Published: Jan. 18, 2024

Fall 2023 was CU Boulder’s first semester as a host for the Indonesian International Student Mobility Awards (IISMA), through which the Indonesian government provides study abroad opportunities for undergraduate students. We look forward to hosting another group in fall 2024. Two of the 2023 cohort wrote about their experiences. 

What Is It Like Being an International Student at CU Boulder

by Driyan Ayu Bulan

            I was ecstatic the first time I knew I got a scholarship from Indonesia’s Ministry of Education called the Indonesian International Student Mobility Awards (IISMA) to study abroad at the University of Colorado Boulder. I still remember clearly how I got goosebumps only by imagining how my life would turn once I arrived at my host university. The experience turned out to be even better than my expectations!

            Growing up, English is not my first language. When I first came here, I was not confident in speaking English. However, I am grateful to be surrounded by supportive people from CU Boulder, especially the International English Center, who have always been there to help me and my friends. Moreover, the fact that everyone here is very welcome makes it easier for us to adapt. All my professors and classmates are very supportive and helpful during the class. They are very open to help me whenever I find learning difficulties. What I love the most is that the professors always give us feedback on our assignments, no matter how small the credit is.

            During my study period, my scholarship friends and I held an Indonesian event to introduce Indonesian culture to our local friends. We are thankful to the IEC and Center for Asian Studies (CAS) at CU Boulder that they supported us throughout the event. It was a challenging yet unique experience to host a vast event representing our home country, Indonesia. I performed Balinese traditional dance and received overwhelmingly great feedback from everyone there, something I would never have imagined would happen. Moreover, our event was the first day of snow in Colorado, also the first snow of my life.

            Overall, my study abroad experience at CU Boulder is adventurous and exciting. Now that the study period is over, I cannot describe how emotional I am knowing that I am leaving this beautiful town of Boulder very soon. However, I would return here after pursuing my other dreams with the experiences I have had here. Despite all the challenges I faced here, studying at CU Boulder is an experience I will forever cherish because it helped me grow into who I am today.

By Fadllur Rahmani

As an art and design student from Institut Teknologi Bandung in Indonesia, my venture to University of Colorado Boulder has been an enriching blend of academic rigor and creative exploration. CU Boulder has become my canvas for not only honing my visual communication design skills, but also for painting vibrant memories that will last a lifetime. From the outset, I was determined to strike a balance between academic excellence and the thrill of experiencing life in a new country. I recognized the importance of nurturing my creative thinking and skills, an integral aspect of education that thrives on exposure to new and diverse experiences.

CU Boulder has proven to be the ideal playground for a student like me, offering a plethora of exciting creative activities and clubs. Among these, the "Painting Pals" club stands out as a kaleidoscope of diversity, where individuals from various backgrounds converge with a shared passion for painting. The club not only serves as a platform for artistic expression but also as a sanctuary for stress relief, ensuring a balanced state of mental health amid academic pressures.

The university's commitment to fostering creativity extends beyond the canvas, with events like "Buff Nites," "DIY Night," "Game Day," and "Buff After Dark" offering opportunities for critical discussions about art and the collaborative production of creative works. Whether creating paintings, moss art, handmade rugs, friendship bracelets, or posters, each endeavor contributes to the enhancement of creativity and the refinement of artistic skills.

Moreover, CU Boulder provides avenues for community engagement and cultural exploration. Volunteering at Senior Living communities, attending art exhibitions, and participating in Visiting Artist Lectures have significantly deepened my understanding of visual communication design. These experiences not only exposed me to new perspectives but also allowed me to forge meaningful connections and friendships that transcend borders and cultures. Studying at the International English Center (IEC) further broadened my horizons, as it serves as a hub for international students, providing a diverse and enriching environment that fosters global relationships.

In conclusion, my time at CU Boulder has been a transformative journey, imparting invaluable lessons that reach far beyond the confines of textbooks and lecture halls. I've honed creative thinking, embraced authenticity, engaged in cultural exchanges, and developed a strong work ethic. The friendships and connections forged during my studies have created a global network of support and understanding.

Studying abroad is not just about academics; it's a holistic experience that enriches life in unexpected ways. CU Boulder has been my sanctuary for artistic growth, academic enrichment, and the cultivation of a global perspective. As I reflect on my extraordinary journey, I am immensely grateful for the treasures I've gathered and the person I've become. Education, after all, is not confined to the classroom, and the most profound lessons are often learned outside of it.