Yuli Astiana

Country: Indonesia
Degrees: Doctor of Philosophy

Meet Yuli, a PhD student who has recently returned to Adelaide. Yuli travelled to Indonesia in February of 2020, with her young daughter. Within a week of arriving, the pandemic hit and borders closed, which meant that Yuli and her daughter ended up spending 22 months away from home instead of the planned 2 months.

After months of keeping an eye on the government websites, Yuli saw the announcement that international students can return to Adelaide in December and quickly booked her flights back home. We recently spoke with Yuli and asked her about the journey to Adelaide and what she is most looking forward to doing now that she is finally here.

Why did you choose your degree?
I am passionate about research. I think doing a PhD will create an alignment with my passion to be a researcher.

Why did you choose the University of Adelaide?
First, I did my master’s degree at the University of Adelaide because of its course compositions. Later, I found the University learning environment had "positive vibes" and  I was excited to learn. I love every single class that I have already attended, my supervisors are great, and I find the university facilities have everything I need for my studies. Also, the student support services are extraordinary!

What are you enjoying most about your degree?
I love my research topic, especially working with world-class supervisors. They have given me endless support during my difficult time. I love the CaRST Program that (before the pandemic) has become a space to get in touch and share insights with cross-disciplinary students.

Tell us about your journey back to campus.
I have been overseas since February 2020. I went to Indonesia as part of my doctoral data collection with my 2 years daughter while my husband stayed in Adelaide for his work. I intended to stay for one or two months but just a week after our arrival the pandemic hit the entire world and the border closed!

I continued my studies online despite the difficulties of learning a new study style and being separated from my husband. My daughter and I were unable to obtain a travel exemption from the government during this time. I was regularly checking government websites for travel updates, reading verified news articles and following national figures’ social media to watch their live updates. They are the most credible source of information. Until one day, I watched the Australian Prime Minister's live update to welcome back international students! Finally, after 22 months of waiting, the day had finally come. Even though there was a bit of disappointment earlier when the opening was moved back due to the new variant.

With my flight booked, I received guidance from my principal supervisor on what to do at the airport (since she had just arrived in Adelaide from interstate), she helped a lot! It took 30 hours for us to touch down in Adelaide with three flights. During one of our stopovers, my daughter spent 7 hours at Changi Airport. Luckily, she had no complaints and slept calmly because we were going to meet Dad!

Our journey to Adelaide ran perfectly. After taking our PCR Tests on arrival, my husband approached the pickup point. It was a bit awkward at first as my daughter was frozen with a flat face for several minutes. Later she told us, “I am a bit shy” (she's 4 years old). I realise now that the nearly 2 years of separation was just insane! But seeing each other now feels just like we met yesterday... Then we had a little "staycation" by quarantining* at home together for 7 days. Yay! 

*Please note that quarantine requirements have been removed since this interview. For the most up to date information, please visit the Travelling to Australia website. 

Why is it important for you to have an on-campus experience in Adelaide?
The learning vibes on campus in Adelaide are so different compared to online studies. Especially in terms of access to supervisors, library, study spaces, and other supporting facilities. Also, Adelaide is a lovely city. There are so many on-campus destinations to escape to when study gets too much, all just a short walk across the uni lawns!

What are you most looking forward to doing now that you are in Adelaide?
Walking around the university, visiting the beaches and surrounding suburbs in Adelaide. I miss every single spot! But laying down on the lawns at Goodman Crescent (North Terrace campus) under the jacarandas blooms is what I want to do most!

Who are you most looking forward to catching up with and why?
My husband (for sure!), my supervisors, and my fellow students!

Yuli is just one of our vibrant international community members here at the University of Adelaide. If you’re looking to start your studies in Australia but don’t know where to start, visit our Travelling to Australia page or get in touch with our Future Student Team.