My friends in Indonesia asked me several questions dealing with how they should write a good Study Objective for Fulbright scholarship. For the purpose of sharing what I wrote for my application and helping them to achieve a better result for them, I decided to share my study objective in this blog. After learning and studying in the United States for about two years in the Master’s degree, I found many tremendous achievements I reach both as a writer and as a teacher of English. Here is my Study Objective that I sent to AMINEF in 2010. For your information, I did not revise this document because I want you to see how I change and improve myself in terms of writing clearly in English (not just grammar correctness).
Syayid Sandi Sukandi
I am interested to study in a master’s degree in the field of English language and literature in the United States. The concentration within the field is Composition and Rhetoric. It is relevant to my educational background—Bachelor’s degree in English language and literature—and to the needs of the college where I am currently working. A master’s degree program will provide me with more in-depth learning and advanced training so that I will have the expertise I need inside and outside the academic world. Indeed, a master’s degree will enhance my academic qualifications and help me gain professional development as an English lecturer in STKIP PGRI Sumatera Barat.
In STKIP PGRI Sumatera Barat, I teach English subjects. The subjects are Writing I (Paragraph development) and Writing II (Essay writing), Translation I (English-Indonesian translation) and Translation II (Indonesian-English translation), Cross-Cultural Understanding, Speaking III (Speech), and English Correspondence. Recently, I have a plan to teach other subjects as well, such as Introduction to Literature, Reading Comprehension, Public Speaking, and Academic Writing. Since I do not possess a master’s degree, the chances to realize the plan are still out of reach. Therefore, a master’s degree program in English language and literature will surely improve my knowledge base in those subjects so that I can realize the abovementioned plan.
In the master’s degree program, I will focus my study on Composition and Rhetoric. This is because the college needs lecturers who have academic skills and experience in all kinds of writing or rhetorical situations. The future objective for this is when I have accomplished my master’s degree program; I will take responsibility as an English lecturer whose specialization is writing. Besides, I will be involved as a member of the editorial board in the research unit of the college. The task of the unit is checking and revising the language of research articles before they are published in academic journals. Considering these goals, I am sure that the skill and experience that I will receive in a master’s degree program in the United States will not only aid my academic development but also empower me to achieve the goals.
The head of the English department and Chairperson of the college have encouraged me to pursue a master’s degree by focusing on composition and rhetoric in English. They officially want me to serve as one of the trainers in the program of Professional Teacher Education (PTE) in 2011 to teach subjects related to Writing in the college. The program itself is conducted under the regulation of the Directorate of Higher Education of Indonesia. Therefore, I need to have a good understanding of composition and rhetoric in order to be admitted as a trainer in the program. Composition and Rhetoric will be a considerable emphasis to the overall program of my study in the master’s degree so that I am eligible to perform the best work in the program and effective in training the students who participate in it.
Regarding this Fulbright scholarship program in particular, I want to obtain a master ’s degree of English language and literature in the United States not only because it is an English speaking country but also because it has an excellent reputation for quality of education. As an Indonesian, I believe that studying English in the United States can help me acquire greater fluency in the English language, which, in turn, will help my future students. When I come back to Indonesia after successfully completing my study, I will have a better understanding of English as both a field of study and a communicative tool. In addition, I will understand the cultural values of daily life in the United States. These values, then, can be shared with my students in the college in order to help them better understand the importance of cross-cultural understanding.
An additional thing that I want to learn in the United States is to know and understand how American students learn in their class. In this case, I would love to share the knowledge of Indonesian cultures with students in the United States. This activity will positively contribute to my personal experience as a lecturer and this kind of experience is really a rewarding one for me. When I have understood how the American students learn, I would like to apply the positive sides that I have seen in the United States to my students in STKIP PGRI Sumatera Barat. I hope that a better improvement of cross-cultural understanding between the students of Indonesia and of the United States can be properly maintained after doing the above thing.
To sum up, studying English language and literature with Composition and Rhetoric as its focus in the United States will give me many great insights that I can develop and apply in the college after finishing my master’s degree. Conducting research dealing with students’ ability in composing academic writing and sharing a well-shaped concept of English and American cultures with my students will benefit them in their university lives and in the future. I also hope to enhance and promote the future or long-term objectives of STKIP PGRI Sumatera Barat as one of Indonesia’s important educational assets. In the end, a Fulbright scholarship will help me ensure the future development of Indonesia’s students and teachers.
From what you can read above, you can see that I tend to compose my ideas on grammatical aspect too much. As a result, I did not let my ideas out on paper. Perhaps, this very aspect was the thing that created a gap between me as a student of English as a foreign language with most Americans who are, of course, native speakers of English. Now, after learning Writing in the United States, I am able to use my own linguistic abilities to argue and even compose my own ideas in writing – truly with my own “voice”. Writing in English has become one of the joyful experiences I have in me. Every time I read a book, I could hear someone is saying something to me through his or her works. Besides, I also learned how to engage with American and international students in the classrooms in order to see how they argue and think as well as react about different things.
To be honest, I did not travel a lot around the United States due to several circumstances, but by reading, I can have a thorough comprehension of this country. It turned out that being an American is not as easy as being an Indonesian. America is so complex in lots of aspects, especially after the influence of European settlements in history, the riot of civil wars between “white” and “black” people, and the political interests of this country over other countries that might not be interpreted well enough, given the barrier in language. I am also aware of how Americans frame certain ideas in English because, sometimes, what they intend is the same with mine, but because of the language barrier, the same intention is not translated well across different types of English language users on the globe.
For my friends who want to apply for this Fulbright scholarship, please remember that this country is not as singular as your country, Indonesia, especially on the basis of race. In this country, you cannot call others based on how they look. You need to respect one another. You also need to be respected by others, equally. I thought that I would see blonde and light skin people all around, instead, I see people even within the same color as I am – Asian American. Therefore, I cannot judge others on the basis of skin colors in the United States. Also, religion-wise, you will see the reality of how people see your religion through different lenses. Since I am a Muslim, I know that not so many people in the United States know clearly what Islam is. If I accidentally meet people who disrespect it, I tend to explain to them that what they did was disrespectful. If they still do things that harm me emotionally, then I will better go and leave them, for good. The more you understand this country, the more you will see that basically, people everywhere are the same. What makes them different is what came to them for the first time. My point is: before you came to this country, please be prepared mentally and socially. Never lose yourself as an Indonesian because they basically want to know you more, individually, because you are the “chosen” people from both countries. They also want to know more about your country through you. Sharing what you know to the best you can is a good thing to do. In spite of that, do something as you need. You do not need to do things that do not resemble yourself. If you do not eat pork, for example, tell them. If you do not drink alcohol, inform them. They will respect what you believe and choose. However, always set your studies as a priority. In my case, if I let myself drowned on traveling too much, I will end up learning nothing for my professionalism, especially since I focus on the Teaching of Writing. Without practicing Writing, never dream to reach a point where you can write, deeply on “your style.” I think I have achieved it now. In years ahead, I hope I can write my books. 🙂
Good Luck with your applications. Oh, before I forget, please remember that the living costs in the United States are high. Sometimes, this situation does influence your mood to learn and study. All the best to you!
2013 – A Year of Achievements and of Learning the Beauty.