Submitted by Sharon, Australia
A little over a year ago. a fellow Ph.D. candidate at the University of Western Australia, Brenden Corrigan, returned home from studying in the Netherlands on a Huygens scholarship. He was full of praise for the scheme and found his time there immensely rewarding both academically and non-academically.
With the encouragement of my supervisors, Dr. Greg Acciaioli and Dr. Lyn parker, I too applied for a Huygens scholarship. I started by contacting two eminent scholars in the Netherlands, Sirtjo Koolhof and Dr. Roger Tol, who I hoped would support my application. They were very encouraging and we discussed what type of things I would study and research in the Netherlands.
My Ph.D. involves examining ideas of gender in South Sulawesi and numerous archival sources are available in the Netherlands that I would not otherwise have access to. Moreover, both Sirtjo and Roger are experts on Bugis history and language and I know that I can learn a lot from them. Added to this were references written by Professor Campbell Macknight, and Dr. Greg Acciaioli, both of whom have conducted extensive research on Bugis society.
I found out that I had been selected on a Friday afternoon. I thought I would check my mail as I was on my way to a seminar. There was a single envelope. It was rather thin. Too thin, I thought, for my application to have been successful. I opened it with great trepidation.
I read ‘successful’ but was not sure I could trust my eye-sight. I ran into a neighboring office and asked them to read it for me. I had been selected for a Huygens scholarship they told me. I could hardly believe it. I ran up and down the halls telling everyone, whether I knew them or not. I am very excited about traveling to the Netherlands.
I have never been to Europe and cannot wait to arrive. I am keen to learn about Dutch society and I am going to take lessons in Dutch. I am also looking forward to seeing Sirtjo Koolhof again, and meeting Dr. Roger Tol, as well as other eminent scholars who work not only on Bugis society, but also gender relations such as Dr. Saskia Wieringa.
I also want to meet other post-graduate students, such as Kathryn Anderson, who is working on a topic similar to my own.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Nuffic/Huygens for giving me what I am sure will be a most rewarding experience that will not only help my own development but will also foster closer relations between academics working here in Australia and in the Netherlands.