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

 

 

Pasca Studi di Luar Negeri: Siapkah Indonesia dengan Tuntutan Zaman?


AcademicMemiliki pengalaman studi di luar negeri adalah pengalaman berharga yang bisa diraih oleh seorang pemuda Indonesia. Bukan saja karena studi di luar negeri membutuhkan persiapan yang matang, studi di negara orang lain juga membutuhkan kebulatan tekad untuk mencapai apa yang dicita-citakan. Terkadang muncul sebuah pertanyaan, apakah yang akan dibawa oleh pemuda-pemudi Indonesia setelah kembali studi dari negara orang lain tersebut? Berikut ini saya akan memaparkan, mungkin tidak banyak, tentang tantangan dan kesempatan yang saya alami sekembali dari Amerika Serikat untuk mengikuti program pendidikan tingkat pasca-sarjana, S2 di Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Tantangan pertama yang dihadapi adalah pandangan pujian, sekaligus skeptis dari beberapa lulusan dalam negeri yang bekerja di beberapa perguruan tinggi di daerah. Artinya, pandangan pujian selalu datang dari insan cendekia yang memang bisa menghargai prestasi akademik orang lain berskala internasional dan pandangan skeptis berasal dari individu-individu yang merasa iri dengan kelebihan orang lain, dan sedapat mungkin untuk menjatuhkan si pemuda atau pemudi yang studi di luar negeri tersebut. Hal ini memang rasanya tidak masuk akal, namun tentu menjadi kendala yang sangat unik untuk pengembangan Indonesia ke depan.

Tantangan ke dua yang dihadapi adalah berkaitan dengan hal administratif. Tidak sedikit yang komplain mengenai penyetaraan ijazah, namun bagi saya pribadi itu baik, sepanjang hal administratif ini bertujuan untuk proses “mengakui” ijazah luar negeri tersebut. Jika saya perhatikan, sistem pendidikan luar negeri, lebih terfokus sehingga pola pendidikan tinggi di negara tersebut telah mementingkan proses belajar daripada hasil atau produk yang bisa dihasilkan. Selain penyetaraan ijazah, tantangan lainnya adalah mengenai jabatan akademik, fungsional, dan golongan. Tiga hal ini  harus diurus sedemikian rupa terlebih dahulu, baru hak sebagai dosen diperoleh. Terkadang, urusan sertifikasi dosen pun belum tentu mengalami proses yang mulus, malah berliku-liku, alias data di forlap belum ter-update dan sistem online Indonesia yang masih belum se-update yang ada di negara-negara maju. Akibatnya, dosen yang benar-benar fokus kepada kegiatan akademis terkendala karena urusan administratif seperti ini.

Tantangan ke tiga berkaitan dengan tuntutan studi di luar negeri. Jika anda menamatkan pendidikan tingkat S2 di luar negeri, maka besar kemungkinan anda wajib studi di luar negeri untuk tingkat S3. Pertanyaannya adalah, studi di luar negeri tidak semudah studi di dalam negeri. Ada proses berliku dan ala kelok sembilan yang harus dihadapi untuk bisa studi di luar negeri. Apakah sama tantangan yang dihadapi ketika seseorang studi di universitas ternama di luar negeri dengan persyaratan yang mendunia, sementara di dalam negeri, persyaratan yang sama tidak diberikan pada level yang sama? Selain itu, proses untuk bisa diterima S3 pun tidak semudah yang dibayangkan. Jika sebuah Perguruan Tinggi memang berdedikasi untuk memajukan kualitas pendidikannya, maka PT tersebut tidak hanya mendorong dosennya untuk S3, tapi juga harus konsisten dalam hal membantu dosen tersebut menamatkan studinya tepat waktu dan dengan kualitas yang baik. Jika dosen tersebut dibiarkan saja sendiri menghadapi segala tantangan yang dihadapi di luar negeri, maka amat disayangkan jika banyak lulusan luar negeri dari sebuah PT ingin pindah dari PT tersebut karena apa yang mereka butuhkan tidak terdapat di sana.

Selain tantangan, kesempatan juga ada setelah studi di luar negeri. Kesempatan yang ada adalah pemenuhan publikasi di jurnal internasional. Oleh karena lulusan luar negeri memang di-design untuk memenuhi kebutuhan internasional, maka kesempatan publikasi jurnal internasional terbuka untuk mereka. Namun, di saat yang sama, administrasi di Indonesia pun kembali mengganggu, seperti, aspek linearitas, karena sistem penelitian di Indonesia belum lagi inter-study. Di Indonesia, linearitas dikenal untuk gelar S1, S2, dan S3 yang bidangnya sama (nah, ini berat lho, nggak gampang). Penelitian jadi lebih terfokus, itu bagus, hanya saja, sayangnya peneliti sering stuck dan bosan mengkaji yang sama terus-menerus. Jika bidangnya Teaching, maka penelitiannya tentang Teaching, bagaimana jika ia suatu saat punya ide cemerlang tentang Teknologi? Bisakah dikaitkan dengan Teaching?

Intinya, setelah studi di luar negeri, kami dihadapkan kepada kondisi di mana kami harus tetap tampil bagus, sementara lingkungan, kesempatan, administrasi, appresiasi, dan prosedur yang ada tidak terlalu mendukung kami untuk maju melangkah ke masa depan yang lebih baik. Saya pun tidak sedikit dan tidak sekali, mendengar akademisi berkata, “yang penting gelar, masalah luar negeri atau dalam negeri, itu terserah”.” Saya cuma prihatin. Jika begitu, untuk apa ya pemuda-pemudi Indonesia yang berkorban perasaan jauh dari keluarga, menantang maut dengan suhu yang minus, bersabar dengan pola makanan yang tidak sesuai selera kadang-kadang, setibanya di Indonesia, dianggap, “kamu lulusan luar negeri? trus, apa? mau bangga-banggain diri di sini? Ini Indonesia, bung! kalau nggak mau, balik aja gih ke negara di mana kamu studi dulu!” Saya pun semakin prihatin. Memang tidak semua lulusan luar negeri yang bagus, namun setidaknya tanyalah proses apa yang ia lalui sehingga bisa studi di negeri orang tersebut. Yang kami inginkan adalah kesempatan untuk mengembangkan Indonesia melalui ilmu yang kami miliki. Kami tidak butuh jabatan, tapi kami butuh kesempatan untuk berkembang demi Indonesia. Jika terkendala dengan keputusan sepihak yang seringkali terjadi di Indonesia, salahkah kami memang brain drain itu terjadi?

Yang lebih menyedihkan adalah pernyataan ini: “kamu maunya yang gratisan, tentu iya. kami saja studi dalam negeri pakai uang sendiri!” Rasanya, ingin pergi saja ke negara orang tersebut dan mengabdi di sana. Tahukan biaya yang kami keluarkan ketika studi di luar negeri? Tidak akan terbeli dan sebanding dengan rekan-rekan yang studi di dalam negeri. Apa saja itu? Tanyalah kepada yang lulusan luar negeri.

Siapkah Indonesia dengan tuntutan zaman? Indonesia dituntut untuk meng-global, mengapa harus menutupi diri dengan kesempatan yang ada?

Padang, 31 Mei 2015 

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 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 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.

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!