A junior high school dream of studying at the University of Melbourne has become a reality for ACG School Jakarta alumnus Atha Ridho.
The aspiring architect received offers of place from across Australia, including the University of New South Wales and Monash. But with an older sister already studying in Melbourne and a love of the city cultivated during several previous visits, the decision was easy.
“I feel proud and relieved to have been accepted into Melbourne University – in the end, all my hard work paid off,” says Atha, who received a full scholarship to complete the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) at ACG School Jakarta.
“Studying overseas enables you to expand your career options, and I love the fact that the University of Melbourne offers students the chance to participate in lots of community-based activities. This will help me improve my collaborative skills and build my experience.”
Although currently studying online from home due to Covid-19, the Indonesian native still finds many new opportunities to inspire him.
“Right now, in my first semester, I am exploring and testing out my creativity. As well as majoring in architecture, I’m studying graphic design (text and image). I love sharing my graphic work on social media and hope that this passion will also help me in my future career as an architect.”
Atha’s creative and academic skills were nurtured and honed during his three years at ACG School Jakarta. He was awarded both an Academic Endeavour Award and the Creative Arts Award in Year 13 and was well supported to find his ‘best fit’ university.
“During the university application process, some universities required me to create a miniature house and a lampshade. At the time, it added a lot more work to my already busy IBDP years, but thankfully I had a teacher who was happy to support me in my pursuit of fresh ideas and give me feedback on my designs and models.”
The academic rigour of the IBDP also laid solid foundations for future study.
“It taught me to be highly productive and prepared me for the university workload – in fact, the amount of work I’m doing now is pretty much the same as I was doing at ACG. The experience I gained in essay writing and conducting research has been invaluable. It has helped speed things up for me and enabled me to adjust quickly to tertiary level study.
“I found the CAS [Creativity, Activity, Service] project the most exciting part of the IBDP. It gave me the chance to make creative content, provide services to the local community, and improve my sporting abilities. It also helped me identify the skills I have that will best support me as I pursue my architecture career.”
Looking back on his time at the school, Atha feels “an immense sense of achievement and pride”.
“There were lots of challenges because I had no previous experience in the Cambridge IGCSE and IB curricula and had never used English as a delivery language. But the ACG community was incredibly supportive. The connection between friends, seniors, juniors and teachers is extremely strong there – far greater than at previous schools I’ve attended. This helped me overcome even my greatest challenges, gave me the confidence to make decisions and express my opinions, and taught me to believe in myself.”