Contributor: Kante Hamed | Editor: Supriyono
UIII, EDINBURGH - Naura Safira Salsabila Zain, our master's student in Islamic studies, recently undertook a transformative academic journey at the University of Edinburgh, the United Kingdom. This opportunity was made possible through her selection as a MOSMA awardee, an initiative that exemplifies the commitment of UIII and its partners to global educational prospects.
MOSMA stands for MORA Overseas Student Mobility Awards initiated by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and is part of the Merdeka Curriculum implementation through a physical mobility program which provides opportunities for students to study at foreign universities.
"Being chosen as a MOSMA scholar to study in the United Kingdom for a semester was a distinct honor. The MORA Overseas Student Mobility Awards, a collaborative endeavor of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the LPDP, extends beyond offering study opportunities in the UK. It also supports educational pursuits in the US, Middle East, and South East Asian countries,” Naura expressed.
This scholarship, she noted, embodies a comprehensive approach, enabling students to align their international studies with their specific academic interests and aspirations.
Her choice to study at the University of Edinburgh was the realization of a long-cherished aspiration. Naura expressed her admiration for the institution, saying, "The University of Edinburgh has always been my dream university, not just for its esteemed academic standing but also because Edinburgh ranks among the world's most beautiful cities." Her experiences at the university encompassed a diverse range of social, cultural, and academic activities.
Naura's social and cultural experiences in Edinburgh were particularly transformative. "Learning to be a part of minority communities was invaluable for gaining a new perspective, as I had always been part of the majority in my home country," she explained. This aspect of her experience was crucial in enhancing her communication skills and ability to interact effectively with people from various cultural backgrounds.
Immersing herself in the local Scottish culture was a significant facet of Naura's experience. "I engaged deeply with the local culture, sampling new foods, exploring historical sites, and participating in cultural events such as Scotland's annual Doors Open Days festival," she recalled. These experiences provided her with a rich understanding of Scotland's heritage and history.
On the academic front, the University of Edinburgh provided an environment that fostered rigorous intellectual development. "The most valuable learning for me was in the realm of academic life, where critical thinking is paramount," Naura observed. "Classes were highly interactive, with discussions and debates that encouraged exploration of knowledge." She also highlighted the importance of academic writing skills, improved through numerous training sessions, as a crucial component of her academic progress.
Naura's time in Edinburgh also reshaped her views on studying Muslim societies in the West. "My initial skepticism about studying Muslim or Islam in the West was dispelled, leading to a profound appreciation and understanding," she reflected. The diversity within Edinburgh's Muslim community offered her unique insights into the rich tapestry of Islamic cultures.
In concluding her reflection, Naura underscored the importance of thorough preparation for studying abroad. "The MOSMA scholarship, in conjunction with the partnership between Islamic Studies at UIII and the University of Edinburgh, is incredibly advantageous for students," she asserted. These initiatives ensure that students are well-prepared and fully equipped for their international academic endeavors, reflecting UIII's commitment to a comprehensive and global educational approach.