Australia Awards in Indonesia

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A headshot picture of Putri Rizki Yulianti, an Australia Awards Split-Site Master Program alumna

18 Oct 2022

Beyond a Degree: Putri Rizki Yulianti Credits Split-Site Masters Scholarship Program as Source of Resilience

Studying at two reputable universities in different countries offers an incredible opportunity of immersing oneself in another culture, create memorable experiences, and develop useful skills for the future. This is something that Australia Awards alumna Putri Rizki Yulianti can vouch for, having graduated from this one-of-a-kind scholarship program.

“I hold a dual degree and graduated from two reputable universities [in the world],” she said. “My career has especially benefited from the Australia Awards Scholarships. The knowledge I’ve gained and the Master’s degree made it easier for me to get a promotion.”

The journey began when Putri joined the Fiscal Policy Agency (FPA) at the Indonesian Ministry of Finance in 2010, after working as an assistant lecturer at the University of Indonesia’s Faculty of Economics and Business, where she obtained her undergraduate degree. The job at the Ministry made her delve into the real world, having to analyse and help create the model of economic growth projection.

“I encountered things that were not mentioned in the textbooks,” Putri said. “I was forced to have a good grasp on numerous data, discussing them with senior colleagues and experts at the office. It has led me and my team to come up with more accurate projected growth rates.”

In late 2012, she received an Australia Awards Scholarship for the Split-Site Masters Program to undertake a master’s in Economics at both the University of Indonesia and the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra.

“I was drawn to the program because it means studying at two respectable universities at a time and the subject is relevant to my educational and career background,” she said, adding that the transition between two universities was smooth as she received immense help in the study preparation.

The program is created to help students in preparing for courses in another country, whose language and culture differ from their own. In the first year of study at the University of Indonesia, students will learn about various research methods and academic writing styles, as well as taking an intensive language course. This is in addition to the academic course that provides the basic materials of the master’s studies as a solid base for a more advanced course in Australia.    

Putri reiterated how the courses proved to be incredibly beneficial to her job. “The discipline and the strategy to survive so many lectures, assignments, and tests, shaped my endurance, well-being, and determination as I returned to my job,” said Putri.

Great Support System

Studying in a foreign country and leaving behind her husband and her then-one-year-old child, Putri was extremely grateful for the full support of her extended family.

“My housemates and fellow students in the scholarship program became my closest family during my time in Canberra, helping me with the courses and my daily life,” she reminisced. “I also received enormous support from the lecturers and the Australia Awards Scholarships staff.”

Following her graduation, she was promoted to become the analyst at the FPA’s International Economics and Investor Relations Unit, and her civil servant rank was raised to echelon IV. Along with the promotion, however, came the increased challenges of being a frontline of the Ministry of Finance.

“As we provide service to the investors, I have to master fiscal and macroeconomics issues while at the same time learning about good public communication. The job became even more challenging with the COVID-19 pandemic, as there was an urgency to inform investors about fiscal policies in a more comprehensive manner,” Putri said.    

She rose to the challenges and contributed to the recent formulation of the country’s fiscal policies. “The sovereign credit rating dynamics added to the complexity during the pandemic, as the increased fiscal stimulus caused budget deficits and debt to grow in almost every country. These prompted rating agencies to downgrade some countries’ sovereign credit ratings, but Indonesia was excluded. This was quite a feat,” she said.

With a demanding line of work, Putri credited her experience at the Australian National University, which is often regarded as the best university in Australia, as the main source of her resilience and grit.

“It required a high level of endurance to keep up with the studying pace. Since the beginning of my education in Australia, I trained myself to be diligent and to persevere amid multiple assignments and difficult tests. In time, it made me prepared to face anything,” she said.  

Putri is aspired to acquire more knowledge and achieve more in her career by pursuing higher education. “I hope to get a doctoral degree and Australia is my main goal. I am now preparing for my research proposal,” she said.

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