USIPP 2013: Kesan & Pesan
Surabaya, July 18, 2013- When i looked into the calendar this morning, I realized that it has been two weeks since the last day of USIPP 2013 when I with other amazing participants had the greatest day to celebrate the Independence Day of USA in Washington DC. I still remember clearly how fantastic it was on that sunny day, we went out together to see the Independence Day Parade in front of the American History Museum, had lunch in the park nearby and relaxed on the grass enjoying the breeze under the shades of the trees, then went back to Clark Hall to have our “farewell” while also waiting for the evening to come for the epic annual DC fireworks near the White House. That day was just too unbelievable to be true for me because I never thought that I would go to US, celebrating fourth of July in DC with people that I myself have considered them as my new family, yet at the same time also sad because it was very near to the time when I had to say ‘see you later’ to them. But even so, that day has given me a lot of memories that I won’t and don’t want to forget.
That is one among many things that made me always feel grateful to be part of USIPP. Every single day during the program means something valuable for me and many aspects in my life. That is because it is not only the people I spent the five week program in Indonesia and USA with that give me unforgettable moments and the sense of togetherness, but also the lessons learnt from the activities such as the lectures and discussions with inspiring persons, field trips, and voluteering that give the experiences from the program educational meaning and a precious value worth to get.
I am very happy to say that the program has helped me to understand much about things I am studying and interested in. That’s why I was very glad to be in every place we went, especially DC. When I was at the Lincoln Memorial, I just could not believe that I could be in the place where Martin Luther King, Jr., by his speech called I Have A Dream, changed the history of the US and the world to bring an end to racial discrimination. It also gave me the same feeling when we visited The Supreme Court where the lives of US people are being struggled. I surely think our coming there was in the right moment knowing that days before going to DC, the Supreme Court has decided to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and gave freedom to people to choose who they want to marry with. The tour to the Capitol has also taught me how actually there is a similarity between Indonesia and US that both countries have the same motto which is essentially to unite its diverse people. In the US, they call it ‘E Pluribus Unum’ which means Out of Many, One while in Indonesia, we call it ‘Bhinneka Tunggal Ika’ which comes from Old Javanese Language meaning Unity in Diversity. But the tour to Holocaust Museum that gave me the most chills and eye-opening experience since this historical event is not openly taught to Indonesians in most schools and history books. So, seeing how powerful the impact it brought to the life of humankind, I feel like I have the duty to tell to the people in my country the importance to believe it (since unfortunately some do not), to remember, and to take the lessons that this kind of event must not happen again in the future and respecting each other is very needed in coexistence.
After joining this program, I feel I have become a person with more open point of view towards the diversity of human life. I think every human has their own unique personality and we have to appreciate for who they are. Living in a plural society means that we have to be tolerant and embrace the differences between us. So that, respecting each other is essential as well as maintaining peace to create a better life for us all. Sometimes, I think that there are still many things we have to do in Indonesia in order to achieve this dream. But, I am optimistic that Indonesia is on their way to that point in creating equality to its people, even though I believe that, as what Mr. Dino also said, we would have different path than the US . Lastly, I hope from the experiences I got from USIPP 2013, I could be one that contributes for a better Indonesia in the future. So, thank you for every single of you who has made this program happen and successful. This program has given me a life-changing experience that I will always remember, learn, and love to share to people around me. I am sure that everything that I got from it is very useful and meaningful to help me reaching what I have been dreaming for. So, thank you once again.
Last but not least, I forgot to say this on last day of our program that I am very sorry if I have done any mistakes to any of you during the program. I say this because this is actually a general expression for Moslem Indonesians before and after the coming of Ramadhan to purify themself from any mistakes done to people so that their prayers in Ramadhan could be wholly accepted. But, most Indonesians, regardless of their religion, also usually say it after meeting people in order to make long-lasting peaceful relations with the others.
Feel free to contact me anytime and let me know if you have any plans to Indonesia. I just made a picture of us which is basically a compilation of our individual photo for the cover of my report. Keep in touch! Sampai jumpa!