Discovery Year at Unikal
Maydelyn Ling, from the Socio-Anthropological programme, spent her Discovery Year involved in a Community Outreach Programme at Universitas Pekalongan (Unikal) in Indonesia. According to Maydelyn, her experience at Unikal gave her a whole new perspective on life and helped her become more independent. Being surrounded with friendly people with so much positive energy helped her believe in herself to be able to do almost anything.
The programme provided at Unikal was full of diversity. There were four pillars in the programme: education, economics, health, and the environment.
The education pillar, for example, was not just a typical English class to teach the basics of the language in one of the local secondary schools. Instead, the goal was to break the boundaries of the students in order to make them more willing to speak and communicate in English. Since the majority of the pupils spoke in Javanese, English was a rare language to use in their everyday lives. This made the mission to teach English challenging.
Maydelyn had to devise methods to make the students speak, including making them role-play as an interviewer who had to gather as much information in English as possible. Another method she used was to tell them stories and let them interact with her in English as far as possible.
She describes the great relief she felt to see how the students had great initiatives and were willing to perform their best!
Being able to reach out to the students was a rewarding experience. She explains how the experience allowed her to acquire management skills, it enabled her to convey simple but clear messages and it taught her self-control when dealing with impromptu situations.
Another programme, called Kuliah Kerja Nyata (KKN), was done together with Unikal students.
One main goal of the programme was to improve the lifestyle of the villagers in the four pillars. For instance, in the economic pillar Maydelyn and others gave a demonstration of making use of the environment to make a profit for the village funds.
Since the village was surrounded with banana trees, they made banana crackers and piscok, which is a fried banana with chocolate toppings. The equipment to make these were given free of charge to the villagers in the hope that they will continue the small business in their village.
Maydelyn explains how this experience made her discover the value of being in a team and contributing as much as she could, because of the big difference it could make if she succeeded.
There were other programmes that Maydelyn participated in whilst doing her COP, and she explains how she learned many valuable lessons during that time.
She also believes these lessons cannot be acquired in other places. Therefore, she hopes that other UBD students will take up at least one Community Outreach Programme at Unikal.