August is usually a busy month for both DOPE (Department of Professional Exchange) and DORE (Department of Research Exchange) MSCIA UB, since it is where the most incoming students come to Malang for their exchange program. Since the pandemic hit, a lot of exchange programs and activities have been held, or even in the case of our university, stopped until the end of this year. Social programs and other exchange activities provide our members a chance to interact with medical students from other parts of the globe. This pushes them to use their English and communication skill with those, whose first language is also not necessarily English. The confidence, that this exchange brings, is a privilege, that’s taken for granted in the previous years.
That doesn’t mean, intercultural learning also has to stop, so we decided our annual project has to run virtually through a fun webinar packed with intercultural exchanges. This way, members of DOPE and DORE MSCIA UB don’t have to lose the privilege of having an international connection with the incoming, even though this virtual event cannot fully replace the experience of being a contact person for an incoming, when the exchange programs normally run. And to add an extra hint of fun to the webinar, our members were asked to wear their fanciest traditional clothing during the event.
We invited three of our former incoming students, who did their exchange program in Malang, to join Cultural Day 2020. They are Marios Karkatsoulis from Greece and Alexandra Oltean from Romania, former SCOPE incoming students, who came to Malang in July and August 2019 respectively, and Katerina Janstova from Czech Republic who joined the research exchange program back in August of 2017.
One of our DORE members, Alinda Salsabilla, opened the webinar with a colorful presentation of Tempo Doeloe, where she explained some trivia regarding cuisine, clothing, and other cultural fun facts in Malang on each decade, starting from the 1930s all the way to 2010s. A lot of the facts regarding the history of Malang were still unknown to the incoming students, so this was a fun way to reintroduce them the city, where they used to stay for a month.
The three incoming students then continued the webinar with presentations on each of their home countries. Many of our members haven’t gotten the chance to have an encounter with someone from abroad, let alone to learn their culture firsthand. A lot of, what’s being presented by the incoming students, was very interesting for the members. Besides the geographical knowledge of where these three European countries are located, the members also learned more specific cultures to each country such as, when Katerina explained how the Czechs have a very deep tie with beer and pub culture in general, or a brief tale on Dracula and Transylvania and its historic meanings and various Mediterranean cuisines and how they differ from those of Indonesia as explained by Alexandra and Marios, respectively.
As a repellant from boredom, there was a quick Kahoot game as an icebreaking, that was filled with questions on culture and English riddles. And then it was followed by the main session, a sharing session, which was moderated by Gyang, a DOPE member. During this session, the members had a chance to ask Alexandra and Marios shared a lot of interesting insights and perspectives as foreigners living in Indonesia, an experience that’s most likely different of those who are Indonesian residents.
To close the webinar, the winners of Cak dan Ning, were announced. They are the best male and female costume respectively. Akhsan, who wore a traditional East Java blankon, and Raisa an outfit for raising the Indonesian flag, since the event coincided with the Independence Day, were crowned and to receive the prize.
As a thankyou note to the incoming students, our members played a pre-recorded compilation video of themselves, singing and playing different home musical instrument to Rek Ayo Rek, where the lyrics are meant to invite back the incoming students to visit us here once more. The video can be watched at bit.ly/CulturalDayVideo.