Diving into A Cultural Diversity of Indonesia
Exploring more about Indonesian history to strengthening knowledge and finding great interactions with Indonesians are two key factors that initially attracted Tata Drame, a Malian and International Student of Universitas Syiah Kuala, Engineering Faculty, to join International Fun-Break, 6-7 December 2021, at Universitas Sumatera Utara. Her decision to take the chance was cemented by the Universitas Sumatera Utara’s reputation as the seventh state university in Indonesia and its location, Medan, as the place that is rich with culture.
She explains “the event gave me a chance to have some hands-on experiences on Indonesia’s cultural diversity and discover environmental conversation during the two days full activities. Culture is our identity. We are all the product of it that teaches and educates us. Culture is a critical component of what shapes human experience throughout life. Unfortunately, at the end of life, cultural considerations often take a back seat to considerations related to functional ability. So, culture is so vital at all stages of life and it is essential for our survival and our communication with others”.
This program successfully attracted people by bringing them together, fostering social inclusion, community empowerment, and capacity-building, and enhancing confidence, civic pride, and tolerance. The program was attended by representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Mali of West Africa.
Tata got interested in programs of multi-ethnic societies because culture impacts the actions that people take, how people interact, and personal characteristics that will inevitably influence their perceptions of life. “I attempted to know more about Indonesian history to widen my knowledge and to have a great interaction with people, especially Indonesians. Participating in the cultural program can benefit individuals in many different ways, some of which are deeply personal. They are a source of delight and wonder and can provide emotional and intellectual experiences, whether pleasurable or unsettling. Culture also improves resilience, all of which enhance educational outcomes”.
Like many other international students, Tata had a global tour of the departments of Universitas Sumatera Utara, a tourist visit at Maimun Palace and Tjong A. Fie house. “I have been impressed with the precious equipment at Tjong A Fie house composed of 35-room and 2-storey. The beautiful light fixtures of the mansion are a mix of Chinese and European styles of the period. The decorated ceilings have original hand-painted patterns as well as scenes of phoenixes and butterflies. The Main Hall is ornately decorated with a floor-to-ceiling gilded wood-paneled wall carved exquisitely in Chinese style. The late Tjong A Fie’s bedroom displays his authentic ornately carved mahogany bed, silk items of clothing, and artifacts from the era. The public area consists of the Kwan Ti Kong temple and the Ballroom. Artful architectural details are applied throughout these carefully designed spaces. And The generously-sized kitchen, with its period-authentic pestle and mortar stones”.
Tata and all participants enjoyed the cultural introduction by the host university as they have expanded their knowledge of Asia. “We had the pleasure of discovering certain ethnic groups and places by video projection such as Lake Toba, Karo’s culture, Melayu’s culture, and Nias’s culture. We were offered traditional dances training provided by dance lecturers. Our performance on Karo’s, Melayu’s, and Nias’s traditional and cultural dance was quite fascinating. The performances have created a shape of interactive, understanding, union, mutual respect, fraternity, and assurance”.
Tata believes that joining this cultural program was one of the best decisions she ever made “This mix of with local and foreigners show us that we are all brothers and sisters, we should celebrate our unique differences, but we should rejoice at being part of the same family through this activity, that’s made this moment unforgettable. This performance allowed us to make the differences from another country to our country, the different ideas, behaviors, characters, and beliefs”.