An Opening to Pre-Academic Training
On July 18-19th, the Training and Monitoring team hosted the Pre-Academic Training Orientation for the 25 PRESTASI Scholars. This two-day launching event was the beginning of a series of training, aimed to prepare the PRESTASI Scholars before departing to the US to study. Pre-Academic Training consisted of SPSS training (3 days), Leadership Training (2 days) and English for Academic Purpose (ranging from 1 to 5.5 months). These trainings will equip Scholars with critical skills they need to quickly adjust with the academic living of US universities.
The event was held in the Acacia Hotel, Central Jakarta, and the first day of orientation was attended by USAID representatives, particularly from the Technical Offices. In their opening remarks, the USAID representatives requested the PRESTASI Scholars to maximize their time during their study in the US and to prepare themselves as best as possible.
“(PRESTASI Scholars) are the ‘diplomats’ in essence, to introduce Indonesia to USA (people). USA wants to have a strong relationship with Indonesia, people with people”, said Cheryl Anderson from USAID Program Office.
The remarks were followed by an introduction session where all of the Scholars had 3 minutes for a ‘small interview’ with each other, and to ask some random and simple questions. This session was jovial since it was the first time that the Scholars met each other, although some had become ‘friends’ through Facebook.
The first-day orientation was closed by a presentation from Ms. Sisilia Halimi of LBI-UI—the institution where the PRESTASI Scholars will have lessons on English for Academic Purpose. During their studying period in LBI-UI, PRESTASI Scholars will learn to improve their English through sessions like Academic Writing and Note Taking, and enhance their score before taking the TOEFL® IBT exam.
The second-day orientation was more focused on informing the Scholars about the procedure that they have to go through before departing to the US. The sessions were delivered by Ms. Lensi Mursida and Ms. Wiwin Erikawati as the Deputy Chief of Party and Training Manager of PRESTASI. During her presentation, Ms. Wiwin highlighted the importance of smooth communication between Scholars and IIEF, as the executor of PRESTASI.
As most of the PRESTASI Scholars are Government Officials or working under Government-related bodies, they must understand how crucial it is for them to meet all the administrative requirements conditioned by their employer, such as arranging their Government Passports.
The closing session was Alumni Sharing session, led by Agus Yudi Wicaksono, an Alumnus from Michigan State University majoring in Public Policy, and Endah Tri Kurniawaty, a graduate of School of Public and Environmental Affairs from Indiana University. They both reminded the Scholars that they must mentally as well as biologically prepare themselves. In addition, they also gave suggestion to Scholars that they do not need to bring a lot of outfit in order to prepare for the seasons in the US. Scholars were enthusiastically asking questions to the Alumni, especially about the learning atmosphere in the US universities.