Monthly Highlights: October-November 2015

Indonesia’s Fulbright English Teaching Assistants have now been in-country for over three months. In that time, they have been busy teaching English, making friends, and becoming members of their respective communities. In this Monthly Highlights feature read about how ETAs in Group 2, placed in Sulawesi and Eastern Java, have been busy at their sites.

Manado, Northern Sulawesi, 10 October 2015: Culinary Cultural Exchange

ETAs Samantha Geary and Shalina Omar, sitemates in Manado, had some local university students over to their house for some delicious culinary cultural exchange: They made Mexican food! This included introducing their Manado friends to the beauty of savory avocado (via guacamole) and making dishes like homemade tortillas, Mexican pulled chicken, Spanish rice, beans, blackened corn, and salsa. They turned it into a rooftop fiesta!

A Mexican fiesta, Indonesian-style.

A Mexican fiesta, Indonesian-style.

Malang, Eastern Java, ongoing: Connecting Students with Scholarships

ETA Camille Ungco posted a list of student exchange scholarships on her school’s student bulletin board at SMAN 2 Malang. She contacted the AFS and YES Program contact person for Malang, and she has formed student interest groups after school where she meets with a group of students every day to practice English as well as advise them on which scholarships they can apply to and how to prepare for the application process.

Camille with her scholarship-bound students.

Camille with her scholarship-bound students.

Malang, Eastern Java, 8-10 October 2015: School Anniversary Celebrations

ETA Clara Summers participated in many activities to help her school, SMAN 7 Malang celebrated its 33rd anniversary. The first day of events, Thursday, consisted of various contests. Clara helped judge the English Speech Contest, which one of her English Club students won. Festivities continued on Friday with a jalan sehat and bazaar and culminated in a day of performance on Saturday.

In her first week at school, all of Clara’s students had begged her to sing for them. Their wish came true on Saturday, when Clara sang two popular dangdut songs by Cita Citata (“Sakitnya Tuh Disini” and “Goyang Dumang”), accompanied by other teachers dancing and playing instruments. Clara’s dangdut stardom has forever been immortalized by Batu TV, which included the performance in a segment they made about the school’s anniversary. Indofame is never far away!

Clara's vocal performance is forever captured.

Clara’s vocal performance will forever be remembered by SMAN 7 Malang.

Gorontalo, Northern Sulawesi, various dates: ETA Highlights

ETA Kelsey Roggensack teaches swimming lessons for her female students at MAN Insan Cendikia Gorontalo every Tuesday afternoon. They are having quite a lot of fun splashing and chatting in the water, while also focusing on developing stroke technique.

Kelsey making a splash with her students.

Kelsey is making a splash with her students.

Kelsey's students are learning to become more confident swimmers.

Kelsey’s students are learning to become more confident swimmers.

Insan Cendekia included Kelsey in all of their Idul Adha activities, which were nothing short of amazing! Idul Adha was like nothing like Kelsey had ever experienced. The school sacrificed eight cows, and she got to help separate the meat that was eventually given out to the community!

Kelsey helping prepare meat for the Idul Adaha feast.

Kelsey helping parcel out meat for Idul Adaha.

Kelsey also has been lucky enough to attend several weddings with members of her school’s community, including two weddings where alumni of Insan Cendekia were being wed! She also attended a wedding with her site mate, Grace Wivell, and an English teacher from Grace’s school, MAN MODEL.

Sitemates Kelsey and Grace at a wedding on 3 October 2015.

Sitemates Kelsey and Grace at a wedding on 3 October 2015.

Kelsey was also able to attend the Insan Cendekia debate club’s competition preparation and facilitated discussions on their debate topics, such as same sex marriage and sex education in public schools, as they prepared for the competition. The debate was at the Universitas Negeri Gorontalo on October 17 and 18; and as Kelsey says, “It was awesome to see the students in action and a couple of the Insan Cendekia students won awards!”

Kelsey recently went on a field trip with the grade 10 students to several historical sites, including a memorial in honor of Nani Wartabone, a local Gorontalo hero and anti-Dutch guerilla war veteran, the oldest mosque in Gorontalo, as well as Benteng Otanaha, which has a spectacular view of Gorontalo.

Kelsey and her students

Kelsey and her students at the oldest mosque in Gorontalo.

Kelsey and her students pose at Benteng Otanaha.

Kelsey and her students pose at Benteng Otanaha.

The week of 2-6 October Kelsey also organized Skype calls in her classes with a friend or family member in the United States. The students wrote questions ahead of time and the conversation topics ranged from preparations for university, favorite music artists, career advice, questions about Election Day, the biggest difference between America and Indonesia, and of course there was singing!

Gorontalo, Northern Sulawesi, ongoing experience: ETA Update from Illomanga Village

Clare McLaughlin (Gorontalo) has dived thoroughly into her site, Illomanga Village, Tabongo District. To the passer-by (on the one main road), it may just be a sleepy little village (especially from 12-4pm), but actually there is hardly a dull moment around these parts—someone is always dropping by, getting married, telling a wild story, or wanting to go visit someone somewhere new.

Whether it’s explaining what Taylor Swift is actually saying in “Shake it Off” or playing soccer with the village team, these first months have been a steady, confusing, love-filled stream of learning experiences and cultural exchanges. It has been the smallest of exchanges, actually, that have been the most meaningful in Clare’s experience; those organic moments that happen during the many hours chatting on front stoops, shopping at the market, or sitting and waiting for something or other to happen at an event have allowed her to become part of the community here. From becoming like an older sister to her “crew” of village children to building friendships with village folk her age that push her understanding of culture and what it means to be a twenty-something in the world, she has been able to listen, question, and laugh, as her small village has become her family.

She spends her time entertaining children and students at her home, running through rice fields, learning Bahasa Indonesia, and planning lots and lots of lessons for both grades 10 and 11. This has been a time to build trust, strengthen understanding, and slowly unpack and discover what she can and should do as an ETA in this specific placement.

Sisa Iyam’s house, a definitive symbol of Clare’s time in Illomanga thus far. Located across the street from her home, it’s a place where students, young children, bentor drivers, ibus, bapaks, cats, dogs, chickens, goats (you get the idea) congregate to tell stories, relax, and watch the world.

Sisa Iyam’s house, a definitive symbol of Clare’s time in Illomanga thus far. Located across the street from her home, it’s a place where students, young children, bentor drivers, ibus, bapaks, cats, dogs, chickens, goats (you get the idea) congregate to tell stories, relax, and watch the world.

Conveniently located next to school, students frequent Clare’s home (this time with selfie-stick in hand).

Conveniently located next to school, students frequent Clare’s home (this time with selfie-stick in hand).

Some joke in Illomanga that Clare is like a mother goose, as wherever she goes, a trail of small friends certainly follow. And true friends they are, as the children with their open hearts and unexpected patience have helped her more than she can ever say. Below she is pictured at a 5th birthday party for one of her little girls.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

Clara's English Club pauses in the pancake-making process to take a selfie.

An English Club experiment: what happens when 30+ students come to your home to try to cook American pancakes?

Clara and company partaking in the wedding celebrations.

Clare at one of the many weddings in the village with her fellow community members adik Anda, Iyan, and Sisa Iyam.

In the village, family, students, and friends often blend into one mass group of laughing, happy people. Below are all of the aforementioned during a recent trip to Boalemo to celebrate the end of the local soccer team’s season.

Clare with her friends and neighbors at the end of the soccer season.

Clare with her friends and neighbors at the end of the soccer season.

Gorontalo, Northern Sulawesi, 12-21 October 2015: English Camp

Grace Wivell (Gorontalo) worked with one of the English teachers at MAN Model in early October to develop activities for English Camp, a special event for students from the tenth and eleventh grades particularly interested in the English Language. Over the course of about two weeks, Grace created and ran sessions on topics ranging from cooking to American Slang to the diversity of the English Language around the globe. As part of the closing ceremony of English Camp, students created a spooky and amusing drama, called Barbie goes to Horror School. It can be seen here.

The enthusiasm for English Camp is palpable in this photo.

The enthusiasm for English Camp is palpable in this photo.

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