Saturday, 29 April 2017

Study in Sweden: Admission Story

No, I am not going to study master degree in Sweden this year.
If you are all curious.

I have this thing with my dream, that if I want something, I fight for it. Fight so hard.
I set specific condition of milieu around me, to motivate me all the time. For instance, I change my phone wallpaper, showing Haga Nygata street, as I dream to walk down there and take a deep breath and take in the odor of  the old stones. I set the Accu Weather app to report weather in Gothenburg daily, and get fascinated on how come it is sunny with 2 degree Celcius temperature. Or, sometimes when it gets to -3 degree Celcius, I wonder, how people live there, and I wonder whether we can stay young a little bit longer if we live there, like vegetables and fruits that we put in our fridge.

What I love the most about Scandinavian countries is the interior design (Oh that mute colours and that fluffy snugly blanket on the sofa and that abundant space to breathe). When I got my S.Ars. (Bachelor of Architecture) degree, I graduated with this passion of children space. My undergraduate thesis was about shopping mall as child friendly space, and did the survey mostly by observing (stalking) how children perceive and react to interior space in the mall (how they do silly things), and study interior elements with danger potential towards children. It is remarkable how children's imagination is, as they have thousands way to act towards a simple chair, while adults would only just sit on it.

I then found this program:

Child Culture Design, MFA (Master of Fine Arts), in School of Design and Crafts (HDK) University of Gothenburg through

and I was obsessed.

Actually there are A LOT of interesting and unique master programs abroad. I then found Business & Design, MA (Master of Arts), also in HDK University of Gothenburg, which I need for the future of Hana Aisha. My recommendation to browse university and programs is through and

In Sweden, university enrollment is done through, so we don't apply directly to the university. We create an account here, and then we can start to apply. You can log in and log out anytime and save the progress, until the closing date. To enroll, Indonesian citizens have to pay 900 SEK, and by that amount of money, we can apply to maximum four programs. It is important to also rank the programs from one to four according to which one you wish the most. We can choose programs from the same and/or different universities in Sweden.

Most Master Degree programs are started in Autumn (late August or early September), and the enrollment begin from October (previous year) to January. For the details of this year's key dates, please visit here. Besides, only master programs started in Autumn are eligible for Swedish Institute Study Scholarship. For further information of eligibility criteria of SISS and how to apply, please study here.

Applying for university and for scholarship are different thing. For SISS, the application portal is and we don't have to pay at all. However, we must first make application in because we are asked to write our application number in the SISS form.

Now back to the university admission story.
Through portal, we upload the documents needed. You can study the general requirements here, including English Language Requirements test score needed. To be noted, once a document is uploaded, you can not delete or change it. Please be careful.

I applied to two programs, Child Culture Design (as I mentioned earlier), and Business & Design (for the future of Hana Aisha):

Taking care of the admission documents, preparing them, uploading them, can be really difficult.
Please start doing this as far as possible from the closing dates of enrollment.
These are the general documents I had to upload to apply to Child Culture Design and Business & Design Program.

Besides those general documents, there are also specific documents depend on the program. To see this, you have to visit the university website. They have specific requirements, documents, and selection tasks, for example: design portfolio. Plus, each programs may also have different criteria of portfolio, for example: 

taken from here and here.

According to the information in the university website,, my portfolio have to be submitted digitally to their DAP system, not through So basically, you should follow the instructions. Some other programs need Reference Letter, Personal Statement, etc that you have to upload through or through their own system. Just follow the instructions, and just embrace that different programs have different instructions. To be also noted, you should not upload documents that they do not ask for.

On the late of March, close to the first selection announcement date, I opened my account in and Alhamdulillah I am qualified for both programs. Qualified means that I meet the entry requirements and I am eligible for the program, but this doesn't mean that I am admitted. There are further selections, especially for the portfolio. The university will then rank the applicants based on their qualifications, and admit those with highest ranks, according to the quota available for the program.

On the announcement day, sadly my status was Conditionally placed on Reserve (Waiting List), number 4 for Child Culture Design, and number 27 for Business & Design. I have to answer Yes or No, whether to keep the place or not.

There are applicants that have been Admitted, and they also have to answer to Yes or No. As I am Waiting List number 4, if four people answer No, their places will become available and I can take a place. Please note that answering this also has a deadline. You have to reply Yes to keep the place.

One month later, at the end of April, I got an email saying that I have been offered a place in Child Culture Design.  

Unfortunately, I can't accept this offer because I don't get the SISS Scholarship. There are two steps of selection and I already passed the first selection, plus submitted the documents needed for the second selection. However, SISS Scholarship is only eligible for applicants who are Admitted in the first announcement, not Placed on Reserve or Waiting List like me. I personally think, that is also how they select the best candidate for the scholarship. 

Was I sad? Yes. I cried a river, once I was Placed on Reserve, because I already knew that I am not studying in Sweden without scholarship. Though I think that's how Allah tells me He already had better plan. 

Didn't I have backup plan? Yes, I planned to apply LPDP, first intake, but that was not happening.. I thought LPDP this year (2017) will be the same with last year (four intakes throughout the year). Then it turned out that this year, LPDP only open one single intake, and only for those who study abroad in 2018 (next year). 

If I accept the Child Culture Design offer, I have to pay the first installment of tuition fee by June 2017 and I find no way to make it. 

I learned a lot from this experience. To be not in rush, to be patient, to be persistent, to fight for the best but let Allah do the rest, and to believe that this is just a closing door while other doors are opening. 

I am ready to be obsessed to another country, another program, and another life plan. Through SISS application form, I was forced to write out clearly about my vision, my dream, why I deserved the scholarship, and that was the first time I was told to do so, like mapping myself and my life ahead. In this quarter life crisis phase (being 22 y.o, even Taylor Swift has the song for it), I am still in the process of finding myself and my dream.

"I enjoy the pursuit of my dream so much that even if I fail, I will consider my life to have been well spent." - taken from "Put Your Dream to The Test" Book by John. C. Maxwell.

Yes, ayugina, these previous months have been well spent (: