I am now doing Bachelor of Public Relation, I chose AIESEC Global Exchange in Indonesia to help me understand more about new culture new language and learn about Muslim religion. During this exchange, I have been through all the toughest time in my life and also happiness. Now I want to share my experience in Indonesia to people who are care and planning to take an exchange.
Briefly, my workplace calls Kitty Centre where all the disable students (both physical and mental problem) are studying in there. My job was about to teach students (mainly Autistic students) how to read and understand the language (Indonesian language) properly. It seems weird when I’m Vietnamese who are studying in Sydney went to Indonesia to teach Indonesian. At first I was really shock but the reason why the school put me into this position is to change the educational program in that Centre in to modern and Western way, instead of keep using traditional thinking to teach students. Of course, language, and culture are the challenge.
Before I arrived to Indonesia, I had no idea about Indonesian language. As in my job description that AIESEC University of Indonesia gave me, I just need to play and plan some games for disable children. Therefore, I did not prepare lots of Indonesian words for teaching. After they told me that I had to teach students in Indonesian, I was shock, confused, and of course, I could not go back to Sydney to quit this exchange right at the beginning. I tried to learn few words every night and asked other teachers for helps. If they understand English, then I could be easier for me for communication, but only few of them could. That time, I found out the best way to let them understand my language by using GOOGLE TRANSLATE, this way, we could communicate and understand each other language. Moreover, about the teaching, students studies only few words a day (words about colour, transportations, shapes,…), therefore I prepared some words before class started and also some key words like ‘What is it?’, ‘This is…’, and ‘Again’. Thus, this is my way to solve the problem with Language in other country.
Culture shock is inevitable during the time I was living in Jakarta. Firstly, this is a Muslim country; therefore, wearing shorts and having blond hair colours (not natural) are very strange and disrespectable to some people. I had to change my whole clothing style, behaviours and explain to people about Western culture, , our lifestyle to let people could understand the way my appearance. Secondly, It was so hard for me to go out and look around the city, so that I felt lonely and homesick all the time, this is because of the transportation difficulties. There was the most famous public transport called ‘Angcot’ which is a small van (for 8 people), it helps people travelling around Jakarta with the cheapest price. The problem of this was they put too many people into one (round 20 people) and the drivers didn’t care about how to drive in the right way. It seems normal to people in here but to me I never want to use ‘Angcot’ to my workplace. Also, there were no bus or train around my host house, then I had to use taxi which cost me lots of money.
After this volunteer, I made a significant change in the program of Kitty Centre. In the education program of that centre, it was so boring to student, because I put all the different level student into one class, thus, they just focused on good students to answer the questions. To low level students, they did not try to let students answer the question, if student couldn’t, they skip and continue asking high level students for the right answer. As I researched on Internet, teachers have to let student giving a right answer and telling again and again until they get the message. Then, I decided to change the whole program, I asked teachers allow me to put students with same level study together, and also show them how to make students feel excited and absorb the largest information from the class. In the end, all the teachers and I could see the improvement from each student. Some of them able to count to ten, some able to speak few words and also those who couldn’t speak, they still could show the right answer through their eyes.
To me, when I see happy face and progress of my students, that is the happiest and most meaningful to me. I know I was so tough for me but just think about what I did, it makes me feel so proud of myself cause finally I did it.
Global Short Programs Student