AIYA Nusa Tenggara Timur and the Kupang-based Eastern Indonesian Student Foreign Relations Association (MITRA) jointly held the International Opportunities for Youth information seminar at Nusa Cendana University (UNDANA) in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara last Saturday.
The seminar ran smoothly with many inspiring East Nusa Tenggara youth brought together as key note speakers to present and share a range of information about national and international youth opportunities. About 120 seminar attendees joined the presentations of 14 East Nusa Tenggara youth who divulged information about national and international youth exchange programs, leadership programs, internships, conferences and youth forums.
The seminar’s main purpose was to provide information for the youth of East Indonesia, particularly East Nusa Tenggara, who have an interest in seeking global exchange opportunities and scholarships for study and internships. The seminar aimed to be a highly beneficial source for all youth opportunity seekers. As Stefanus Parera, the head of the organising committee, noted on the day, the importance of youth involvement in such opportunities does not merely contribute to youth empowerment, but also enhance the ability of youth to provide a contribution to the development of their society.
The seminar commenced with an information session about AIYA from the Vice President of AIYA NTT, Yunita Reni Bani Bili. In her presentation, Reni explained how AIYA exists in NTT as a platform for the youth of NTT to engage with the Australian and Indonesian bilateral relationship, and how they can develop intercultural and mutual understanding between the youth of both countries.
This was followed by a presentation from Diyanti Koroh about the University Building Relationship through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement (UniBRIDGE) Project. Diyanti first spoke on how the UniBRIDGE project exists as a partnership program between Nusa Cendana University and several universities in Australia such as the University of the Sunshine Coast and the University of New England, and how it can benefit the youth of NTT through an online learning platform which enables both Australian and Indonesian youth to connect, communicate and share their cultures and languages.
The following information session featured contributions from Forum Indonesia Muda (FIM) and Young Leaders for Indonesia, both leadership programs for Indonesian youth; the Medical Student Exchange of University of Tasmania; Be a Young Hero on Disasters (BEYOND ASEAN), a forum for ASEAN youth passionate about disaster preparation and mitigation, as well as members of the Asia Pacific Week Conference at the Australian National University in Canberra. In this session, panel speakers highlighted the important role of youth engaging with their respective communities upon completion of each program.
A scholarship information session from Australia Awards Scholarship (AAS) alumni and Lembaga Pengelola Dana Pendidikan (LPDP) Scholarship awardees was also one of the most anticipated sessions in the seminar. Australia Awards scholarship alumni Leni Amelia Suek and Marselinus Ulu Fahik gave deep insights about the scholarship program, explaining the application process and providing tips and tricks to obtain this prestigious scholarship. Both Leni and Selus stressed the importance of preparation in leading to an applicant’s success across the selection process. They stated that before applying, an applicant must set goals, make a ‘to do’ list and take action.
Following the Australia Awards presentation was a section on the LPDP Scholarship information session from two current awardees, Albert Christian Soewongsono and Maria Febriani Seran. As the session progressed both speakers provided thoughtful advice for prospective scholarship applicants as they placed emphasis on the readiness of applicants as the most important aspect of the entire process. Getting to know the stages of the selection process before applying is extremely helpful for applicants.
Other youth opportunities also presented in the seminar included: the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association Australia-Indonesia Pastoral Student Program, an internship program for students majoring in animal husbandry; MITRA Association; CAMP EPIC U.S. Embassy program, a pre-service teacher training camp for future English teachers in Indonesia and Timor Leste; International Youth Exchange Programs, specifically the Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program (AIYEP) and the Indonesia China Youth Exchange program (ICHYEP); and Model United Nations.
The seminar was conducted with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) and the Australian Government, the Australia-Indonesia Institute and the Australia-Indonesia Centre, and collaboration between Nusa Cendana University (UNDANA) and Forum Indonesia Muda (FIM) Sasandu NTT.