Monday, 5 May 2008

Global Xchange and Intercultural Dialogue

Indonesia is now taking part of the Global Xchange programme, we are sending school students from Padang (West Sumatera) to work together with their counterparts from Stansted (UK). Reasons to take part of this programmes varied for those young volunteers (aged 18-25). Hendriets Mayos (23) according to the Global Xchange website was putting the chance to improve her fluency in English language as her first priority, but then she gained more than that. She is also trained to conduct research and how to write press articles. Those are all invaluable experiences for her young age.

I have also browsed to the international volunteers' stories. It is just the kind of blog that would interest people to know more about others' cultures. Ferdousi Begum, a British Muslim can help people to peek into the new globalized world. She said: "My identity of being a British and Bengali Muslim was a big challenge to their perception of what being British means." On the other hand another British who was not familiar with Islamic world gained a new experience in his relation to the Filipino Muslim volunteer.Adam Christopher Tibe said in his story "New Perspective": "Through experiences like these, I have gained more confidence in dealing with different people. Before, Muslim-sounding names frightened me. Seeing Kim (my fellow Filipino Muslim volunteer) then for the first time gave me an eerie feeling. But not anymore. I know better now. I have realised that he is no different from me apart from his religious beliefs."

Those are facts that I've been blessed to know by experiencing a wonderful friendship within the national and international community that I have entered. I once said that I envy the chance opened for youngsters these days, but I do hope that those chances are really open to all youngsters. I hope that these opportunities will be open not only for those who can afford it, or only to those who are very bright and smart, but also for those who are willing to commit on building a better future.

Katherine Orr in her story revealed how she became more mature through her experience in Global Xchange. She said: "I am now assertive, confident, and (more) mature. I am beginning to actually believe in myself and my abilities. And because of this, I was able to write seven English language teaching modules, translate tribal stories and cultural documentation, help put together a project proposal and make toilet bowls. But more importantly, I discovered that I already had the skills to accomplish all these. I just did not realise it until I faced my own demons!" If she, who came from the UK could gain an increase of self confident...then an Indonesian youngster will gain even more. I have just read in Koran Tempo that Anies Baswedan, the sole Indonesian candidate in the Top 100 Public Intellectuals from the Foreign Policy had experienced the AFS' exchange programme. I believe that there will be more and more intercultural dialogues through exchange programmes. The Global Xchange is another way of enhancing the communication between the UK and the world. Hopefully through the Global Xchange programme would also rise the new young leaders just like Anies Baswedan!

1 comment:

Jeffry Siregar said...

I'm sure that Indonesian people who get the chance of this has a good international image because Indonesian people is friendly to others.