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Finding My Home Away From Home as an Indonesian Student at Queen's

Indonesian student Fioreinz writes about her experience with INTO Queen's and how she has managed the transition to life in Belfast.

Three students walking in front of the Lanyon

If someone had told me two years ago that I’d be living in a country 12,020 kilometres away from home, I would surely not believe it. I’m the kind of person who cherishes my comfort zone and being close to my loved ones, so the idea of studying in an unfamiliar place was never my top choice. Yet, my journey here at Queen’s has proven that the feeling of “home” is not always about place.

INTO Queen’s

My name is Fioreinz, and it’s been 2 years since I first set foot in Belfast, a place I had never been before, and knew very little about. When I first moved here, I was an under-18 student with no prior experience in studying abroad.

I didn’t have many expectations; my plan was simply to complete my foundation degree and continue my studies at a reputable university. I took my foundation degree in Business Humanities and Social Sciences at INTO Queen’s, the partner institution of Queen’s University Belfast, and the support I received from both INTO Queen’s and Queen’s last year was nothing short of wonderful.

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This played a significant role in my decision to continue my bachelor’s degree here at Queen’s. I’m currently studying Business Information Technology and have recently finished the first semester of my first year.  

Welcome and Orientation experience

As an Indonesian, Queen’s University Belfast provided an incredibly welcoming environment from the beginning of my educational journey. The university has a dedicated representative team in Indonesia that assisted me during my pre-departure by providing essential information about registration and helped me to prepare what I needed to bring to Belfast.

"The support I received from both INTO Queen’s and Queen’s last year was nothing short of wonderful."

Additionally, Indonesian students studying in Queen’s are eligible for International Office Undergraduate Scholarships upon registration, which I personally feel is very beneficial.

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In Belfast, we also have a growing Indonesian Society called PPI Belfast that’s run by fellow Indonesian students, mostly Queen’s students. The society is very active and welcoming and holds events throughout the year. The biggest one is ARTINDO, an event where Indonesian students can showcase their talents. I’m currently part a part of the society committee and I can say that having people that share the same experience and struggles really helps with adapting, as well as homesickness.

Life in Belfast

Talking about homesickness, staying in touch with my parent back home is sometimes challenging due to the 6–7-hour difference (the clock goes back 1 hour during the winter as it changes the time zone).

However, I’m grateful that unlike most schools in Indonesia that start at 7am, most classes here start at 9am, so mornings can be a good time to catch up with my family. Another challenge that I have encountered during my time here is missing Indonesian food. Honestly, Belfast has various delicious restaurants, from simple avocado and toast to all you can eat hot pot.

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However, there’s no place in particular that sells traditional Indonesian cuisine which I usually crave. Thankfully, Belfast is a diverse city that has several international grocery stores. This makes it possible for me to recreate Indonesian dishes here with the help of my mom’s recipes or online recipes, it’s like bringing a piece of home to Belfast!

In essence, Queen's has become more than just an educational institution for me; it's a hub of connections, friendships, and a celebration of global perspectives. The university's commitment to providing a supportive environment has made my experience here not just about gaining knowledge but about growing as an individual in a welcoming and inclusive community. Queen's, with its friendly and open-hearted approach, truly feels like a home away from home.

Find out more

Indonesian students: Admissions guide

Student life in Belfast

Welcome and Orientation at Queen's

More blogs by Indonesian students at Queen's

Fioreinz Renata Sandjaja

Business Information Technology  | Undergraduate student | Indonesia

Hi! My name is Fioreinz, I’m from Indonesia. I’m currently in first year of Business Information Technology. I like to travel and watch movies, feel free to contact me if you have any queries, or even just an informal chat!

Fioreinz Sandjaja