By Christina Mega Putri Komar
As a nonimmigrant visa holder in the United States of America and as an international student in a country with a distinct culture and educational system is both a struggle and a fascinating experience. Studying and experiencing lifelong learning in two different parts of the world has opened my eyes and mind to be more broad-minded and opened me up to welcome developments in the world today in many aspects.
Recalling my childhood with limited access to educational facilities in a remote area in Eastern Indonesia, my journey to study at the College of Social Science and Humanities (CSSH) Northeastern University has been a long story that will never be entirely told.
When I was in high school, I still remember how difficult I found a book to read and could not afford to buy it. Economic limitations push me to hold all my desire and plan, to do whatever I can without spending money on it. As a result, I got limited access to new information, technology, and good education.
Finishing my undergraduate in 2014 at Institut Pemerintahan Dalam Negeri, a scholarship from the Indonesian Government, I experienced diversity when I spent almost four years with friends from many parts of Indonesia, representatives of each province. Respecting different religions, cultures, behaviors, and ethnicity posed diversity acknowledgment.
However, equity’s perspective in education for a woman is still segregated by some people. As a married woman and a mom of two children in a patriarchal environment, there was a lot of debate over my decision to pursue a master’s degree at CSSH, Northeastern University. Some people’s perspective about a woman, particularly married women, is regarding households, family, and looking after children, while men are all about working and earning money. They consider completing her bachelor’s degree sufficient for a woman’s educational experience. As a first generation, I break down boundaries and narrow-minded views of these people. My experience proves a female can create her own family, a wife can get a proper job, and a mom can educate herself in the high-level educational system. Everyone deserves to experience and study at any level of education, regardless of gender, age, and race.
When I arrived at the class, I felt a warm embrace reflecting diversity, equity, and inclusion. I found an inclusive value as an international student and received a warm welcome from the CSSH communities. Professor’s roles are not only as a lecturer but also as an advisor and friend for class members, regardless of where we come from. During office hours, which are provided weekly, either in person or virtually, I am not only asking about class but also suggestions, advice, and any experiences my professor has.
I reflect on myself as a woman with a big dream who never gives up. Whatever plan is dreamed of, with intention and effort, it will undoubtedly be achieved. I want to persuade others, particularly women who are already married and have children, that this new role is not a barrier to dreaming and making things happen. Also, I love to let people know that my current achievements result from a thousand endeavors I have been taking. I can do it, and so can you!
Christina Mega Putri Komar (she/her/hers) is a low-income, first-generation graduate student who grew up in Kefamenanu, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Eastern part of Indonesia. In 2014, after finishing a Bachelor’s in a government institute in Indonesia (Institut Pemerintahan Dalam Negeri), she has worked as a government employee in her province for almost a decade. Awarded a scholarship from the Indonesian Government to study abroad at Northeastern University in August 2021, she is now in her final semester pursuing a master’s in public administration. She will potentially return to Indonesia after graduation in May 2023, continuing her position as a Financial Data Processor at the Financial Office of Nusa Tenggara Timur Province, Indonesia. She is thrilled to contribute the knowledge, skills, and experience she gained from the CSSH – Northeastern University in her future career.