When Indonesian student Arman Bratamidjaja stumbled across an ad for a University of Tasmania (UTAS) information expo, he couldn’t have imagined what would happen next – receiving a prestigious academic scholarship and embarking on a career as a jazz singer in Tasmania!

Arman was at home when he noticed the ad about a UTAS information session taking place the following day in Jakarta. ‘I was curious to know more, so I asked my mother if she would drive me there in the morning’, he says.

Arman lives in Bogor, only 60 kilometres away from Indonesia’s capital, but the notorious traffic congestion between cities meant a two hour drive. However, the spur of the moment decision paid off, as Arman applied for and became the sole recipient of the prestigious Primagama Scholarship.

It’s the most generous international scholarship in UTAS’ history, awarded in conjunction with Primagama, the largest tutoring institution in Indonesia. The scholarship will cover all of Arman’s tuition fees, amenities fees and on-campus accommodation for the duration of his undergraduate degree.

The Primagama staff at Arman’s school were so excited that they created a giant banner reading “CONGRATULATIONS” – complete with a picture of his face! ‘My friends all said congratulations and they’re really excited to hear my stories about UTAS. A lot of them would like to study here too!’, he says.

The scholarship has enabled Arman to fulfil his lifelong dream of studying abroad. ‘I’ve been dreaming of studying abroad since I was little. This has motivated me to study hard and achieve one of my life goals! My parents could not afford the tuition fee of tertiary education abroad, so thankfully I won this scholarship and can fulfill my dream!’, he says.

Arman is studying a Bachelor of Social Science, majoring in sociology and international relations. ‘I chose social science because I enjoyed studying it in high school. I’m really enjoying the course, but my favourite part has been the friends I’ve made along the way’, he says.

The friendly locals are a big reason why Arman feels so at home in Tasmania. ‘My time at UTAS so far has been great – people here are really friendly and welcoming’, he says.

When he first arrived, Arman started hitting up jazz nights around the vibrant Hobart bar scene. Since then, he’s become the frontman of a local jazz band – playing regular gigs as his part-time job.

But hearing Arman crooning jazz standards in a bustling Hobart bar, you’d never guess the incredible journey that’s brought him to Tasmania. For now though, he has no plans to pursue a career in jazz, insisting, ‘I just want to sing as my part-time job and follow a career in social science’.

Exploring Tasmania has been a life-changing experience for Arman, having visited iconic locations such as ‘The Neck’ at Bruny Island. ‘It was the best place I’ve ever been in my life!’, he says. ‘It was really unique and an amazing view.’

Arman is also involved with the local Indonesian community, recently attending a gathering of both Indonesian students and ex-pats. ‘We had an “Indonesian Day” in the city, where we cooked Indonesian food and celebrated – we are so close to each other’, he says. ‘It was a local Indonesian family who took me on the trip to Bruny Island for the day – they showed me such hospitality and didn’t let me pay for a thing!’

Arman is busy finishing off his final assignments and preparing for exams, but is looking forward to the summer holidays when he can travel around Tasmania. On his bucket list is the beautiful lavender farm Bridestowe Estate.

After he graduates, Arman is keen to use his degree to help others. ‘My dream job is to work for an organisation that has a goal to make the world a better place, whether it’s from an environmental, peacekeeping or educational perspective’, he says.

But he’s keeping his options open because ‘Sometimes life just takes you to unexpected places – like Tasmania!’

Inspired by Arman’s journey? Enquire now about our generous scholarships or the high quality courses available at the University of Tasmania.