By Ika Aliya Kusumawati
“Experience is the best teacher”
Having a lot of experiences will teach us something important to help us become a better person and version of ourselves. Being selected as one of the Fellow SUSIs with the ITD Team is one of my greatest achievements in my life. Many people from my country, especially English teachers, really want to come to an English-speaking country like the USA, to learn many aspects of the US culture, history, education system, and others. Meeting with experts and colleagues from 20 different countries, to learn more from them to improve our skills in teaching, cultures, lifestyle, and others. Having experience in an International Program, especially in the US, helps the teacher to have a better understanding of teaching English as a foreign language based on the real context. Besides, it will help them to improve their skill and network all around the world. Also supporting their college to improve their teaching skill or professional development.
Personally, being selected as a fellow in the SUSI Program is one of the most important journeys in my life to get the real atmosphere of life in an English-speaking country. I will be able to share this experience with my community. Working together to integrate the values of Culture, lifestyle, history, and spirit of the US to be applied in the teaching and learning context of English as Foreign Language. And the most important thing is learning how to respect others. Living for 5 weeks together with the other 19 teachers has built my personality and how I can have a better understanding of other people from different backgrounds and cultures. Practicing my English every day professionally helps me to interact with my students and colleagues by using English effectively not only during the lesson but outside of the classroom. Improving the self-confidence of both teachers and students to communicate using English orally and verbally. Besides, meeting with many qualified speakers during the sessions with interesting topics of lecturing, fun activities, and discussion helped me to get more information about cultures, history, society, women’s movement, pedagogy, and the education system in the US. Having good discussions about any kind of problems we have during our time teaching the students and this discussion really helps me to get many perspectives from different situations.
There are some activities I like and one of them is community service. I was learning about the volunteering activity done by many US societies to serve others. In Lorraine’s Kitchen 10 of the fellows participated to be volunteers in serving food, drink, vegetable, and fruit for people who need it. Meeting with many Americans who donate their money and volunteer themselves by giving their time and energy to make people around them access to their daily needs to support their life and also the spirit of togetherness. Those values make me realize that working together to serve the nation will make the nation become a great nation and make this world a better place for all. Helping my students to initiate volunteering programs at school will give my students a different perspective on learning English by sharing information about volunteering values in the US.
All opinions expressed by the program participants are their own and do not represent nor reflect official views from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, or of the Institute for Training and Development, Inc.