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DREER Report # 1

Jakarta, 30th June 2009

Dear Dreer Committee,

I hope this letter finds you well, and that you are enjoying this warm summer holiday. In the weeks
preparing for this trip, there have been some financial and significant bureaucratic obstacle that have
changed the proposed schedule of the trip. In details, they are:

1. Between the application of this proposal and the current currency exchange rate, the US
dollar has weakened considerably. The Euro appreciated by 9%, Swedish Kroner by 4% and
Australian dollar by 23%. Whilst this would imply that the budget is short of about $1’000, the
nature of the second problem offsets this financial shortage.

2. I have begun the visa application process for the Europe ‘sSchengen area since March 2009
with the Consulate of Sweden in New York. The visa I applied for is “Researcher’s Visa” and it
is valid for 6 months and above, as opposed to the regular “Visitor’s visa” which is only valid for
3 months. After 10 weeks of waiting there was no news. I tried to contact the consulate through
e-mail, fax, and telephone, but they took between one to four weeks to reply e-mails and there
was no meaningful response about the status of my visa. In the week before my graduation in
May, my host company, the Green Fortune told me that the migration department has contact-
ed them about my visa application and recommended that I change my visa status because
they are not formally registered as a research institution with the migration board. I decided to
withdraw my application, because I need my passport to return to Indonesia.

In Jakarta, I visited the Swedish Consulate again, and they recommended that the best chance
is to apply for the 3-months “visitor’s visa” from Sweden, and visit the German Consulate for
another 3-months extension. In addition, this was only a month before my departure, and there
was not much time. The “Visitor’s visa” are faster to process in contrast to the 6-8 weeks “Re-
searcher’s visa,” or any other longer-term category visa that would require an application for
residence. Since by now I have tried and not succeeded at applying for the longer term visa, I
opted for the “Visitor’s visa” with full knowledge that I might not get the additional 4th and 5th
months in Europe that I needed.

Within 10 days, the Swedish visa was promptly issued for exactly 90 days between July and
September, and immediately after, I went for the German consulate to ask for an extension. The
German consulate consulted all the supporting letters and did not question the objective of the
trip, however, they refused to grant the extension on the grounds that having two consecutive
“Visitor’s visas” is against the Schengen regulation.
As a result of these two challenges, my period of stay in Europe will be shortened from five months
to three months, and I will be able to save some money for more affordable travel elsewhere. I plan to
use the extra time to look for green wall related internship in Singapore or Malaysia, or working on an
independent project to create a green wall in Indonesia. I appreciate the committee’s understanding
that the natures of these challenges are beyond my control, and that I have tried my best in every
situation to keep to the original objective, that is to travel and study green walls.

The problems aside, one good news that I have is that I will be spending a week with Peter Stauffer of
Verticalis from ZHAW (Zurich University of Applied Sciences). Verticalis is a research project, which
focuses on the climatic and health effect of planting indoor houseplants as green walls (More details
about their efforts can be found here: http://www.iunr.zhaw.ch/de/science/iunr/fe-dienstleistungen/
verticalis.html).

As I am about to begin this trip, I feel excited and fortunate to be afforded such opportunity to travel
the world. I think that like green roofs, green walls have great potential to be used in future architec-
ture and landscaping projects. The schedule for this trip as it stands right now is as follows:

1st – 10th July Verticalis, Zurich


11th July—19th July Green Fortune, Stockholm
20th July –26th July Visiting Paris (as staffs Green Fortune are taking summer holiday)
27th July—27th Aug Green Fortune, Stockholm
28th Aug—29th Sept Indoorlandscaping, Munich

Please feel free to e-mail me if there you have any questions, and I will report to you again next
month.

Best Regards,

Stephanie Gautama