The girl who fell in love with Indonesia


HER name is Hadeel Hani S. Tayeb. She was born in Jeddah 1995. She pursued her education all the way from kindergarten through university in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She graduated in law at the Dar Al-Hekma University, a leading private, non-profit, higher education institution for young women in Saudi Arabia. Now, she works in the legal department of a real estate company in Jeddah.

Born and raised in an open-minded family, the 23-year-old girl had engaged in numerous experiences ranging from extra-class youth programs to volunteering and skills upgrading programs both inside and outside the Kingdom. Indeed, she makes the best of every single chance to enrich her life.

She has also been fortunate as a Saudi girl to be able to explore parts of the globe, meet people and taste different cultures. “At least nine countries I have visited, from Europe to America, Africa and Asia,” she said one day in an interview with the Media Team from the Indonesian Consulate General in Jeddah.

Her Heart Hooks on Indonesia

Of several countries she has traveled, her adventure brought her to enjoy the world’s largest archipelago: Indonesia, which she visited for the first time in October 2016. That was when she was joining a weeklong world cultural forum in Bali.

“From that trip on, I fell in love with Indonesian culture, hospitality of its people and the language, really,” she said.

Before she went to Indonesia, all she knew about it was its pilgrims. In her eyes, Indonesian pilgrims were well organized. She really likes the pilgrims from Indonesia and Malaysia.

Hadeel admitted she was very much captivated by Indonesia’s countless natural wonders, gorgeous long beaches, tropical climate, rich cultural heritage, as well as magnetic friendliness and politeness of its people. She has visited several parts of the country, including major cities of Jakarta, Surabaya, Malang and Bandung, as well as other tourist hotspots like Bali.

“I enjoy nature. Indonesia is really natural. In one country, I would go to a museum to see the culture of that country. You would go to parks to enjoy the greenery. However, in Indonesia, you can simply go into the jungle. You can uh... just explore the cities and villages, you would really taste the culture of that city, rather than going to a museum. This is what I mostly like, honestly,” she explained.

In her eyes, Indonesia is a mixture of nature, modernity and simplicity, with its culture stressing on generosity, cleanliness and hospitality. “Indonesians by nature are very hospitable to everyone coming to their country.”

She said she dreamed of having more time to explore this world’s fourth most populated country, as she felt a month was never enough to learn about Indonesia.

To chase her dream, she searched for an opportunity on the Internet and signed up for any program offered by an institution which allowed her to learn more about Indonesia. Her efforts paid off when the State University of Malang, East Java, approved her application and welcomed her aboard UM iCamp held in August 2017.

As she was aware that opportunity may not knock on everyone’s door, she grabbed the offer and joined the program. She believed that when one got an opportunity, one should make the best of it and live it to fullest. “I wanted a year off from all the headaches. I just finished my university. I wanted uh...,like a break,” continued Hadeel.

UM iCamp, she took part in, is an intensive program consisting of classroom sessions, socio-cultural sessions, and field trips to cultural and historical venues. Through the sessions, participants are expected to better understand the dynamic aspects of Indonesian society in the past, present, and future.

The one-week program gave her a chance of making field trips to cultural and historical venues and premier tourist destinations in East Java including mountain, like the iconic Mount Bromo which is famous for its stunning beauty of landscape and majestic sunrise as well as fascinating cultural attraction: The Yadnya Kasada (or more popularly known as Kesodo).

“I love languages. I like the culture, the people. It’s really diverse. It caught my interest,” she went on.

To explore Indonesia is never enough

Like she said earlier, a month is not enough to learn about Indonesia, home to numerous different ethnic groups, languages and religions. Despite its diversity, a common language and the national motto of ‘Unity in Diversity’ help to bind the 17,500 islands and their inhabitants together.

As she has her heart set on exploring the country of the largest Muslim population in the world, Hadeel made another attempt by searching more from online and offline information for an opportunity to stay longer in Indonesia. She finally found Darmasiswa scholarship was the answer.

Darmasiswa is a scholarship program offered to all foreign students from countries, which have diplomatic relations with Indonesia, to study Bahasa, art and culture. Participants can select one of designated higher institutions across the archipelago to study their preferred field and learn more about the Indonesian culture. This program is organized by the Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC) in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

The main purpose of the Darmasiswa program is to promote and increase the interest in the language and culture of Indonesia among the youth of other countries. It has also been designed to provide stronger cultural links and understanding among participating countries.

Learning she was qualified for the Darmasiswa, she soon completed all the required documents and applied for that one-year long program. Not long after that, her application was approved.

In preparation for takeoff, she has applied for the visa at the Indonesian Consulate. She is scheduled to depart for Indonesia some time by the end of this August and land in Semarang, Central Java, where she is going to spend a whole year joining the program in a private university with other candidates of other countries. She has selected the study of traditional medicine. “It’s my interest,” she answered briefly.

By the end of the program, she hopes to be able to contribute to cementing the bilateral relations between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, especially in the youth levels.

“I am going to deliver how the Saudi culture is. And hopefully, I might be filming full videos on the Indonesian cultures in order to change how the Saudi community shift their perspectives, and how they view the Indonesian community,” she concluded the interview.