Entrance to Wright State University — Photo by K. Shimada [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Entrance to Wright State University -- Photo by K. Shimada [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a while since I last posted something in this blog. In the meantime, there has been major changes in my life. Yes, as of August 22nd 2010, I left Indonesia to go to the U.S. for pursuing a PhD. I departed alone and now we (I and my wife) are making an effort so that she can join me as soon as possible.

For the next couple of years, I will be studying, working, and learning as much as I can under Prof. Pascal Hitzler. He leads the Knowledge Engineering Lab at the Knoesis Center, Wright State University which is located near Dayton, Ohio — actually WSU is in the suburban area of Dayton called Fairborn. Dayton is not a big city, especially if you compare her with other major Ohio cities like Cincinnati, Columbus or Cleveland. Also, like typical american cities, Dayton does not have an extensive public transportation. There is only one bus line from WSU to downtown Dayton and it runs once every 40 minutes or so. For me who has experienced a much more comfortable public transportation system in Europe, this is a quite depressing situation because practically, you really need to have a car to get you anywhere.  To make matters worse, I’ve never had a car driving license before. Thus, aside from the fact that cars are not cheap to have, I’m quite pessimistic to be able to drive in the near future. Luckily, there is a rather large supermarket nearby which sells almost everything I need to survive.. :-).

My stay in the U.S. is supported by a Fulbright Foreign Student Grant under the name of Indonesia Presidential Scholarship Program 2010. It’s been a privilege to get selected for this scheme.  They say that Fulbright grant is one of the most prestigious scholarship award in the world. This brings quite a tremendous pressure for me to do well. I will tell you more about Fulbright grant in other post later. For now, this should be enough to start again. Hopefully, Allah provides strength and patience for my success here. Amiin!