For Tubagus Muhammad Yusuf Rifaiz, hopping from one country to another has always been a solid plan. Way further than just travelling abroad, He always brought agendas during the trips, and those are pretty cool ones. He represented Indonesia in many International occasions, from a music festival to being a youth ambassador.
Connected through a friend in the same organization, I had the chance to sit together with him in the second installment of Boys Brunch. Iyus, how he is usually called, has been combining dream, mission, and of course, style for us to be inspired of. Starting his Journey in Surabaya, this Airlangga University alumnus spoke the truth of how blessed his life has been for being an Indonesian youth.
Feby (F): Hi Iyuz, thank you for willing to be featured. How’s life?
Iyuz (I): Hi, my pleasure! Life is great. I am enjoying myself in Jakarta after moving out from Surabaya last 2 years. I am currently working in a startup company which I pretty much enjoy, doing business-related stuffs are always things I am passionate about.
F: That sounds really exciting. What do you usually do besides working?
I: Well, sometimes I just go to the gym. And I am kinda social person so I usually hang out with my friends; watch movies, karaoke, or just chill at cafes. Other than that, I go travel. I just went to Australia last month. It was so much fun.
F: You seem that you internationally travel quite often. So how did you start your international journey?
I: Thanks! I guess I am pretty lucky to be one of that Indonesian youth who is able to travel abroad for quite some times. I love to see what this world can offer to me in different ways, and I somehow manage to receive several chances to do so. Back in 2012, I was in my University Choir group and we became the first champion that allowed us to represent the university in the worldwide level. We went to Poland, Netherland, and France. From there, the opportunities just got wider. Just a year after in 2013, I joined the ASEAN Youth Exchange Program that brought me to Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. Still in the same year, and I was really excited because it was always a dream of mine to go there, I represented my University once again for Harvard National Model United Nation in New York! And at the end of that year again, I was selected to represent Indonesian Youth for an International Youth Exchange called Ship of South East Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP) that made me visited Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore and showed how beautiful our culture was.
F: Why do you think it’s necessary to attend International events if you just want to travel?
I: I think it really depends on how we see it. By utilizing many occasions, it makes the meaning of my activity to be doubled up. Representing my community, my university, or my country to the world makes the journey become so much more meaningful and insightful in a lot of ways. Let’s say our interaction with the locals, for instance. When we travel, we will just probably interact with them when we are lost or at the store for assistance. But when we go in occurrences, we make real connection to them. We become friends and they share you the world from their perspective and vice versa, you get to introduce your view and value directly to their ears. You’ll feel that you are part of youth of the world just like them, you will miss each other when you separate and that makes you and them richer for the things which are intangibly exchanged. And I think you agree of how beautiful that feeling is. New York like it is for many people around the world, has always been my dream since I was a kid. And to be able to finally step my feet on its ground by bringing the country’s mission makes me really proud, both as a dreamer and as an Indonesian youth. I travel with a good mission.
F: Consider yourself as the young ambassador, how significant is your international representation to your community?
I: I will always owe my international participation to Indonesia and its young people I represented. I feel the need to give back to the community in the most positive way possible. I am involved in East Java PCMI –an organization for International Youth Exchange Program alumni– and SII –The Indonesian’s SSEAYP alumni association– that aims for regeneration. I want the opportunity of Indonesian youth having International experience to be owned by everyone, at the youngest age possible. With those organizations, we motivate, select, and prepare the potential youth to be ready to face the International program that I was involved in.
F: On your best advice, what are other cultures that you think will fit into your community?
I: I love how dynamic the world is. Each place has its own dynamic that we just need to embrace when we are there. Their values, cultures, forms of interaction make this world so unique and we have to be able to blend in. Also, some countries are really open minded and I’d love to see more open mindedness in Indonesia. More understanding and tolerance will make this place to be more convenient, I guess.
F: On the other hand, what is the culture that you have which you’re proud of sharing worldwide?
I: I must say, our people are really caring. We tend to be nicer and kinder toward each other. I guess it is our natural habit to have a win-win solution and put other’s happiness on the top of ours. It can fire back at us, though. HAHA. But it’s still beautiful of how we feel about people who are not just close to us but also those who aren’t.
F: You have traveled to many places, but do you have a favourite destination that you haven’t been to? Why so?
I: It has always been settled: New York City, Paris, London, and Tokyo are my four dream cities since forever. I have been to all of them but London. Cross your fingers and wish me luck, soon!
F: What’s your next international plan?
I: Like probably almost everyone in Indonesia at this moment, I want to take a master degree abroad, specifically to The U.S. I am thinking of taking MBA as I told that I am passionate about developing business. There is no such a mainstream things in order to get proper education, right?
F: Do you have any plan about your hometown, Surabaya?
I: Oh man, I will always be attached to my hometown. All the reasons of my adventure, one of them is probably Surabaya. I travel far to come back home and become the part of its development. It’s the second biggest city in Indonesia and we need to step up our game. I am willing to combine my passion in business with my commitment as the responsible native youth, let’s start from there!
Iyus was friendly and cheerful during the conversation. I was really convinced that he was a choir champion as he hummed excitingly almost most of time. We spent the rest of the morning by enjoying our brunch; he had mac and cheese and coconut pie, meanwhile I had my favourite tuna grilled cheese at The Goods Café, Lotte Shopping Avenue.
As my boys brunch tradition, I would ask several questions that my guest needed to answer spontaniously. Check them out!
- What is your most favourite food?
- Place you’ll always come back to?
New York – who wouldn’t?
- Must have fashion item?
Long black coat – my favourite look is always with the long black coat!
- Country you wish you were born besides Indonesia?
United States of America
This or That?
- Suit or Shirt?
- Pasta or Pizza?
- Egypt or Turkey?
- Badminton or Football?
- Tubagus Muhammad Yusuf Rifaiz was born and raised in Surabaya, East Java on 15 November 1991.
- Iyus is a theatre show Junkie. He has watched Wicked, Phantom of The Opera, Matilda, Beauty And The Beast, and Shrek in way up north Los Angeles and New York all the way to down under in Melbourne.
- He might be sailing around Southeast Asia in a fancy cruise in SSEAYP 2013, but 3 years earlier, he have had experience cruising to Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand with his mother already.