Purnama“You have to go to the other planet!” Those are the words spoken by my colleague to me when he knew that I was accepted to study my doctoral degree in Malaysia few months ago; as a courteous response of his disagreement if I study in that country. And now, his words come true! Yes, I’m now living in the other planet named JAPAN! Maybe the words he said few months ago was a “doa” (words of worship) for me. Only Alloh knows.

Kyushu University, one of the best universities in Japan, and even in the world, is the place for pursuing my doctoral degree in engineering. I had never realized that I would study in the “country of the other planet”. This opportunity just came to me easily and smoothly, not as difficult as most of my friends experienced to get a scholarship to study there. This journey was started few months ago when a friend of mine who is my colleague from Geology Department UGM, who at that time was a research associate in the Department of Earth Resources and Engineering, Kyushu University, sent email to two of my colleagues at my Department, informing that there were some scholarship for international students to study for PhD in Faculty of Engineering. The email was actually also intended for me, but because my colleague from Dept Geology UGM did not know my email address, he asked my two colleagues for help to forward the email to me. Based on this information, I then tried to search the potential supervisor in the Faculty of Engineering, University, who has the same interest in research area. From the University website, I found that Environmental Geo-Technology Lab, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, is the most suitable lab for me, with one of the research areas is Geographic Information Science. I then contacted Prof Tetsuro Esaki, the head of the laboratory, through email attached with my CV and proposed research outline, confirming my intention to study. Few days later, he responded my email, telling me that I was put as the highly ranked candidate against the other candidates from other countries such as China, Bangladesh, and Nepal as well as Indonesia.

Few months later, I met my Dept Geology colleague (he at that time was a HiLink Research Project official who supervises my department project funded by JICA) in my office. He congratulated me for my successful achievement in getting the Monbusho scholarship. I always remember his words. He says, getting a Japanese scholarship are very difficult for most people. But either way, it is seems so easy for some people.

Indeed, I feel my way to go to “the other planet” was very easy. Alhamdulillah, all the praise only goes to Alloh, my GOD, my KING, my GUARDIAN, my GUIDANCE. And thanks to my beloved wife who finally agree with my decision to study in “the other planet”.