A lot of change from 2 hours difference

Bina Antarbudaya
4 min readFeb 15, 2024

Nabila Putri Andini–INA AKP to JPN YP 22/23

“Buk, Bila mau ikut pertukaran pelajar ke Amerika!”(re: Mom, I want to go to the United States for an exchange program !) said a girl in a simple house in the Indonesian countryside.

If you think it’s a part of a story from a successful public figure, no it’s not. That girl who said want to go to the United States was me. Yepp, me! Nabila is here, and that dialogue is the beginning of my exchange journey.

(Nabila Putri Andini from Magelang, Indonesia. Asia Kakehashi Project 5th Batch)

Hello everyone! I’m Bila, but I decided ‘Bia’ as my nickname in Japan because there’s no L letter in Japanese Moji. I was born into a simple family where none of the family members had ever traveled abroad. And that motivated me to try harder to go abroad. It started when I was in 9th grade, I finished my online classes and opened social media apps to refresh my brain. And damn! I found out about a fully funded scholarship for an exchange program to the United States. At that time with fully confidently I said, “Buk, Bila mau ikut pertukaran pelajar ke Amerika!!” (re: “Mom, I want to go to the United States for an exchange program!!”) Yeah, you already read it at the beginning of this story. That was my dialog with my mom, and do you know guys what she said? She said, “No.” ONLY NO. So, I asked her the reason why she said no for my wishes. And she reasoned, “America is hot, it’s far too”.

But because I really wanted to go to America, so when the scholarship opened for applications, I applied to the America’s scholarships without telling my mom. I know, it’s very bad manners but I thought I should do that. And before that, I asked my mom about another scholarship which is to go to Japan. She agrees with that. So, I applied for 2 scholarships at once. I waited around 5 months until the announcement day came, (dungdungdungdungdung /drum sound) and can you guess what happened? The election for America’s scholarship was unsuccessful but I got the scholarship to go to Japan. I really felt sad at that time, but also felt grateful to be able to go to Japan. Which turned out to make a lot of changes in my life.

Before participating in the Asia Kakehashi Project, I was always afraid of failure, and I was very uneasy about the future of my life. But because my Japanese exchange journey was created because of a failure. So now I am no longer afraid of failure. I think failure is the one step to success. After experiencing many things in Japan, for example in Kyudo or Japanese Archery. Not all arrows go to the target when shooting, right? It’s the same with life, not all of our wishes can be realized.

(Me in Kyudo Club)

The most important thing is that we try to change ourselves in a better direction. Focus on the process of self-development, go without being indifferent to the pace of others. Everyone has their own trajectory, never be jealous or compare your own achievements with others. Never think of them as opponents or rivals. Make them your motivation to keep growing, to be even better. Keep trying and don’t give up to change for the better.

And I can get that lesson because I met people who support me to develop myself. And they are my friends in class 1–1 or 一年一組 (re: ichi nen ichi kumi)!! They always support me to do something that can be a development for me. Not infrequently they also forbid me to do something that is less useful or too draining. They really take good care of me even though they are busy with their own life. I really feel lucky to have met them ❤

(Annoying photos with my classmates)

@nabilandin_ at Instagram

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Bina Antarbudaya

The Indonesian Foundation for Intercultural Learning Official Partner of AFS Programs