UNS Goes to Village is an annual program designed by UNS International Office to provide chance for international students studying in Universitas Sebelas Maret to engage with local society and their daily businesses. Besides promoting local culture, this program is intended to give additional knowledge about Indonesian esp. Javanese’s life, which might be helpful for the students during their stay in Indonesia. This is also a way to promote cross-culture understanding and for the students to spend a fun, adventurous weekend.
This year, 30 international students from 14 countries participate in this program. They are from different programs: degree program (postgraduate students), non-degree program (Dharmasiswa scholarship & BIPA students), and exchange program (AIMS students). This program is actually intended for newly enrolled international students, but senior students are also welcome to take parts.
The participants stay in Karang Lo village, Karang Anyar, Central Java for three days from Friday to Monday, November 11-13, 2016. This village is located near Mount Lawu, so the air is still fresh and good for doing things. Most of the people are farmers, and their main commodities are vegetables and sweet potatoes, but some also plant rice. The students will get involved in the locals’ activities including planting, harvesting, and processing the crops.
The participants of UNS Goes to Village 2016 departed on Friday 2 PM. It took approximately an hour to get to the village from the university. Upon their arrival, they were welcomed by the village officers. A short introduction and welcoming speech was delivered by Taufik Al Makmun, director of UNS International Office, and the Village Chief, Bp. Parjo. In their speech, both suggested that the participants interact with the local families in peace to promote mutual understanding about each other’s culture and origin, although it would possibly be a bit difficult because of language problem.
Shortly after that, the participants visited a house where children in the village study together. It was like an informal evening school. There the kids study school subjects with volunteer tutors, and the participants of UNS Goes to Village 2016 were willing to volunteer on that day. They were welcomed by the children with enthusiasm, although some looked a bit shy.
The participants then divided themselves into several groups and dispersed. After a little introduction, the situation became loosen up and the kids started to learn cheerfully. Some of the participants taught math, English, or simply talked about their original countries.
What’s interesting was that besides teaching school subjects, they really had fun singing songs and playing games with the kids. Some were singing, clapping, and dancing to Indonesian songs, Malaysian, Laos’, Korean, Turkmen’s, etc.