The first semester of Darmasiswa Program at the Pakuan University in Bogor has been successfully completed. Nine Darmasiswa students from all over the world (Laos, South Africa, Poland, Serbia, Japan, Russia) joined the Pakuan University this year to study Indonesian language, art and culture.
The program started on September 20 with a large ceremony in Jakarta, organized for all Darmasiswa students, consisting of a variety of lectures about Darmasiswa Program regulations as well as life and customs in Indonesia. This ceremony served as useful and necessary preparation for all incoming students to address their concerns and questions about what to expect in the program. After spending four days at one of Jakarta’s finest hotels, the Grand Sahid Jaya, organized by the PakuanUniversity staff, all students were escorted by their faculty mentors to their respective universities throughoutIndonesia.
During the first semester of Darmasiswa Program at the Pakuan University, students attended daily lectures on Indonesian language and gamelan classes, the traditional music of Indonesia. Gamelan classes are usually the most interesting for all Darmasiswa students because they learn to play traditional instruments and traditional songs of the region. As Bogor is located in the West Java region, students learned Gamelan Degung, typical of Sundanese tradition and the most common in West Java. For three months, students practiced playing three gamelan melodies, GuluGulu, Catrik and GambirSawit. During this semester, on three different occasions, Darmasiswa students had the opportunity to give live performances where they played gamelan, dressed in traditional West Java clothes in which gamelan is traditionally played, and were able to show the playing skills they had gained up to that point. The last live performance was organized for the important graduation day in November at the PakuanUniversity where hundreds of students received their diplomas.
In addition to the University activities, Darmasiswas also had the opportunity to participate in a variety of events outside the university specific to Indonesian tradition and culture. One of these events was the traditional Indonesian wedding. This kind of event is essential as it helps foreign students better understand Indonesian customs and ceremonial activities important in Indonesian society.
In the first semester, Darmasiswa students were also asked to help in a variety of the University activities. Most of the students were engaged in English teaching classes at the University, helping Indonesian students improve their English conversation skills. The Darmasiswa students were also guest speakers in many of the public elementary schools, introducing their countries or teaching English.
Darmasiswas also participated in many activities organized by Pakuan students. One of them was a debate competition between students, held in English, where Darmasiswas were part of the jury. Students from South Africa contributed to this event by giving live dance performances of both modern and traditional African dance.
In November, Darmasiswa students participated in a study field excursion outside of Bogor to learn, in practice, about Indonesian traditional life, food, and customs in Indonesian villages. The excursion was in the area of PelabuhanRatu, near the beautiful beach on the Indian Ocean, and students were accommodated in the traditional bamboo house on the rubber tree plantation where they had opportunity to talk with plantation workers and learn about plantation organization and operations. During their stay, they visited the beach in PelabuhanRatu and the nearby hot springs.
Some of the Darmasiswa students are actively training in White Crane Silat, the traditional martial art of Indonesia and an important part of the traditional local culture, at the PersatuanGerakBadan school in Bogor, the original founder of the White Crane Silat technique.
The first semester of Darmasiswa program has finished, and one more semester remains before the end of the year. In the second semester, Darmasiswa students will continue with their Indonesian language classes, gamelan playing and will also begin traditional dance classes.
|List of Students|
The students’ first day in Bogor was followed with a warm welcome from current Pakuan students who showed the new arrivals around Bogor’s famous Botanical Garden, Botani Square Mall and of course, the Pakuan University campus. In their first week at Pakuan, students had the opportunity to meet the dean of the university at his office and to talk about the program and possible challenges.