It’a all about people. It’s about Networking and being nice to people and not burning any bridges – Mike Davidson
Social networking sites like MySpace, Friendster, and Facebook have literally exploded in popularity in just a few short years – Mike Fitzpatrick
The word “social networking” here means that connection to people that we have in the society. At the time I had done the qualifying exams, I was so worried about the result. First, I never faced those types of examination. I never had the TOEFL-iBT test before so I was a bit nervous. Second, I never did any GRE test before so I had no idea how to handle the nervous that I faced. In order to cut this kind of feeling, I contacted all new friends that I had met during the selection process. Besides, I also contact them whenever they have new information about their application.
When I attended the TOEF-iBT test, I stayed in Hotel Alia Cikini, East Jakarta. All the costs that I had to pay for this test was covered and arranged by AMINEF. The cost of the ticket from Padang to Jakarta and Jakarta to Padang was paid by AMINEF. AMINEF also paid the cost that I had to pay for staying in Hotel Alia Cikini. I was so happy to face that experience. Staying in a four star hotel and having delicious breakfast as well as sleeping in a nice bed were so unforgettable for me. For some people, these might be a common thing to face but for me, these things were adorable. Well, at night, I tried to study about this TOEFL-iBT test and in the following day, I had to attend TOEFL-iBT test in Mangga Dua, Jakarta. I still remember when Mbak Isye told me, “You have to make yourself familiar with this test”. When I heard she was saying that, I did not really catch what she meant but two days after that, I started to learn the TOEFL-iBT. She was encouraging me to learn this test. Because this test was conducted in a computer, I had to get used to use computer. Unfortunately, I did not have any computer but only a small laptop (HP Mini). Nevertheless, whatever the condition was, I had to do my best.
Then, after taking the TOEFL-iBT test, I had to take the GRE test. This test, for me, was such a nightmare! The computer system which made me “have to be correct all the time” in the first question had made me so “scared”. This test had three sections; writing, verbal, and quantitative. Despite this test was easy to face because it was performed in a computer, still, the system of “the first question must be correct” had made this test as a nightmare for many prospective graduate students. Fortunate enough, I had tried my best in this test although the score was “almost” good. Am I feeling ashamed to tell this? No. For me, a test could not guarantee a student’s ability in performing his or her study in the graduate degree but it was used only as a measurement. Now, after I am studying in SIUE, so far, I did not have worst score in the courses that I am taking now (Fall semester 2011). By the way, it depends. I am taking Master’s degree in English (Teaching of Writing/Rhetoric and Composition) in SIUE; therefore, GRE did not really represent my ability in this field. For other departments, such as Chemistry, Mathematics, or any Science major, GRE test will take place as a major consideration for admission by the university, including SIUE.
Then, what is the relationship between these tests and the social networking? The answer is practically simple. When you do not know anything how to solve the problem that you face during the selection process, you have your friends as a place for you to ask. Nelly Martin, who is taking her Ph.D in SLA program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, created a Facebook account for Indonesian Fulbright Scholars 2011 for all selected applicants across the archipelago – all over Indonesia – but only for those who were selected for 2011 term. This network was important. I could not imagine if I did not follow the current development of others I would probably be left. Sometimes, they talked about common good things and sometimes, they talked about the progress of their application. If you are selected to take part in this Fulbright scholarship, please also remember that, you are not alone in facing this scholarship. There are many of Indonesian students who want to get this opportunity. By having them as your friends in Facebook account is a good idea. What I did was adding these new folks into my Facebook account. Facebook is a social networking tool so there is nothing wrong with using it for some purposes that might be useful for you and for your friends too. You can send them message directly without necessarily sending email anymore and you can ask or discuss about particular process that you might face but you do not know how to face that or you do not have people to ask about it. Typically, you could also ask AMINEF Officer about questions that you do not know the answers but sometimes, the response were not that fast because they also have other things to do in the office, such as handling hundreds of Fulbright applicants every year. However, technology has made things more practical and easier for us, as long as we use it for positive purposes. Take an advantage of it or lose it.
This writing is intended for Indonesian students who might be interested in pursuing higher studies (M.A or Ph.D) in the United States under the Fulbright scholarship. In Indonesia, this scholarship is organized by AMINEF (American Indonesian Exchange Foundation). Once you are admitted in this scholarship program, you will be taken care by IIE (Institute of International Education) in New York. If you are selected, you will have to do two things: First, pursue your study seriously and get good grades at the school in which you are enrolled in; Second, be active to take part in cultural activities on campus or in the United States to promote cultures of your country. This second thing is compulsory; therefore, it is expected that you need to do cross communication with American students to expand mutual understanding of two different countries. This is the main aspect of being a Fulbright scholar. After the period of your study, you should go back home to study and