“Kok Bisa Dapat Beasiswa Fulbright?”

Apakah hanya setahun dua tahun persiapan saya untuk beasiswa Fulbright? Lalu, apa saja yang sudah saya persiapkan berupa dokumen-dokumen sebelum mengirimkannya ke kantor AMINEF di Jakarta? Bagaimana pengalaman saya selama proses beasiswa Fulbright? Apa sajakah yang diterima pada saat pelaksaan beasiswa Fulbright? Selama di Amerika Serikat, apa sajakah yang telah saya pelajari? Kegiatan seperti apakah yang perlu kita jalani sebagai penerima beasiswa Fulbright?


Sebagai seorang remaja yang tumbuh kembang di kota Padang, saya selalu memiliki cita-cita besar. Sewaktu SMA, saya diprediksi oleh guru saya di Bimbel GAMA Padang bahwa nilai passing grade saya bisa mencapai masuk ke jurusan Hubungan Internasional di Universitas Padjajaran di Bandung. Namun, karena satu dan lain hal, saya akhirnya memilih jurusan Sastra Inggris di Universitas Andalas. Alhamdulillah, saya lulus diterima di universitas tersebut pada tahun 2003. Saya bersyukur bisa berkuliah di Universitas Andalas dan bisa menyelesaikan program studi tingkat sarjana dengan nilai IPK yang Sangat Memuaskan, berikut berbagai prestasi akademis tingkat nasional. Di saat kuliah di Universitas Andalas, saya menerima Bantuan Beasiswa Mahasiswa (selama dua semester di tahun akademik pertama), pernah menerima beasiswa Supersemar, dan beasiswa Peningkatan Prestasi Akademik (PPA) dari tahun ke dua kuliah hingga saya menyelesaikan kuliah di tahun 2007. Sewaktu kuliah di Universitas Andalas, ada keinginan untuk menjadi Dosen. Saya merasa senang dengan dosen-dosen yang ada di jurusan Sastra Inggris – Universitas Andalas. Saya pun terinspirasi untuk studi lanjut ke luar negeri. Waktu itu, saya berpikir bahwa di negara mana saja tidak apa-apa, yang penting luar negeri. Tak terbayang pada akhirnya saya studi lanjut ke Amerika Serikat. Negara yang katanya super power itu. Di sini cerita kehidupan saya selanjutnya menjadi berbeda, namun banyak pembelajaran serta pengalaman yang sangat berharga.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Mengapa Beasiswa Fulbright?

Keinginan untuk studi lanjut ke luar negeri untuk tingkat magister sebenarnya telah saya pupuk sejak studi di tingkat sarjana. Pada waktu kuliah di Universitas Andalas, saya merasa senang dan cocok dengan kampus tersebut. Akhirnya, saya berhasil meraih prestasi sebagai Mahasiswa Berprestasi Utama kategori Ilmu Pengetahuan Sosial (IPS) yang diseleksi oleh Rektor Universitas Andalas dan Dewan Penyantun Universitas Andalas di tahun 2006. Saya melamar berbagai beasiswa, termasuk AusAid atau ADS (Australian Development Scholarships), beasiswa Dikti, dan beasiswa Fulbright. Pada awalnya, saya kurang begitu yakin diterima di Amerika Serikat, malahan justru saya ingin ke Australia. Ibarat rezeki, sebagai orang Muslim, tentu saya meyakini bahwa rezeki ditentukan oleh Allah SWT. Ternyata, saya berjodoh dengan beasiswa Fulbright.

Dengan demikian, jawaban dari pertanyaan ini adalah bahwa ternyata beasiswa Fulbright adalah beasiswa yang sangat dihormati di negeri Paman Sam tersebut, dan bahkan di seluruh dunia mengenali nama beasiswa Fulbright. Banyak peraih Nobel yang ternyata adalah bagian dari keluarga besar Fulbright. Ada rasa bangga ketika saya dinyatakan lulus untuk menerima beasiswa Fulbright. Apakah hanya setahun dua tahun persiapan saya untuk beasiswa Fulbright? Lalu, apa saja yang sudah saya persiapkan berupa dokumen-dokumen sebelum mengirimkannya ke kantor AMINEF di Jakarta? Bagaimana pengalaman saya selama proses beasiswa Fulbright? Apa sajakah yang diterima pada saat pelaksaan beasiswa Fulbright? Selama di Amerika Serikat, apa sajakah yang telah saya pelajari? Kegiatan seperti apakah yang perlu kita jalani sebagai penerima beasiswa Fulbright? Pertanyaan-pertanyaan ini akan saya jawab melalui tiga video-video yang ada di bawah ini. Silakan disimak ya… Videonya berdurasi cukup lama, yaitu berkisar 1 jam, namun saya yakin akan sangat berguna bagi siapa saja yang juga ingin studi lanjut ke Amerika Serikat.

Berbagi Informasi dan Pengalaman

Part 1 berisi informasi mendasar tentang program beasiswa yang ditawarkan oleh AMINEF (American Indonesian Exchange Foundation).
Part 2 berisi informasi tentang bagaimana mengisi Fulbright Application Form, serta berbagi pengalaman berharga selama berada di USA dalam rangka studi lanjut tingkat magister.
Part 3 berisi informasi tentang apa-apa saja yang telah saya persiapkan di dalam proses seleksi beasiswa Fulbright, berikut beberapa contoh prestasi yang saya miliki untuk memberi nilai tambah ke aplikasi beasiswa saya.

Penutup

Beasiswa Fulbright pada dasarnya adalah beasiswa dari pemerintah Amerika Serikat. Beasiswa ini sangat dihormati di negeri tersebut. Negara-negara lainnya juga menghargai penerima beasiswa Fulbright ini. Peraih beasiswa Fulbright pada unsur tertentu perlu memiliki keunikan tersendiri, yang berdasarkan panitia seleksi, selain memenuhi persyaratan yang diminta, juga memiliki nilai tambah berupa kepemimpinan, seperti pengalaman organisasi, atau prestasi lainnya di luar studi formal, yang memberi nilai tambah sebagai seorang ilmuwan.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Bagi siapa saya yang ingin melamar beasiswa Fulbright, perlu diingat bahwa persyaratan perlu dipenuhi, sesuai dengan tingkatan studi yang akan dilamar, atau sesuai dengan program yang akan diikuti. Selain itu, disarankan harus ada nilai tambah yang kita maksudkan di dalam aplikasi lamaran beasiswa kita. Di tahap interview, perlu menjelaskan komponen beasiswa dengan baik serta lugas ke panitia seleksi.

Semoga lamaran beasiswa Anda ke Fulbright bisa sukses dan berhasil. Bila mau berdiskusi atau seandainya ada pertanyaan yang berkaitan dengan pengalaman saya di dalam menerima beasiswa Fulbright, silakan dituliskan pertanyaan atau poin diskusi di bagian komentar di bawah ini. Terima kasih. 🙂

Catatan: Untuk informasi lebih lanjut dan akurat tentang Beasiswa Fulbright, silakan kunjungi situs AMINEF, yang dapat diakses di link berikut ini: https://www.aminef.or.id/

Kenangan Itu: Tari Rantak di Amerika Serikat saat Studi S2


Tulisan ini adalah sebuah cerita. Tentang pengalaman. Tentang kepercayaan diri. Tentang sebuah kebanggaan pribadi yang dipersembahkan untuk bangsa dan tanah air tercita.

Kenangan Itu ~

Saat ini, tanggal 7 Maret 2019. Telah lama, memang. Masih terngiang suasana di ruangan itu, pada malam itu, saat aku akan tampil di sebuah Malam Internasional di kampus tempatku menuntut ilmu. Suasana begitu ramai, tapi formal, dan teratur. Kampus Southern Illinois University Edwardsville di Amerika Serikat.

Kulihat di depan, ada sebuah panggung. Tempat di mana aku akan menampilkan tari itu. Tari Rantak. Tari tradisional yang berasal dari dan dikenal luas di kalangan masyarakat Minangkabau. Entah apa yang membuatku begitu semangat untuk menampilkan tari ini. Ada semacam semangat. Gelora. Keberanian. Itu semua terasa olehku pada saat tampil di sana. Ah, ini telah 7 tahun lamanya.

Setiap kali kupandang dan kulihat video itu, aku bertanya dalam pikiran, “Hey, maukah kamu seperti itu lagi?” Jawabku, “Entahlah…” Meski waktu itu aku beranikan diri untuk belajar otodidak menampilkan tari Minang. Jujur, aku tak pernah belajar menari. Biasalah, dulu itu, bila kamu laki-laki dan belajar menari, kamu dipanggil banci. Ternyata, tidak sama sekali. Bullying yang kalah. Untuk apa aku dengarkan?

Mungkin bila boleh aku share, kok bisa aku naik ke panggung itu? Aku bukan penari khusus untuk acara internasional. Aku bukan anak muda yang mungkin tidak dipersiapkan untuk itu. Namun, kuakui, daya pendorong utama adalah ini: “Ma, Pa, lihat… San tampil di dunia! Membawa harum budaya Minangkabau! Dari sudut kecil di Indonesia!” Di hatiku, rasa itu begitu kuat dan kencang.

Dan sekarang, telah 7 tahun lamanya. Suasana yang masih terasa di hati dan terngiang di telinga. Lucunya, meski di hati ada rasa bangga ber-Minangkabau, ada juga yang menggeledek, “Iko di Minang ko!” Kutatap matanya, seperti ia tidak pernah mengenal orang lain saja. Di KTP, mungkin aku terlahir di Bandung, tepatnya Garut, Jawa Barat, namun ibuku adalah orang Minangkabau asli. Sungguh, sebuah kesemena-menaan bila tempat lahir dijadikan patokan untuk menilai sesama. Bila itu di Indonesia, maka ia adalah orang Indonesia. Hanya saja, cintakah ia ke Indonesia?

Bila diingat lagi, waktu terasa begitu singat kala itu. Terima kasih buat Ruth, Jake, Illona, Doddy, dan semua teman-teman internasional yang ada di SIUe. Ahmad, Nadeem, dan semuanya yang tak tersebutkan satu per satu. Thank you so much, guys! Your presence is so precious at those times.

Akankah aku tampil seperti di atas lagi? Aku tidak tahu, tapi mungkin aku ingin anak-anak muda lainnya yang menampilkan seni tari dan musik tradisional Indonesia di panggung dunia.

Ah, aku ini siapa. Ada beribu cerita yang hendak ingin kusampaikan. Yuk, merapat. Akan kuceritakan padamu arti dari Cinta yang Tak Biasa 🙂

Cinta yang menggelora, meski dalam wujudnya tak pernah ada, karena hanya mata hati yang bening, yang selalu memahaminya…

Tetap, apapun itu, aku masih cinta Indonesia.

Aku ingin membawa Indonesia ke mata dunia. Akankah itu terwujud? Wallahua’lam bi shawab. Hanya Tuhan yang Maha Esa yang lebih tahu. Aamiin.

Padang, 7 Maret 2019.

Syayid Sandi Sukandi

Fulbright – An Example of Study Objective (2010) for Indonesian Applications


My friends in Indonesia asked me several questions dealing with how they should write a good Study Objective for the 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
Master’s Degree

Study Objective
I am interested to study for 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 in 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 the 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 classes. 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 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 is 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 aspects 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 to 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 as 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 in 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.

Fulbright: International Night at SIUE 2011


It was the first time I joined this event to take part in Flag Show and Cultural Show of International Night at SIUE 2011. Many thanks given to ISC and International Students Services Officers for giving this great chance and opportunities. Please how happy we were in this International Night 2011. This was only students activities but the meaning was directed to the world. The world. We love peace and great friendship. For everyone..! Cheers..!

Japan, China, Brazil, Morocco, and Indonesia

Ruth Sumule and I were in the Flag Show for International Night

Indonesia, China, and Morrocco Flag (Me, Anni Huang, and Jaouad Naji)

Happy times for the Flag Show..

Flag Show people.. ^_^

International Night Event (representative from all over the world)

Ruth Sumule and I were in Indonesian outfit

Smile and Cheers..!

Closing session of the International Night 2011

Fulbright: Indonesian Booth in International Week of SIUE 2011


International Student Council of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) had conducted an event called International Week. Ruth Sumule and I had organized our booth called Indonesian Booth.

Ruth Sumule in our Indonesian booth (Smile Uthe...!)

This is me! Smile...! I am in Indonesian Booth 🙂

 

This is me again...! You know what, many American students were curious to know Indonesian cultures. But, we are only two students! Thanks Uthe for our good teamwork! 🙂

 

Pelin and me. Pelin is from Turkey. She is doing in her Ph.D in SIUE. (Hi, Pelin..! How are you?)

 

It's the general layout of International Booth before opening time.. in MUC of SIUE! 🙂

 

I am standing in the booth of African American Students! Hi, folks!

 

Stil..in the booth of African Students Association.. ^_^

 

Uthe in the booth pf African Students Association

 

Me and Mary Lynn were standing in Pakistan's booth (Well, Mary and I were not in that "relationship" yow..so, no misinterpretation. We're just in a good companionship)

 

Mary Linn, Nadeem Afzlal, and I were in the booth of Muslim Students Association in SIUE

 

Standing in the booth of Nepal (She is cute, isn't she?) 😛

 

Standing in the booth of Iran

 

Ruth Sumule and I were standing in the booth of Iran

 

I was sitting next to a guy in the booth of Italy. He is from Venice. (Gosh, I forgot his name..)

Overall, this International Week in the form International Booth was so amazing for me. I learnt a lot of things from the country. Friendship and togetherness with other countries are in a great demand nowadays. Therefore, building strong and good friendship are a must! No more war, please..! It’s time for us to live in a great harmony.

For ISC, you guys did a great job. Thanks for opening a space to open a booth for my country, Indonesia.

Best for you, always!