries!

Whole grains: Brown rice (see, don’t skip rice, I always have rice!)

Protein: Salmon, fish, or chicken. Ohh, I still eat red meat, but not all the time…

Source: Harvard School of Public Health

Source: Harvard School of Public Health

Peace out and spread the perks of eating healthy to all the people in the world!

PEACE! (source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com)

PEACE! (source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

TOP 5: Golden Globe 2014 Red Carpet

The award season finally kicked off last night! Since I have nothing to do during the recovery process of my oral surgery, I am currently watching E! Red Carpet (#ERedCarpet) while writing this post. Here are some of my favorite dresses on the red carpet:

1. Emma Watson

Image

Picture from MTV.com

This dress has the best of both worlds: edgy and elegant at the same time. At first I thought it was a long gown which looked very elegant on Emma, however when she turned around…BAM! There were black pants underneath the gown!! So when she faced the front, we saw an elegant gown, which was utterly perfect for Emma, and when she turned backward, it was a completely different look. It was amazing how Emma could pull this look (look how she struck a pose in two different angles!!) Brilliant choice!!! This Dior dress was also perfectly paired with her sleek hairstyle, which supported her overall look for the night. Hands down for Emma!

2. Olivia Wilde

Image

Image

Pictures source JustJared

I really love this emerald dress! The cutting was very elegant and although Olivia is pregnant, she still rocked this sequined gown. This Gucci dress was paired with a pair of Charlotte Olympia with the same colour. She also went very simple on her hairstyle which totally made this whole ensemble looked gorgeous on her. She successfully flaunted her pregnant figure while still looking glamorous at the red carpet.

3. Zooey Deschanel

Picture source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/12/zooey-deschanel-golden-golden-globes-dress-2014-photos_n_4576943.html?utm_hp_ref=style&ir=Style

Picture from Huffington Post

She’s just adorable! Only Zooey could rock a crop top over a beige embroidered gown on the red carpet. Her Oscar de la Renta ensemble also paired up with accessories such as rings, bracelet, earrings, and topped off with a flower on her side bun. She looks totally girly and classic at the same time. Not to mention that I love the colour of her lipstick!

 

4. Amy Adams

Picture from Red Carpet Fashion Awards

Picture from Red Carpet Fashion Awards

Amy stole the attention with her red dress on the red carpet and a golden globe trophy afterwards. I love this simple red dress with plunging neckline and the combinations of the red colours on her dress. On top of that, I also love her hairstyle, which is a gorgeous up-do with braids. She also put on a neutral shade on her lips therefore all eyes will be on her red Valentino dress.

5. Kerry Washington

Picture from Huffington Post

Picture from Huffington Post

Kerry is another proof that you can be fabulous on the red carpet while pregnant. I love the unique cutting of this grey-white Balenciaga dress along with her accessories. The whole ensemble was topped up with smokey-eye makeup with natural and laid back hairdo. This “Scandal” star proved that simplicity is the best policy when it comes to walking down the red carpet while carrying a baby.

Tagged , , , , , ,

All about Lip Products!

Image

Stamped Lips by Andy Warhol, Bright Lip by Bernadette Pascua (http://blog.clusterart.com/category/art/)

It’s time for products review! Since I have talked about lip balm in theory, let’s go straight to the products review! Not merely lip balm, there are many lip products available and there are many glossaries which might confuse you. One question, why lip products? Basically lip is one of the striking properties of the face. It is located straight in the middle plane and humans talk using their lips, making them noticable. Therefore, it is important to take care of your lips and while you’re wearing make up, make sure you wear the right shade so that you can accentuate it a bit. Without further ado, let’s proceed to my current lip products:

Image

Photo taken by me using Canon PowerShot SX510

1. Lush – Popcorn Lip Scrub

What’s in it: Castor Sugar (Castor Sugar), Organic Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis), Polenta, Coconut Butter (Cocos nucifera), Popping Candy 

Claim: Leaves lip soft, smooth, and tasting delicious

The function is lip scrub is basically similar with body scrub, which is to exfoliate the dead skins. By scrubbing this to your lips, it will gently exfoliate your lips, thus making it smooth and soft. Additionally, since this scrub contains castor sugar as its main ingredient, you can lick the excess and it tastes like a real popcorn! The coconut butter and oil have moisturising properties, thus making your lips softer and smoother. I usually wear it before going to bed, after my lips have been exposed with different lip products throughout the day to ensure that my lips are completely clean before going to bed.

2. Vaseline Lip Therapy

This one is a classic and renowned lip savior. The main ingredient is the all-time winning petroleum jelly paired up with SPF 15 broad spectrum sunscreen (protects against both UVA and UVB). This is a very potent lip therapy! When you lips are chapped and dry, just apply this before going to bed and before leaving the house and voila! your lips will become normal again. This product does not have any colour, therefore I recommended to apply this before going to bed (to enhance the function of the lip therapy) or before going out (to protect your lips against UV light). My tips is wear this product before going out in a sunny day, leave it for a few minutes, and then wear your favourite lip colour. If you wear lip colour directly after applying this, the colour will not last longer and somehow your lips will look as if you have eaten too many oily foods (yikes!). Therefore it is best to leave it for a few minutes before applying some colour.

3. Lush – It Started With a Kiss Lip Tint

What’s In It: Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera) , Fresh Red Apple Infusion (Pyrus malus) , Japan Wax , Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii) , Icing Sugar , Carnauba Wax (Copernicia Cerifera) , Flavor , White Chocolate (Sugar, Cocoa Fat, Dry Whole Milk, Soy Lecithin, Natural Vanilla) , Organic Rose Hip Oil (Rosa canina) , Glycerine , Vanilla Absolute (Vanilla planifolia) , Sweet Wild Orange Oil (Citrus Dulcis) , Cinnamon Leaf Oil (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) , Red Currants (Ribes rubrum) , Titanium Dioxide , *Cinnamyl Alcohol , *Cinnamal , *Citral , *Eugenol , *Benzyl Benzoate , *Limonene , *Linalool , D&C Red 28 , D&C Orange No. 4 , Iron Oxides , D&C Red No. 7 , Methylparaben

Claim: Inspired by a certain apple-biting princess, It Started With A Kiss paints your pout an irresistible shade of ruby red, sure to lure your prince (or princess) charming from the path they had mistakenly wandered off on

This one is one of my everyday’s favourite products. The shade is very pigmented yet it doesn’t look very “heavy”. The main reason I don’t really like wearing lipstick is despite that they are the most pigmented compared to other lip products, it does feel “heavy” on my lips and for me it is a bit uncomfortable. The red colour is very natural, not too glamorous, which makes this suitable for everyday look. The texture is also very soft, creamy, and easy to be blended and applied on the lips. One of the best things about lip tint is that they can also be doubled as cheek tint as well. This one is also more pigmented on the cheek compared to other lip/cheek tint because the texture is creamy, just like creamy blush. Plus, the smell is very nice. It has cinnamon and apple smell, which I really like! It is also very light and you’ll feel like you wear nothing at all on your lips. It doesn’t last all day though, but you can always re-apply since the packaging is very small and hassle-free. The colour is also very matte, so if you prefer glossier look, you can always apply lip gloss afterwards

4. Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm – Rose

Enough said. My all-time favourite lip balm! Read my review here –> http://fashionesedaily.com/blog/2013/05/31/all-time-favorite-burts-bees-lip-balm/

5. Stainiac Lip and Cheek Stain – The Balm (Prom Queen)

Claim: Stainiac “hint of tint” works with all skin tones. Dab just a touch on your Cheeks and Lips; layer to pop the color. Fear not those dreaded streaks most tints leave behind – Stainiac’s aloe-infused gel-based formula is designed to give you more time before the stain sets.

This one is very subtle. The shade is less pigmented, but it will give sort of fresh natural look and your lips will look very vibrant afterwards. Same also goes for the cheek stain, it is not too pigmented, but it will give slight colour to your cheek so it doesn’t look pale. It looks as if you were blushing! (I’m serious, the colour is indeed very soft but it is very natural). If you prefer ‘no-make-up’ look, you can give this a go! The texture is liquid, but it is infused with gel so the stain will last longer and the gel is sort of “binding” the colour to the lips. The applicator is very helpful and convenience so that the stain will glide easily on the lips.

6. Lip Liners – Rimmel Exaggerate Automatic Lip Liner in Red Diva and Revlon Colorstay Lip Liner in Pink

I just discovered the function of lip liner after being explained by a shop attendant at David Jones. Basically the function is not merely to define your lips, but also to keep the colour. Lip liner always comes first before applying any lip products except lip scrub, lip therapy, or lip balm. This is when the magic happens. If you apply lip liner first, gently smudge it evenly on your lips until the colour starts to pop a bit evenly on your lips, and then start applying the shades (lip stain, lip tint, lip gloss, lipsticks, etc.). As a result, the lip liner will become the base of other lip products. If the lip products start fading or disappearing, you don’t have to worry since you got the lip liner as the base. Therefore the colour of your lip products will not fade completely, thus giving your lips a little bit of shade. I always applied this first before using my lip tint, lip stain, lip gloss, lipstick, or lip colour. Professional make-up artist use this to define the lips and also to re-shape the lips, but I haven’t figured out how to do that! If you are new to make-up, lip liner can be beneficial in providing a guide to apply lipstick on your lips so that it will look neat and beautiful. I usually use the Revlon one because I usually use either lip stain, lip colour, or lip tint so I want it to look natural for everyday look, however when the occasion is more formal, I use the Rimmel one because the colour is more vibrant and glamorous, making it suitable for formal or evening events.

7. Pout about it Lip Colour in Bombshell – Sportsgirl

Claim: Vibrant, lip colour that moisturises & protects. Not tested on animals.

What’s in it: Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone, Ozokerite, Candelilla Cera (Euphorbia Cerifera), Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Lanolin Alcohol, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Silica, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Lanolin, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, BHA May Contain +/-: Alumina, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Silica, CI 15850 (Red 6 Lake, Red 7 Lake), CI 17200 (Red 33 Lake), CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), CI 42090 (Blue 1 Lake) , CI 45370 (Orange 5 Lake) , CI 45380 (Red 21), CI 45410 (Red 27 Lake) , CI 75470 (Carmine) , CI 77019 (Mica) , CI 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride) , CI 77491 (Iron Oxide), CI 77492 (Iron Oxide), CI 77499 (Iron Oxide), CI 77510 (Ferric Ferrocyanide), CI 77861 (Tin Oxide), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)

I am not a fan of lipstick simply because somehow I feel my lips are drying when I wear lipstick and somehow I feel a bit “heavy” when I wear lipstick on my lips. I was recommended about this brand from one of my friends who loves lipsticks and since she is a massive fan of lipstick, I trust her recommendation and bought this one for my cheerleading competition. I am not a kind of girl who can pull of a ‘red lip look’ and I don’t wear this on a daily basis. The colour is very pigmented since it is a lipstick and it has matte finish. Prior to wearing this product, I use Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm and Rimmel lip liner. The colour stays for a long time and it has a great finish. It also does not feel that “heavy” and doesn’t make my lips dry at all. Probably this is because the moisturising properties from the beeswax and jojoba oil. I like this product, but since I am not a fan of red lips, I’ll put this aside only for important events.

8. CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Lip Colour in Crushed Shell, Nude, and Dusty Rose

Claim: America’s #1 long-wear lip color!* Our advanced formula with resilient, brilliant coverage, color, and shine gives you up to 16 hours of color that stays true, in just 2 easy, breezy steps. Outlast has a moisturizing topcoat that helps lock in shine – no feathering, no bleeding.

This is also the part of my everyday’s regime. Well, basically what I wear depends on my preference and my mood that day ;p. This one is my favourite because it lasts longer and the best part is, it looks as if your lips have their own colours because the colour blends really nicely after the application of the topcoat. There are two products in the package, the first one is the colour. This is a bit sticky yet it is very light. The second one is the moisturising topcoat to lock the colour to the lips. First you apply the colour and let it dry for about 1 minute, then apply the moisturising topcoat to enhance the colour. It lasts for a long time and in case the colour begins to fade, just re-apply the topcoat and it will look vibrant again! It feels really soft and natural on your lips, plus it last longer! I use crushed shell for everyday use, nude if I opt for ‘nude’ make up look, and dusty rose for special occasion.

See you next time! 🙂

Cheers and enjoy!

Tagged , , ,

Last Stop, DC!

I skipped to the very last stop of my USA Dance Trip, Washington D.C.! So after New York, we headed to New Jersey by bus for a stop in Six Flags and on the same day we headed to Cecil County, Maryland to have our second performance organised by Amer-Indo Organization (Indonesian-American organization). After spending 3 days in Cecil County, we headed to Gaithersburg (which is still in Maryland though :p, not D.C. yet!) to have a performance in North Virginia, and finally we headed down to D.C.!!!! I was not supposed to spend my time in D.C. because I was supposed to leave earlier (as I have mentioned in the previous post – USA Dance Trip 2013 – Behind the Scene), but I could not change the date of my return ticket, therefore I could spend the last bit of my USA Dance Trip in D.C.

As we all know, Washington D.C. (I’ll just call it D.C. from now on), is the capital city of USA. It is very famous for being the capital city of USA (duh!) as well as the location of movies and TV shows involving politics and museums. My father said that D.C. was not interesting since it is the capital city (he always thought that capital city is boring, specifically in overseas since there were only governmental buildings and so on, but apparently he forgot one detail, the museums!!!) and there is nothing much to see in D.C. Well, I think he was wrong, because as a fan of museums, a fan of Scandal (TV Show starring Kerry Washington) and since it is the 4th of July holiday, I personally think DC was super interesting!! Here are the highlights of my D.C. trip:

1. The National Mall

The National Mall is a complex which refers to the entire area between the Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capitol. It is basically the most sought after location in D.C. since it has everything you want to see in D.C (except The White House, but it is only few blocks away from The National Mall). There are Smithsonian museums, United States Capitol, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, War Memorials, etc. I went to Lincoln Memorial, Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, United States Capitol (although I didn’t get very close to the Capitol), Washington Monument (it was currently under renovation when I went there so there were cages around the monument), Korean War Veterans Memorial, National Museum of Natural History, and National Air and Space Museum. As a fan of Scandal and Night at the Museum, I was ecstatic when I visited those places because I could finally see it live! One thing that I love about their national monuments is that although the place was full of people (it was very crowded since it was summer holiday and the next day was the 4th of July holiday), the area round the monuments still looked very clean. I believe that this was due to the fact that the American people highly respect their national monuments, therefore they tend to keep the cleanliness around the place. I also love their museums because they were very educative! The place was very clean although once again, it was very crowded, and the displays were well-preserved. There were explanations in each displays so we did not get confused when we look at it. The explanations were well-written in simple and understandable language and very informative. My favourite was the National Museum of Natural History because it had everything, from mammals to mummies (I love mummies!). I wasn’t a fan of airplanes and spaceship but I think National Air and Space Museum was good as well because it had enormous plane and spaceship displays hanging on the ceiling. You could also see the development of airplanes and history of stewardess (they were actually medical nurses who wanted to fly!). Well like what I said, super informative, right? Museum and history fanatics will definitely like this place!

Image

In front of Lincoln Memorial

Image

Lincoln Memorial as seen on Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

DSC04780

In front of Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool with Washington Monument on the background (you can see the cages surrounding the monument as it was under construction at that time)

National Museum of Natural History as featured on Night at the Museum 2

National Museum of Natural History as featured on Night at the Museum 2

Inside the museum! :D

Inside the museum! 😀

National Air and Space Museum

National Air and Space Museum

2. The White House and United States Capitol

Image

Hello, Mr President!

Image

In front of the US Capitol during A Capitol Fourth – Independence Day Concert 2013

Image

Front view of the US Capitol

White House is probably one of the most famous houses in the world. It is the residence of the current president of the United States as well as his workplace (The Oval Office). Too bad we did not get to go inside the house and have a tour 😦 there were secret services (or at least people dressing in suits and shades with super big body) surrounding the area. US Capitol is the meeting place for US Congress (equivalent to Gedung MPR/DPR in Jakarta) and on the fourth of July, there was an independence day concert held in that area. Of course we did not get to see the inside of US Capitol, but since the concert was free and held in the lawn of the Capitol, we could get a closer look to the Capitol. Although that day was super hot since it was summer, the concert was flooded with people! Although it was free, we had to queue prior to entering the concert due to bag check. Since it was held on the lawn, we had to sit on the grass in order to enjoy the concert. There were several seats in front of the stage but it was all taken since we came few minutes before the concert started. There were Darren Criss (Yep, Blaine from Glee!), Barry Manilow, Scotty McCreery from American Idol, Megan Hilty from Smash, and the casts of Motown Musical. The concert ended at 9 pm and after that people went out to see the famous 4th of July fireworks!

Image

The 4th of July fireworks!

I really enjoy the festivity during their independence day. The fireworks were very beautiful and people kept saying “Happy 4th of July!” to everyone. If you are looking to celebrate other country’s independence day, you should celebrate 4th of July in DC! The concert was also very entertaining since it was free and it was located in one of the famous landmarks. Plus, you can watch renowned performances for free and although it was super crowded, people still maintained their behaviour during the day.

3. Embassy of Indonesia

This was my first time being to the Indonesian embassy overseas and I must say that this one was lavish! From outside, it looked like an ordinary embassy since the it is located in a complex filled with other embassies (Embassy Row). One distinctive feature was the Dewi Saraswati statue, which was newly placed in front of the embassy. However, as I walked inside the main hall, you could see the lavishness of this place. The architecture was very colonial because it was originally a mansion and after it was purchased by the Indonesian government to become the embassy of Indonesia, they added a touch of Indonesian and voila! It had the mixture of classic European and Indonesian culture in their architecture. We went there and greeted by the staffs and also the children of the staffs. They told us stories about how haunted this place was. Looking at the history of the mansion, I must say that it was a little bit creepy (and the light was dim as well!)…but overall this place was beautiful and truly represented the beauty of Indonesia. It also had big paintings of Indonesian heroes such as Pangeran Diponegoro and Jenderal Sudirman (which were told to be creepy as well…).

DSC04855

Dewi Saraswati statue in front of the embassy

Image

The Garuda Room, which has pictures of all Indonesian presidents on the wall

4. Shops at M Street

The M street (yep, the name of the street is ‘M’ :p) is filled with famous stores such as H&M, the famous Georgetown Cupcakes (DC Cupcakes), Sprinkles cupcakes, Kate Spade, American Apparel, Sephora, Dean and Deluca, Urban Outfitters, and many more. The place was pretty much equivalent to Chapel Street in Melbourne, where there are many stores along the street. The street was not very crowded, that is why it was very convenient to walk and shop there. Not to mention that it was summer and 4th of July holiday, which means that there were price reduction everywhere! Another shopping place that I visited was Macy’s in G street (apparently they named the streets with alphabets!) where I got a Michael Kors iPad case for only $15 and a Nine West pouch for only $10!!!! Thanks to 4th of July sale woohooo!

Image

In front of Georgetown Cupcakes, which is famous for DC Cupcakes 😀

Image

The queue in front of the store!

Image

Shops along the M Street

Overall, I love this place. I love the buildings around the city and I love visiting the museums! Of course, there were many governmental buildings but I just love the architecture. The streets were wider and it was not as crowded as New York. The Metro was also convenient (compared to Subway in New York…duh…I’ll write about public transportation comparison later). The shopping precinct (The M street) were also very nice and less crowded compared to other shopping precincts (probably because it was the 4th of July holiday?). Well, basically I just love this place! I have no regrets in visiting DC and I’d love to have another 4th of July holiday in DC someday 😀

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Seattle!

As I have mentioned before, I am going to write several highlights on each city during my USA Dance Trip, and I shall start with my first destination in USA, Seattle! (Although I already wrote about New York on the previous post ;p) The flight from Jakarta to Seattle took approximately 20 hours; 7-hour flight to Dubai and 13-hour flight from Dubai to Seattle. As far as I know, there are only two direct flights from Jakarta to Seattle (of course transit is necessary in this long flight, but in this case you don’t have to change airline), which are Eva Air (transit location: Taipei, Taiwan) and Emirates (transit location: Dubai, UAE). After a long flight (and lots of movies) I finally arrived in SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma Airport) on June 22, Seattle time!

I didn’t know much about Seattle and I guess I know Seattle from the first time from Grey’s Anatomy. It is implied from the TV show that Seattle is the city that always rains (this is actually true, I went there and it was raining all the time). In addition, it is also the home of the very first Starbucks in the world. Mostly people go to Seattle not for leisure, but more for study and business purpose. There are many community colleges in Seattle as pathways to renowned universities across USA, not to mention their renowned university, the University of Washington (UDub). Seattle is also the headquarter of Amazon.com and Boeing, the airplane manufacturer.

For the records, Washington (WA) in here and Washington DC (the capital city of USA) are two different things. Washington is the name of the state in which Seattle is located, while Washington DC is correctly spelt as ‘Washington, D.C.’. D.C. does not refer to any state since it is under the jurisdiction of the Congress according to the US Constitution. Seattle, WA is located on the West Coast, while Washington, DC is located on the East Coast. So don’t get mixed up! Hahaha

Here are the highlights during my 3-day trip to Seattle:

Image

The view of Seattle from the bus. You can see lots of ferries on the river. Remember that in Grey’s Anatomy, McDreamy loves to ride ferries (or he refers as ferryboats)? Remember the ferry accident scene on Grey’s Anatomy?

Image

The venue of our performance, ACT Theatre

1. Pike Place Market

Image

Pike Place Market

Image

In front of the first Starbucks in the world!

Image

A fruit stall in Pike Place Market

This is the equivalent to Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne. It is a local market and you can find anything in this place, from jewellery to fresh seafood and handpicked fruits. There are many food stalls in here and it is the home of the very first Starbucks in the world! There is a unique place called ‘The Gum Wall’ where people can actually stick their gum to the wall. It may sound disgusting but it is actually a good place to take pictures and it looks very colourful yet artistic!

2. Downtown Seattle

Image

Downtown Seattle

Image

Seattle dog stall in Downtown Seattle

DSC04586

Enjoying Seattle dog in Westlake Park :p

3. Seattle Centre 

Image

Space Needle, the landmark of Seattle

Image

My USA Dance Trip group in front of the International Fountain. We also did a flashmob here!

Image

If you watch Grey’s Anatomy, you will be familiar with Seattle’s landmark, Space Needle. Yup, Space Needle is located in Seattle Centre. It is actually a big complex dedicated to sports, performing arts, and city landmarks (that is why it is called ‘centre’). Usually, festivals in Seattle are mostly held here as it is the ‘heart’ of Seattle. There are big parks, fountain, arts center, museums, and so on.

I only spent three days in Seattle; first day was the rest day after a long flight, second day was the performance day (Indahnya Nusantara), and third day was leisure time before we headed off to NYC at night. There are lots of Indonesian people in Seattle and do you know that Seattle is the sister city of Surabaya? 😀 (Hence they have Seattle-Surabaya Sister City Association, who invited us to perform in ACT Theatre, Seattle. We are the first Indonesian group to be performed in ACT Theatre!) I actually like the city (because it was summer and other cities were super hot and only Seattle had nice and cool weather. It was 16-17 degrees when I went there) and I found that it was pretty much like Melbourne. It was not too crowded and busy unlike NYC and DC, therefore I realise why people come there to study or do business because the vibe was less tourist-y compared to NYC and DC. I haven’t seen much of Seattle but I do love to come back to explore other places in Seattle!

Tagged , , , , ,

USA Dance Trip 2013 – Behind the Story

49-350x2802

As one of the Srikandi dancer in Destination: Indonesia showcase in North Virginia

I should have posted this first before jumping directly to my ‘New York Minute’ post..but what can I say, pardon my excitement?! I’m just too excited to post about my trip to the city that never sleeps! 😀 hahaha

So in this post I will tell you how I ended up in New York City and other cities in the USA..I can’t believe I can go coast to coast on my very first trip to USA. It was one hell of a moment! The furthest trip I have ever taken was Malaysia (technically it is further compared to Singapore). I always want to go to USA since I was a child. I remember when I was little and my dad was packing his things to go to USA for couple of months and I tucked myself under his luggage and begged him to bring me. It happened when I was 3/4/5 years old. Of course little did I know about USA at that very young age but I didn’t know how it happened, I just wanted to go to USA since that young!

Enough blabbering with my little obsession with USA, let’s proceed to how I can join the trip. I had this lunch with my group of friends one day in late December 2012 and one of my friends who happened to go to the same dance school (Gigi Art of Dance/GAOD) with me told me that there would be an audition for USA Dance Trip. I was aware of that event because apparently last year there was an audition for the same dance trip as well. However, this time was different. Last year was Seattle Dance Trip, this year was USA Dance Trip, which included Seattle, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington DC. Wow, that was dope! That was even coast to coast! From West Coast to East Coast! Then there was a broadcast message on my phone about this news and suddenly I was intrigued with this audition. However, when I looked at the audition date, I was confused because the date was exactly the same with my holiday course in Talk, Inc. I already paid for the course and I could not skip the class so yeah, I did not attend the audition and skipped it. Besides, I would have a lot of things coming in 2013, such as thesis defence, OSCE, and moving to the University of Melbourne. So yeah, I believed I did not have time for rehearsals and summer trip prior to my departure to Melbourne. I skipped the audition and attended my course instead.

Few days after the audition, the results came up. Few of my friends got in! I did not regret about not auditioning because I still believed I did not have time for this. Then another broadcast message popped up. It was for GAOD and they said that there would be the second audition, which would be held on Friday. I was on semester break so I was free on Friday so I could do the audition. Well, at first I wasn’t very intrigued, but a little voice said that I should do that audition, maybe not for the USA Dance Trip but for the other events because the audition was intended for three events (Contact – Singapore, Jakarta Arts Festival, and USA Trip). So I decided to grab the form from the studio. I looked up at the dates of the trip and the rehearsal dates. I opened my academic calendar from my iPad and I realized that I was free on the dates of the trip (20 June – 6 July). Therefore, there should be no problem with the schedule. I did not have to go through the academics coordinator and stuffs to ask for permission. However, there was one concern. My course in the University of Melbourne would commence on July 9. It was impossible for me to arrive in Jakarta on July 6 and flew to Melbourne 1-2 days after and then started my course. How about the visa? Accommodation? But at that time I thought I could handle it so I filled in the form and ticked all the events (with my biggest hope was the USA Trip for sure). The choreography for the audition was not a major concern for me since I just had a dance competition in December so I just used some parts of the choreography for my one-minute solo. It was a fusion between contemporary jazz and traditional dance.

Then there was the audition. It was my first time performing a solo for an audition. There were two people in the room, Miss Gigi and Kak Ii but since the wall of the studio was see-through, people could see from the outside and watch. My audition went pretty well and after that there was the choreography round (if you watch SYTYCD you’ll know what I mean by choreography round). In this round, Miss Gigi gave a short choreography for us to learn and shortly after that we were separated in groups and we had to perform the choreography. There were three genres, hip-hop, contemporary, and traditional. We had to learn and perform all of them and we could not choose between those three genres. We had to do them all. The audition went pretty well as I believed I already did my best for the audition. Then Miss Gigi told me that the results would be up the following day because on there would be an explanation about the trip on the following day as well.

I finished the whole audition process at 12 am and I went to bed afterwards. I woke up and directly opened my Facebook and Twitter account since Miss Gigi said that it would be posted there. And yes, I found my name! (I still have the print-screen version of the announcement!) I told my parents and they were grateful but there were so many questions asked. But I was still curious  about the plan for the trip so I headed to the studio planning to attend my traditional class, then attend the first meeting, and going out with my boyfriend afterwards hahaha 😀

I attended the meeting and wrote the important details about the trip on my notebook. Everything was very well-planned, they even had the name of the hotel and the venue of the performances as well. But I still had that one concern. I love dancing and holiday but as long as they do not interfere with my academic schedules. And so does my parents. They are very concerned about academic schedules so I thought I should talk to Miss Gigi about leaving earlier so I could arrive in Melbourne on time without having to rush anything.

Then I had the talk with Miss Gigi. One thing that I agreed during this conversation was this (the dance trip) was the chance that not everyone could get, and it would not come twice. She also said that she had a lot of plans for this trip based on her experiences and last year’s experiences, she wanted us to learn from the trip and represent Indonesia at the international level. She said that it was also okay to leave earlier. So I talked to my parents. I justified the reason why I wanted to go to this trip so bad and I emphasised on how I put an effort in order to go to USA. I told them that I worked for this opportunity and I was not just a child who asked to go for a holiday with their parents to USA without doing anything. I actually did something that made me go to USA. I told them that it was once in a lifetime opportunity and I believe once I went to the clinical years and even after I graduated from college, I would not encounter an opportunity like this. I told them that the timing was also perfect, I did not have to skip any classes or deal with the head of the module or the academic coordinator to ask for permission. My parents agreed with one condition; this should not interfere my academic schedules or performance and I had to make sure that everything about moving to Melbourne was all set before I depart to USA.

So I started attending the rehearsals every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Rehearsals on Tuesday and Friday started on 6.30 pm until 8 pm (but usually extended until 9) and rehearsals on Saturday and Sunday lasted for 4 hours, starting from 2 pm to 6 pm (and usually extended until 7). Looking at the time frame, I was a little bit afraid that this could affect my academic performance. Therefore I planned a strategy. I made a to-do-list and a timetable. Because of that, I studied almost every day but not on the day that I had rehearsals. I treated rehearsal as a “reward” for studying the whole time. Besides, rehearsals were fun. It was some kind of coping mechanism for stress due to studying the whole time. I started my visa application earlier than everyone else so that I could travel to USA in peace without having to worry about visa application. Luckily prior to my Australian visa application, I already applied for my American visa and most of the documents were fairly the same so I did not have to search for my documents and make a copy of them all over again.

With Miss Gigi and the other dancers after our show in Seattle

With Miss Gigi and the other dancers after our show in Seattle

In the end, everything went well! I passed all my exams this semester without any remedial, even for OSCE! I was super scary about the second OSCE because the standard were higher compared to the first OSCE (OSCE stands for objective structured clinical examination, in which medical students perform a clinical procedure like a real doctor according to a scenario with a time limit. The assessment was pretty strict because you will be assessed thoroughly by a doctor). If you fail in three stations, you will have to undergo another OSCE examination, which means that your departure to Australia will be delayed and have to wait for another intake. This is one of my biggest fear. Imagine you have everything in hand; visa, accommodation, airplane ticket, IELTS, but then you fail your OSCE and you have to wait until the next intake (which means next semester!) to go to Australia. Well, nobody wants that to happen right? Thankfully I passed my OSCE without any remedial. Moreover, I also passed my thesis defence but it was way earlier before the rehearsal started. I passed my IELTS last year so I did not have to worry anything about IELTS and thesis requirement. Well, in conclusion, everything went well and I prove to my parents that dancing did not interfere any of my academic performance. I might say that last semester I had the best academic track records compared to previous semesters (I passed all my exams without any remedial, I passed my thesis defence, and I passed OSCE without any remedial). At the same time, I also had two dancing jobs from FKUI Dance Company in May, which are for Liga Medika’s INAMSC (Indonesia International (bio)Medical Students’ Congress) and Have Fun Go Med. Thankfully I did not have difficulties in adjusting my schedule and all the performances went well 🙂

1011038_10200913178925241_739159585_n

As a villager in Balinese costume in Destination:Indonesia showcase in North Virginia. Excuse my face :”(

The whole process during USA Dance Trip 2013 also gave me a lot of beneficial experiences. First of all, I made a lot of new friends and they were very nice and fun! I barely knew anyone when I first went to the rehearsal but turned out that everyone was very nice and we got along really well, especially my room mates! Secondly, I learned a lot about dance during the whole process. There were four traditional-contemporary dance pieces performed during the trip; Topeng, Srikandi, Drupadi, and Pandawa Lima. I was in Srikandi and Drupadi dance. Familiar with the titles? Yep, the pieces were inspired by the story from Javanese puppets (Wayang), in which Srikandi, Drupadi, and Pandawa Lima are the main characters. In terms of dance technique, I also learned new dance techniques, which were traditional and contemporary at the same time. I also got a chance to play in a musical. I only played a small part (Villager 4) but it was a fun experience. The musical was pre-recorded, so I had to record my lines and I had to match my expression during the musical with my pre-recorded voice. It was a very fun experience!! Because of that, I was in love with musical and right now I am saving my money to watch more musicals! I also gained a lot of confidence during that process. During rehearsals and showcase, only few people were watching but when we were in the USA, there were many people watching, including Indonesian people in USA and also the locals and people from the embassy (even the ambassador himself!). Because of that, I kept telling to myself that I had to be confidence and perform my best on stage. Another highlight was when I finally met and took picture with the ambassador, Dr. Dino Patti Djalal and his wife, who happened to be a dentist and former beauty queen Drg. Rosa Djalal. Both of them were inspirational! I was very grateful to meet both of them. In addition, I also learned about make-up techniques, particularly stage make-up because we had to do our own make-up during the performances. Previously I could not put false eyelashes on, but because of the make-up workshop, I could put on false eyelashes on my own. I also learned how to apply shading and highlight on my face. I also learned the behind-the-scene process of a musical. It was very hectic because some people had to change costumes in few minutes and some characters needed their own props very quickly, and so on.

My crazy yet fun room mates (& Elly) after our last show

My crazy yet fun room mates (& Elly) after our last show

One more story (I can’t stop writing!); I was supposed to go home on the 30th because my course in the University of Melbourne was scheduled to start on the 9th, and then suddenly it moved to 16th, and finally 23th! Thank God I did not have to leave earlier and still had the opportunity to see Washington DC! Moreover, my Australian visa was released during the trip so I did not have to worry about anything regarding my departure. My accommodation in Melbourne was also settled. However, I still had to attend first aid certification prior to my departure and it was scheduled on the 6th of July. I actually asked to leave earlier but there were no ticket left so I stayed and I asked my aunt to make a fake sick letter so that I could join the next session on the 13th of July (exactly one day before my departure). However, I found out that the session on the 6th of July was CANCELLED and rescheduled to next week, which means that I could attend without having to give fake sick letter and fake explanations about how sick I was hahahahahaha!

With Indonesian ambassador Dr. Dino Patti Djalal and wife Drg. Rosa Rai Djalal (and my high school mate RBA)

With Indonesian ambassador Dr. Dino Patti Djalal and wife Drg. Rosa Rai Djalal (and my high school mate RBA)

With two members from FutureShockDC

With two members from FutureShockDC

I must say that I am very thankful of this HUGE opportunity. I learned a lot during the process and I am very grateful to be a part of it 🙂

Several lessons learned:

1. Seize all the opportunities, remember opportunities do not come twice. I was very thankful that I embrace this opportunity and I can go to USA because of something that I love; dance.

2. If there is a will, there is a way. I somehow agreed with the concept of “if you want something, the universe will conspire to get you there” a la Ted Mosby. Well, in my opinion it should be “if you want something so badly, God will conspire to make it happen”. I had several concerns before joining the trip, e.g. my academic performance, my thesis, OSCE, and my departure to Melbourne. But in the end, everything went well without having to sacrifice anything. Thank you God!

3. NEVER PROCRASTINATE! Always start things as early as possible.

4. Make a to-do-list. This is very beneficial for people with tight schedule because we can allocate our time to do things in our schedule. I usually put a tick if I have done something written on my to-do-list so I would not miss anything. This is very beneficial indeed!

My articles about USA Dance Trip in Speak! magazine (Page 1)

My article about USA Dance Trip in Speak! magazine (Page 1)

My articles about USA Dance Trip in Speak! magazine (Page 2)

My article about USA Dance Trip in Speak! magazine (Page 2)

Next I’ll post my highlights in each city during my USA Trip!

See you 🙂

Few videos from the showcases in Seattle and North Virginia:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New York Minute

Hello world! It has been a while since the last time I wrote something in this blog. I had a lot of things going on for the past few months; final exams, basic clinical skills exam, USA Dance Trip, and moving to Melbourne. I even had exactly a week to pack everything since I just arrived from USA and I had to pack everything for a year! What a rush! So my first post in Melbourne is going to be about the city that never sleeps! NEW YORK!

I was in New York for 3 days, starting from June 24 to June 27. It was a 5-hour flight from Seattle and there was a time difference between Seattle and New York (East Coast and West Coast). Although it was a tiring and sleepless flight, I managed to get very ecstatic once I landed in JFK Airport (where are the celebrities????). I could not stop taking pictures once I landed and I could not stop admiring New York ever since. Everything in those movies finally came to life!! I had to pinch myself to make sure that I am not dreaming!!! Actually I got too much to write here but I will cut it short so I’m going to write the highlights of my New York minute! Here are the highlights:

DSC04677

Those giant signages…so New York!

DSC04680

New York Public Library

1. Times Square

DSC04701

Times Square!

Times Square captivated my attention!! It reminded me of my childhood, watching TRL on MTV and seeing the panorama of Times Square. It also reminded me of the New Year’s Eve Celebration in Times Square (as seen on New Year’s Eve movie). The feeling when you first stepped your feet in the middle of Times Square and turned around to see everything is just…indescribable. Lights, buildings, stores, running texts and advertisements…those are just too good to be true…

2. Rockefeller Center

DSC04647

Rockefeller Center Plaza

DSC04651

NBC Experience Store

If you know the TV Show 30 Rock, that’s where the name came from. My favorite places were the flags displayed in the plaza and the NBC Universal Store! Few steps away from Rockefeller Center, you could see the studio when the ‘Today’ show was taped and also Radio City Music Hall! This place is famous during Christmas because there will be a giant Christmas tree displayed there and also an ice skating rink! In NBC Universal Store, you could buy merchandises from all TV shows or movies by NBC/Universal such as Despicable Me (minions!), The Voice, House, Friends, etc. Too bad I haven’t started watching Friends so I skipped their merchandises!

3. Apple Store

DSC04623

Apple Store!

In the city that never sleeps, Apple store also never sleeps. This store opens 24/7! My roommates and I sneaked out of our hotel in Long Island late night to get there by subway :p We arrived pretty late that night but there were many people and the employees were busy talking to customers! The employees were very nice and they are very happy to demonstrate their products if you are interested to buy one. There were Apple products everywhere as well as earphones, USB cables, and many more. Imagine a super big glass house filled with Apple products!!!!!

4. Subways

No, this is not subway the sandwich shop chain, we’re talking about New York City subway! I always love taking public transportation when I travel to a certain country to get the feelings of being a local. Many people said that taking subway is dangerous; there are criminals and the stations are filthy as well. I must say that the stations were not that clean but for a public transport savvy like me, I finally see the real New Yorkers (not that luxury New Yorkers as seen on Gossip Girl or Revenge). Talking about Ugly Betty and How I Met Your Mother! Taking subways can be scary due to the high rate of crimes but it was worth trying!

I’d definitely love to come back to NYC again someday. Too bad that I only spent three days in NYC 😦 definitely going to try electives/summer school/fellowship in NYC someday! Can I get an Amen? ….:)

Tagged , , , , ,
styleandlipstick

Just another WordPress.com site

Young For Good

Beauty and Lifestyle

Aldo's Blog

Pendidikan, Pengabdian Masyarakat dan Penelitian

secondopinionID

Reliability is our number one priority

Advanced International Economics at FEUI

41 curious undergrad econ students and 3 witty lecturers

alectronafelidae

Cahyawardhani and her quest to make her life out of the ordinary