ITS University Summer Program Reflection

Before I start my reflection on the BUiLD summer program that I participated in at Indonesia, I would like to thank UTS for providing me this opportunity and allowing me to be part of the BUiLD program.

It is extremely hard to describe the wonderful time that I had during this program. Attending this program was like a life changing experience as it was my first time to visit Indonesia so every day during this program was a new experience for me. I went to Indonesia two days before the program started. Mr Wahyu who is the supervisor of the Commtech program, was with us throughout this program. He organised two people to take us from the airport to the hotel. Mr Wahyu was at the hotel waiting for us where he allocated the room already. He then invited us for dinner, despite it was a bit late the city was so crowded. It was a good opportunity to see what Surabaya is like and I had a great time as well, as I started to know the surrounding places around our hotel. After dinner I went straight back to the hotel because I was so tired.

Next day, I was introduced to new volunteers that will be with us throughout this program, and I was informed that there will be approximately 40 students in this program coming from 15 different countries. For me, this was absolutely a great opportunity to meet new people and learn about their culture, education and lifestyle.

The next day at around 8:30am we went to ITS. There was a welcoming ceremony and we were introduced to the course that we will undertake during this program. My course preference that I chose was Sustainable development in developing countries, therefore attending this course in Indonesia who is a developing country is an advantage its self because I will not only be able to study sustainability about developing countries but I will also have the opportunity to experience the process of sustainability in a developing country physically.

Throughout the week, we attended the classes for sustainable development which was extremely beneficial as we had one of the classes at the city council which was very interesting as they explained to us the new transport system that the government will start it in Surabaya.

During this program we had to read some articles, answer questions, perform a number of presentations and a number of other tasks that we had to do. We did a number of activities throughout this program which I certainly had a good time that I will always remember.

1This is a photo that I took before the session starts at the City Council

This image shows the water recycling system that one of the villages uses to filter the water. The blue area is where the filtering process occur

This flower is made out of plastic bottles

These images shows the system that they use to recycle the waste and generate gas

This photo was taken during one of the classes

Mount Bromo

I also had the opportunity to go rafting, this particular activity was very special for me as this was my first time, it was a really good experience and we had so much fun

The topics that I studied during this program and the knowledge that I gained, will definitely help me in the future. This program allowed me to improve my communication skills because I met so many people and we still communicate until now via Facebook. My knowledge towards sustainable development has significantly increased; I have a deeper understanding about the environmental aspects in developing countries. I had a wonderful time, the Indonesian people were very nice and for me it’s a journey that I will always remember.

I represented UTS in a very well manner, where I ensured that all my actions were appropriate and I followed all the rules and the instructions that were given to us. I also told the people that I met how beautiful UTS is, where I talked about all the great facilities and the opportunities that UTS provide to students. Lastly, I would like to thank UTS for giving me this opportunity and allowing me to represent them overseas.

My Indonesia experience – Shankar Prasad Aryal

I attended community based sanitation in urban areas in Indonesia from 2nd of February to 10th of February 2015. I really enjoyed my time there and learned so many things from that experience. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life.

While I was in there I was not only involved in learning community sanitation but I was involved in learning Indonesian culture, Indonesian food and Indonesian food as well.

I communicated with locals and students of ITS about the problems they are facing and found out the negative impacts of poor sanitation in their daily life. Also, we were invited by the Surabaya City mayor for dinner and I found out how government is helping to improve the sanitation facilities and how local leaders are involved to improve the life of Indonesian People. On our site visits, we went to different communities and found their lifestyles as well. Also, we learned to make Tempe which is traditional Indonesian food. We learned bhasa Indonesia as well. Now I can understand simple words. Moreover, we went to different schools and learned to play traditional Indonesia music and songs. I made so many amazing friends from Indonesia and around the world. We also got opportunities to explore the natural beauties of Indonesia for example Bromo Mountain and many rivers.

I gave my presentation about sanitation condition of Nepal as compared to Indonesia and analysed the similar problems these countries are facing in terms of sanitation behavior. Also I talked about University of Technology and the services and the facilities offered by UTS. So, most of the students were really interested to study in UTS as well.

I told them about my wonderful experience in UTS and I recommended UTS for them if they wish to come here in Australia for study. Also I am working as UPASS leader in UTS and I explained them about this wonderful program which helps students to interact socially and form friendships with other students in an informal, collaborative environment.

The biggest challenge for me was to interact freely and effectively with other people. I actively involved myself in as many group activities as possible without any hesitation. The scheduled group discussion sessions were a platform for me to communicate to other students.

This program will be very beneficial for my future career. This gave me opportunity to immerse myself in another language and developed my skills in a foreign study environment. It gave me experience what it is like to live and learn in another country. I have huge interest in studying water behavior, sanitation and our environment. This gave me more confidence in studying these areas because I was directly involved with these communities in urban areas. In addition to this, I learned we can improve people’s lives if we have good team and determination even we have limited resources.Apart from that I have developed my communication skills and leadership skills which will be very useful for Civil engineers. Moreover, it has given me the ability to view the world, and its issues, from several perspectives.

Shankar Prasad Aryal – 11436286

Sustainable development in developing countries – Indonesia

Exchange program Reflection by Fadi Faraj

I applied to this program and I was not sure if I will attend or not, because I was doing my internship last semester and my workplace asked me to stay for the summer break. This program was in the city of Surabaya, organised by ITS University.

This exchange program was one of the best experiences in my life. I made new friends from many countries and learned more about my degree. My major is Civil and Environmental Engineering.
After undertaking this program, I became more motivated about my course. I learned so much about the sustainable development in Indonesia. I went to Malaysia in 2014 in another BUiLD exchange program and learned about managing water in tropical countries. I would like to thank BUiLD for giving me this great opportunity for the second time and having the faith in me as a representative
of UTS and Australia. I really appreciate it.

I arrived two days early in Surabaya to have some relaxing time and do some shopping. I did not find it difficult at all to find the ITS volunteers at the airport who drove us to the hotel and invited us for dinner with Mr. Wahyu (program coordinator). I felt welcomed and people were very friendly with me.

Figure 1 Arriving in Surabaya1

In the opening ceremony, volunteers performed the Saman dance, a traditional Indonesian dance that participants of my sub-course had to perform at the end of the program. I found it really fun and enjoyable to watch and perform.

Figure 2 Saman dance in the opening ceremony

After that, participants and volunteers were grouped in small groups and as an ice breaking activity, we were asked to find something in common between all the members of the group. My group found that everyone was wearing a watch. I had so much fun during these activities as well as the performance that we did during the welcoming dinner. We danced, laughed, had a memorable night and found out more about each other. I felt privileged when I was asked to represent Australia for the newspaper photo session.

Figure 3 Representing Australia for newspaper photo session

Figure 4 Welcoming Dinner

Figure 5 my group’s performance

The traditional games were great. I like how everyone took the games in a serious manner and tried their best to make their team win. I started my team’s first game and won the ‘jumping in a bag’ activity. I was so happy and my team was proud of me. At the end of the day, everyone was happy and we took plenty of pictures as usual and went back to the hotel for dinner.

Figure 6 traditional games and activities

The city tour was amazing and I found out more about Surabaya. I learned how heroic this city is and how its people freed their city from the Japanese. I also learned that Surabaya means the shark and the crocodile, representing the typical fights between the two animals in the waterways around the city. I enjoyed my time in the museum and took many pictures.

The program was very well organised. The classes were not long and I found the content interesting to learn. The teachers used videos, fun activities and group discussions and presentations to make the sessions more entertaining and beneficial.

I learned some Indonesian words, which were similar to Malaysian. I also learned a traditional song and dance of Surabaya. Participants were given the chance to make their own tempe (a traditional Indonesian food made from soybeans). I found it delicious and needs creativity to make as people can add the ingredients they want to make it.

Figure 7 Making Tempe

Figure 8 City Tour (Museum)

Figure 9 City Tour (Museum)

Figure 10 3D image trick at the museum

Figure 11 Farm visit

One of the most memorable days of the program was the Mount Bromo visit and water rafting. We had to wake up at 3am, get into jeeps and arrive at a hilly area to watch the sunrise while looking at Mount Bromo from a distance. I forgot how sleepy and tired I was as soon as I saw the spectacular view. The smoke produced by the volcanic actions was visible. I have never been that close from an active volcanic mountain.

Figure 12 Watching the sunrise – Mount Bromo

Figure 13 Catching the sunrise – Mount Bromo

After that, we had breakfast and went to the bottom of Mount Bromo where there were many horses to hire souvenirs sellers. My first experience of horseback riding was an unforgettable one. I enjoyed every second of being on top of the horse. The view from the top of Mount Bromo was breath taking.

Figure 14 Horseback riding to Mount Bromo

Figure 15 View from the top of Mount Bromo
Figure 16 Trip to Mount Bromo

Right after that, we went back to the bus and slept for 3 hours before we arrived at the water-rafting place. Again, as a first time experience, I had a great time in the waves of the river.

Figure 17 Water Rafting

The visit to the city mayor’s house was unforgettable. Even though the mayor was busy at that night and could not attend, the service and welcoming of the coordinators and the people from the government reflect their generosity and values.

Figure 18 Dinner in Surabaya city mayor’s house

Figure 19 UTS participants and representative (Joanne Taylor)

Towards the final days of the program, participants had to prepare a presentation highlighting the sustainable aspects of their universities and countries. Every student was allocated in a different
faculty. I was allocated in the business management faculty and the students of the class were very well behaved, good listeners and showed interest about UTS and Australia.

The closing ceremony followed with some good food, speeches and videos about our journey that had ended. I liked the idea that every participant received a CD with all the pictures taken throughout the program. We also received appreciation certificates.

Right after the closing ceremony, I went shopping with some friends for the last time and took many photos. At night, all participants and volunteers went to a karaoke place and made the last night of the program a very entertaining and memorable one.

Figure 20 Fun photo-shoot session after the closing ceremony

I always felt a sense of belonging being in this program. People called me brother and I really felt that I have formed a second family in Indonesia. Staff and volunteers always made sure that participants are fine and making the most out of the program. I will never forget how friendly, simple and welcoming Indonesians are. I will never forget Surabaya, its history and great people. It is not a tourism city like Bali or Jakarta, so people used to stare at me all the time because they are not used to seeing foreigners. Some people even asked to take pictures with me, which made me feel like a celebrity.

Thank you Indonesia & ITS for having me. Thank you BUiLD for this great experience.

I am glad I took this opportunity.

Fadi Faraj – 11380817