15-06-14 – Sharah Arifin: Indonesian Studies for Future Indonesianists in Yogyakarta

IACS2014 - Sharah Arifin 3“The Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship program is a great opportunity to see in practice what constitutes today’s Indonesia. Each year, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs organizes a special track surrounding a specific theme, this year being “Indonesian Studies for Future Indonesianists”. This program is implemented in collaboration with Universitas Pembangunan Nasional Yogyakarta, at which we were provided with short seminars on current social, political and economic matters. Also, learning Bahasa Indonesia and visiting a variety of Yogya’s organizations and institutions is an important part of the curriculum. And not to mention, each year the participants of the Yoyga program get the chance to learn Dayaknese dance, of which I have to admit was unequivocally awesome.

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As a student of South and Southeast Asian Studies at Leiden University, this program was the perfect occasion for me to put my knowledge on Indonesia truly to the test. To actually talk to the people I have been studying for two years has helped me to look beyond notions of colonialism, heritage and tourism, and really see the highs and lows of this rapidly developing archipelago. I can definitely recommend this program to anyone who is interested in Indonesia from an International Relations, Social or Area Studies perspective. Surely, the experiences this program offers benefits anyone’s pursuit towards an academic career related to Indonesia.”

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