Saturday, March 24, 2012

“I love Your Wayang”

Written for Sahabat Anak Prumpung Newsletter, September 2010 Edition.
Proudly introducing...
Indonesia’s culture in Ukraine.

August 2010 was a very special month for me. I’m very grateful that in that month, through the AIESEC program, I had a chance to go to the Ukraine, represent Indonesia and share my culture with the local students at school. I stayed in the country for about 1,5 months, in Ternopil city precisely, living together with 16 other people (my lovely new friends from about 13 countries). It gave me tons of experiences and taught me a lot. I learned how to manage myself, be brave in facing every day challenges, how to socialize and also I learned to enrich my knowledge of Indonesia.

I still remember it clearly, when I did my preparation, about 2 weeks before I flew to Ukraine. At that time I spent almost a whole day in front of my computer, googling and browsing, trying my best to gather information about our country as much as possible. And you know what I got? A ’head-ache’. He he, not in the real meaning, but I had ’head-ache’ because all the results made me realize how vast and incredible Indonesia’s culture is! Just imagine, Indonesia has 33 provinces, and every province has their own regional tradition. Amazing! Now, it’s my turn to compile all the richness (that’s why I had ’head-ache’, he he) and re-present it in only 1 hour :P.

With my best efforts, I tried to package Indonesia’s culture, set it in presentation slides, prepare myself, especially the way to present it in English.

I think the Ukraine is a unique country. The language that the people speak is Ukrainian language, almost similar to Russian. The alphabet has 33 letters. For me personally, the language was my biggest problem while I was there. There are only a few people who are able to speak English, even people in public services couldn’t speak English that much. This is caused by the education system in the Ukraine, as the school doesn’t obligate the students to learn English language. Instead they can choose, either to learn English, or German, or French. That’s why not all of the students could speak English. Thankfully most of the students in my class could speak English.

My foreign friends and I presented our countries’ cultures to the students. Every country has their own history and their own uniqueness. It was my pleasure to hear their presentations and stories, and to see their recognition of their country and their appreciation of other countries.

One day, it came to my turn to present Indonesia’s culture. A very challenging opportunity. I started talking about Indonesia’s history, the independence, the symbols of our country, the culture, and also the tourist places in Indonesia. I tried to demonstrate the Wayang puppet show to the children, and they were quite impressed with the Wayang. Then I showed them the traditional bamboo instrument from West Java, called Angklung. I asked some children to play with the Angklung, and it was awesome! They were really excited!

Dear friends, please allow me to share you some new lessons that I learned for my life through my experiences in the Ukraine.
First of all, I realized more and more, how important the English language is, as it is an international language. With the ability to speak English, we can communicate to the world. We should be grateful, because we ’must’ learn English at school. Use it as an opportunity to know English and improve the knowledge and language skills, and try to use it practically. My concept is, if I want to communicate in English, I don’t take it too seriously, but take it easy. If the function is to communicate, as long as you understand me – and I understand you, it should be okay. He he.

Secondly, I’m amazed once more with the richness of our culture! We think it is ordinary, but the world sees it as extraordinary. One of the best students in my class, who is also my best friend, came to me the next day after my presentation. He greeted me and said to me enthusiastically, “Vina, yesterday I searched the Wayang Puppet show in You Tube and I watched it! It is so amazing!!! I love your Wayang!!!”. Wow, I was so happy and proud as well to hear that. So, let us give more appreciation to our culture!

Thirdly, don’t be afraid to have a dream. Friends, this has been my dream since I was in High School, which was about 7 years ago. When I was in high school, I dreamt of going abroad, I wanted to experience life in other country, meet people from all over the world, and see the world. The fact is, my dream didn’t come true at that time. I needed to make a big effort with my prayers to reach that dream. But when we keep the dream alive, always try our best and be patient, an opportunity will open for us. The most important thing is: don’t be afraid to try. I thank God so much that my 7-year-long dream, finally could come true. So friends, keep your dream alive! Because you’ll make it someday.