Danis Sriwijaya participated in the NWCCI program in 2013-14, studying project management at Edmonds Community College. Here he writes about the project he works for now and how he is contributing to poverty alleviation in Indonesia. He also shares his favorite memories from the CCI program, an update on the traveling he’s doing now (we’re all jealous!), and discusses why cultural exchanges are important. Best of all, he shares some of his photography to demonstrate the double exposure style he learned while in the United States.
For more details check out his former blog post about his winter break travels in the United States.
How are you using what you learned on the NWCCI program in your work now?
I am working for KOMPAK which is an Australia-Indonesia Government partnership working to reduce poverty in Indonesia by supporting the Government of Indonesia (GoI) to improve basic services and economic opportunities for the poor and vulnerable. I am working under the accessible and quality services (AQS) work stream. I support the delivery of these programs and projects coordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs and BAPPENAS of Republic of Indonesia, and maintain good relations with these stakeholders.
On a day to day basis I am responsible for organizing a range of program activities and events, monitoring project schedules, developing budgets, preparing progress reports, and liaising with key stakeholders. I can do all those things because I have knowledge that I got when I was in the USA taking project management certificate through CCI program. The Project Management I & II classes that I took at Edmonds Community College directly apply to my work.
Tell us about the Australian Aid project you are working on. What do you hope to accomplish? What inspired you to want to do this type of work?
In KOMPAK, I support the Head of Sub-districts Training module which will be scaled up into national training funded by National Budget called APBN. The training is designed for the Head of Sub-districts and deputies to improve basic services and sustainable livelihood interventions for the poor and vulnerable in their territory. We have done a training need assessment (TNA), and designed the curriculum and module itself. Now we are going to train the head of sub-district and hopefully they can produce innovative proposals to improve basic services in their territory
The reason I am involved in this training is because this head of sub-districts Training module is a fresh and new thing. Many people cannot get access to basic services such as legal identity documents, water sanitation, health and education. By my giving those training to head of sub-district, they can improve quality and increase access for services in their territory. They also can design innovative proposals to district government to reduce poverty. It is my small contribution to my country in through the poverty alleviation program.
In your opinion, why are cultural exchange programs valuable?
Cultural exchange is priceless because you learn to understand how to deal with people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and languages. You will learn about life and if you are lucky it can be your turning point to the next step of your life. I mean if you can take advantages of cultural exchange by spending time to learn and interact with international students and native people, if you just interact with people from your country you waste your life moment, since you can do that in your country.
What is your favorite memory from your time on the CCI program?
My backpacker experience during winter time in the end of 2013, during which I traveled almost 1,500 miles through 11 cities and 10 states in 27 days is my favorite memory (I started in Chicago and ended in Boston). It was a life learning experience that will never be repeated again. I accomplished many difficulties during my traveling such as, traveling in freezing temperature (-2.2 F), very exhausted cause walking long distance, running out of money in the last week of trip and etc. Fortunately, I learned a lot about travel planning, not panicking in difficult situations, understanding different accents, having friendship, taking good photographs, and life itself. I just spent around $1,100 for the entire trip. It’s amazing travelling because those experience make me really tough now when facing problems.
Have you traveled outside your home country since the CCI program ended? Where did you go and how did that experience compare to your time in the United States?
Yes, I did. I traveled from Malaysia to Vietnam by land transportation for 14 days which cost around $375. This travelling is easier compared to my travelling time in the USA. I just had different challenges in this trip. I did not plan anything, just traveled spontaneously. I did not book tickets from point to point, just went to bus or train stations. I also did not book any hostels, I just walked and found them. I met many friends during my time but lost my lovely Blackberry old phone when I was in Cambodia. This year I am planning to travel in Europe or South Asia for a month.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by the student bloggers.