Paulista Bunga Surjadi

Make friendships

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (2010)

Awards / Scholarships: 

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Pathway Scholarship


1. Full name / age / nationality 

Paulista Bunga Surjadi / 26 / Indonesian


2. Degree studied?

Bachelor of Arts (Honors) Cultural Studies/ Communication 2010


3. If you are working, who is your current employer and what is your role?

I was previously a communication consultant with an international public relations firm, but now I’m working as a Strategic Communication Officer at Yayasan Kota Kita (Our City Foundation,, an NGO working in participatory urban governance.


4. Why did you choose Monash Malaysia?

Monash is a well-known brand and I especially heard good things about its School of Arts and Social Sciences (SASS) where they teach various Arts subjects that are a mix of theoretical understanding and field application. I chose Monash Malaysia because of its world-class education and its close proximity to home.


5. While at Monash, what type of opportunities did you participate in?

I looked forward to every student-organised activity, and I have fond memories of attending Nasi Bungkus Film sessions. I participated in two study trips to Yogyakarta and Chiang Mai where I got a chance to practise my video-making skills.


6. How has your degree and learning at Monash contributed to your work and where you are today?

Monash is one of those names that look really good on your CV. Employers in Indonesia, especially in bigger cities like Jakarta, definitely appreciate a Monash graduate applicant. 

My time at the School of Arts and Social Sciences definitely helped shape my way of thinking. The School allowed me to be more critical in seeing the world, hence gaining more depth and creativity when doing our assignments at work. When I was a communications consultant, my clients were technological companies and they don’t always have the most interesting things to say to the public.  But wearing my ‘researcher’s hat’ that Monash has equipped me with, I felt I could find the social, economic and political relevance to the brands I was assigned to.  


7. How has your degree and learning at Monash contributed to your work and where you are today?

At the moment, I am managing communication in the area of urban development, which requires communicating to different stakeholders with a different messaging, strategy and implementation, and it requires more thorough research. This involves capturing the essence of development jobs (that are not necessarily easy to digest), and translating them into something easier and more interesting to the public. Synthesizing is something we have been taught during Monash Monash study trips - more than just fond memories, these trips are an introduction to learning about cultural differences. These experiences help me in my current work.  


8. What did you love most about your student life at Monash? 

As nerdy as it may sound, I liked attending lectures, and also brainstorming ideas for our assignments. Definitely the friendships that I made and I keep until today.


9. If you were an international student, how did you adapt to life in Monash Malaysia and Malaysia in general? Were there any particular pleasant experiences or challenges?

Malaysia is no stranger to me. I am Indonesian and it’s only a 2-hour flight away. Monash campus in Sunway is a home to so many different nationalities, you will feel accepted there and even gain more understanding about people from different countries and diverse cultures.


10. Would you have some tips for other international students, especially from your country, intending to study in Monash Malaysia?

I recommend Indonesian students who study in Monash to mingle with other students. Network! Don’t stay in just one clique.


11. What is your goal/dream in life, where are you headed to in the future?

I wish to never stop learning about the world. Whenever I travel to new cities, I always wonder how are the cities made of, their people, their infrastructure, their culture, their needs and wants. At the moment, I am happy that I get to rationalise my fondness of cities by doing work to help urban development in many cities in Indonesia. I plan to do further study, and equip myself with the knowledge and credentials to be able to do things that I like, including perhaps teaching or consulting.


12. What is your advice to current Monash Malaysia students? 

Real challenges lie in life after Monash, which are bigger than trying to submit your assignments on time. So, while you’re at university, have fun, befriend with more people, read more books, and don't skip lectures!