Aware of the Importance of the Role of Social Work Studies, the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Committed to Supporting the Indonesian Young Generation to Study in America
Washington, DC (12/15/2021) – The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia (KBRI) in Washington, DC through the Educational and Cultural Attaché (Atdikbud) was consistent holding the last series of the 2021 Bincang Karya (Bianka) or Creation Talk webinar series. Bianka 23rd series carried the theme of Social Work and American Studies Program.
Atdikbud Popy Rufaidah expressed her gratitude to all parties who have supported the implementation of the series of webinars that have been held since last October, including partner universities in the United States who have participated through their representatives.
“Thank you to the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, DC, the Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP), the Ministry of Finance, the Council of Rector of Indonesia State Universities (MRPTNI), and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology (Kemendikbudristek) for their consistent support so far so that this Bianka webinar series can run until the end,” said Popy when starting the event.
This webinar was also attended by Dwi Larso, Director of LPDP Scholarships. Dwi said that social work was a field that deserved attention because of the magnitude of the impact, especially in understanding the role of humans as social beings and as citizens.
“Social science studies show us the importance of identity. More than that, it also teaches skills that can help us to live life. Feeling socially connected, especially in an increasingly isolated work life is important,” said Dwi while attending the webinar.
Dwi also said that the study of Social Sciences sparked our curiosity about real issues that could help us to understand developments taking place in society, and in the world, as well as understanding our role in shaping the future of the nation.
This webinar is also a form of support for the Merdeka Belajar – Kampus Merdeka, a program from Kemendikbudristek which aims to create an excellent and competent Indonesian generation in the future.
Dina Septiani, Head of the International Cooperation Office, Airlangga University appeared to lead the discussion which was attended by three campus representatives and two LPDP awardee.
Kevin W. Fogg, Associate Director, Carolina Asia Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, opened that evening’s discussion with a presentation about the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is the 12th largest university in the United States in terms of research volume. Meanwhile, the Master of Social Work program ranks third in America according to US News and World Report Rankings.
Kevin also emphasized what the admissions committee looked for in students, including a commitment to the values and principles of the social work profession, leadership qualities, a good academic history, and experience in the world of social work, both voluntary and paid.
“The collaboration between Indonesia and UNC has been going on for a long time and the biggest one is the research collaboration in the field of sociology that was carried out between UNC and Indonesian Statistics (BPS) in studying the lives of Acehnese people after the tsunami,” he said. Kevin hoped that this collaboration would continue and explore other fields.
Meanwhile, Amber D. Miller, Dean of Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Science, University of Southern California gave a brief overview of the various interesting programs at her university.
She also said if it was true that the campus was very competitive regarding student admissions. However, she assured that opportunities for Indonesian students remained open. Even today there are about 136 Indonesian students on campus.
Since USC is a large university, she suggested that prospective students directly contact the director of each program for more specific directions regarding student admission requirements.
“Because we have so many programs, I recommend anyone to check our website. If you are really interested in a particular program, please contact the program director, they will help with information on the requirements,” said Amber.
In line with the previous speaker, Karma Lowe, Associate Dean, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and Community Engagement, Columbia University, also provided information on 28 specialization programs in the Masters of Social Work (MSW) program. In addition, she also explained about the various innovative research centers at the university, such as the Action Lab for Social Justice which was formed in 2020 as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The campus also offers dual degree programs that can be followed by students. Furthermore, Karma also said that the university strongly encouraged and supported students to develop their careers through the Career Services Office.
Regarding cooperation, Karma said, “We are always open to partnering with academics and scholars in various countries. And it’s more about, I think, topic areas, I’d love to connect you with our research team, the Sponsored Projects team, about any connections or possible collaborations we can develop,” explained Karma.
The next session of this webinar was presentations from Teraya Paramehta, Ph.D., candidate in American Studies & Ethnicity, Dornsife College of Letters Arts and Sciences, University of Southern California. Teraya, who is an active lecturer in English literature at the University of Indonesia (UI), shared some information about American Studies and Ethnicity.
In addition, she also briefly explained her dissertation prospectus entitled “(Re)Making Paradise: Race, Tourism, and The Aftermath of Violence in Bali.” This dissertation idea came from a book entitled “The Last Paradise on American Discovery of Bali” in 1930 written by Hickman Powell.
According to Teraya, the hardest time when she finished her dissertation was when she was preparing to take a qualifying exam or some kind of comprehensive exam. But behind it all, Teraya admitted that being in a doctoral program, especially in America, was a challenge and gave her a distinct impression.
“The most memorable thing, of course, is the intellectual challenge, which is something that is fun for me. I like to challenge myself and challenge my own thinking. If I already have one particular argument or thought. It’s precisely when I get rebuttals or questions that make me keep thinking and that’s actually fun,” she said excitedly.
On the other hand, Goei Diana Sulistyaningrum, the LPDP awardee for the Master’s program in Social Work with a specialization in Social Enterprise Administration, Columbia University, also participated in this activity by introducing Social Work Studies at the University of Columbia. To complete the explanations of the previous presenters, Goei also gave a brief description of what Social Work studies are, which some Indonesians are not familiar with.
It didn’t stop there; this UI accounting graduate also shared her experiences while studying at Columbia School of Social Work.
“First, there are diverse perspectives; second, international experience; third, learning that is not only in class but also in practice in the form of internships; fourth, diverse challenges; and fun learning,” she said.
At the end of the event, Atdikbud Popy hoped that this webinar could continue in the following years. Hopefully this event could be an opportunity to share information and open up the widest possible opportunities for young Indonesians to study in the US or to collaborate with the best universities in the US.
For information, the recording of Bianka’s live broadcast Series-23 can be accessed on the official Facebook page of Atdikbud USA with the link https://bit.ly/fb-watch-bianka23