|In charge: The Peace Corps volunteers take the vow in Swear-In Ceremony, Wednesday (3/6).|
COOPERATION between University of Muhammadiyah Malang (UMM) with the international service organization of United States (US) “Peace Corps” has come to its sixth year. Every year, this non-profit organization which established by President of US John F. Kennedy, sends volunteers to participate the Pre-Service Training (PST) at UMM. At last, there are 64 volunteers initiated as successfully participated the training and are ready to serve the society.
As the short-course over, the volunteers were initiated in the Swear-In and Closing Ceremony at UMM Dome, Wednesday (3/6). The event was held with the presence of the General Consulate of United States (Konjen AS) of Surabaya, Joaquin Monserrate, the Director of Politics and Communication of Bappenas, Wariki Sutikno, Country Director of Peace Corps Indonesia, and all the “new families” of the volunteers.
“We would like to show our deepest gratitude to the US Government and Peace Corps for trusting UMM as the host of PST for consecutively 6 years,” said the Assistant Rector of Cooperation Affair, Drs. Soeparto, M.Pd.
According to him, UMM is the only Indonesian University which provides training for Peace Corps volunteers. “We share the same purpose to bring international atmosphere here at UMM,” he said. He stated that the existence of Peace Corps at UMM strengthen the internationalization of UMM. “If we are capable in gaining the official institution’s trust, there would be no doubt that we are able to gain another one from the other institution,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, Wariki observed that there are lots of benefits provided by this Peace Corp program. “From the six-years monitoring administered by the government, it can be concluded that there are many benefits gained by the educational institution where the volunteers teach and also the family and society of the places where they stay,” he informed.
Concurred with Wariki, Joaquin stated that Peace Corps can be the way to establish relationship between Indonesia and US. “For all the volunteers, enjoy your duty,” she added while officially dismissing the volunteers who were assigned to teach English in isolated area of East and West Java.
One of the volunteers, Jodin Tejade, shared her first experience during the 10 weeks training in Batu. Her Asian face is always confusing people that would consider her as Indonesian. “My mother is from Philippine and my father is from America,” she said. She also talked about her experience about not paying any rupiahs for riding the public transportation (angkot). “I have only being asked by the driver to smile,” she recounted in fluent Bahasa Indonesia.
Regarding the benefits that Peace Corps provides, she admitted that by joining this program, she learned a lot of things about the languages and culture of Indonesia. I love being here,” she chirped. (zul/nas/t_far)