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Story of UNAIR student exploring Canada through IISMA at University of Waterloo

UNAIR student story exploring Canada through IISMA at University of Waterloo 4
UNAIR student story exploring Canada through IISMA at University of Waterloo 3

UNAIR NEWS – The Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology (Kemendikbudristek) is promoting the Emancipated Campus policy to provide opportunities for students to seek knowledge outside their usual higher education. Students can take part in learning at various of the world’s best universities through the Indonesian International Student Mobility Awards (IISMA) program.

One of the Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) students who was awarded with an IISMA scholarship is Syasya Nadia Rahmah. The student of the Faculty of Advanced Technology and Multidiscipline (FTMM) is currently studying at the University of Waterloo, Canada, at the end of December 2023.

Learn and change

Syasya shared her experience attending IISMA with UNAIR NEWS. Her journey from Indonesia took three days, from Surabaya, Jakarta, Incheon, Narita, Montreal and Toronto.

“When we arrived at Waterloo, the campus was quiet, and the weather was freezing. I also experienced a jet lag, my sleep schedule was reversed 180 degrees. A few days later, I participated in various exciting activities for four days in a row,” explained Syasya.

It took her two weeks to adapt upon arrival in Canada. It became an experience full of challenges for the Malang native. Before starting the courses, students are given time to study and understand the material first.

Fall Tree Planting, Syasya took part in planting various trees to support biodiversity and nature on campus. (Photo: Syasya)

The University of Waterloo uses two main approaches in its learning system. Public lectures focus on delivering material directly and are usually attended by 200 to 300 students. On the other hand, tutorials are in small classes designed for in-depth discussion.

“I mostly have morning classes, one to two classes a day. There is one class that finishes around nine in the evening. LEC classes tend to be more relaxed, but I have to keep up so I won’t get left behind. The professors who teach often ask questions and initiate discussions, with content that is not too high context,” explained Syasya.

Explore new places

Syasya is active in various activities at the University of Waterloo. The Nanotechnology Engineering (RN) student participated in Chinese Martial Arts, Skate Club, and several volunteer activities.

“In Waterloo, there are many events or volunteering activities such as being speakers, rallies and gatherings that don’t require registration fees. Apart from participating in campus activities, I often explore the Waterloo area. Here, we use a Watcard (like a StudentID) to travel; for traveling within Waterloo, we use the ION Train and the Free GRT Bus,” she said.

Besides being active in various campus activities, Syasya also enjoys exploring new things. She makes the most of her time to visit new places such as parks, areas that sell food, and even hidden spots that only residents know about.

“In the meantime, I’ve been to Toronto and Niagara Falls. In Toronto, I felt like I was in a movie, with modern skyscrapers and various people gathered in this Canadian metropolis. I’m really happy. The people here are very friendly and kind in providing help during the trip,” said Syasya.

Syasya said students should be brave enough to make decisions and face various obstacles. Confidence, hard work, and studying hard are the keys. (*)

Author: Maissy Ar Maghfiroh

Editor: Binti Q. Masruroh