UTS Program Merdeka; Now you can study for one semester in a tropical paradise

Can you imagine studying in a tropical paradise?  Now, you can complete 1 semester of your study on a dream island in Eastern Indonesia while helping the local community through UTS Program Merdeka. The upcoming program will take place in Moyo Island, a hidden gem that is rich with biodiversity and economic potential. The program seeks to leverage the life of the local community through participative-community development. This program combines experiential learning while allowing you to explore the beautiful island of Moyo and at the same time improve your skills and enrich your experience in a community-based development program. It is a fun learning and exploration packed into an academically recognized program! You can transfer the credit of this program to your academic transcript. 

Moyo Island is a biodiversity hotspot that holds great potential for a niche touristic destination, especially that of eco and scientific tourism. The island is part of UNESCO designated area for biosphere reserves namely Samota a hotspot in Lesser Sunda Islands of Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB). The area comprises five major ecosystems; small islands, a coastal area of mangrove, coastal, lowland, and mountain forests, as well as savannah. For this first phase, the targeted village is Labuhan Aji, the village where several touristic spots such as Mata Jitu waterfall and Lady Diana ponds are located.  Labuan Aji Village, a village of 2950 people where this program takes place,  the majority of the population practices unirrigated farming (berladang), despite the growing tourism sector on the Island. 

Thinking on the potentials and challenges of Moyo island, the UTS Program Merdeka focus on empowering the local community of  Moyo island to tap the abundance of potentials of the islands to improve their lives economically and at the same time participate in natural environment conservation.  Program Merdeka is an experiential learning program aimed at honing the critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills of the students. In this program, UTS students spend a semester outside of the classroom intending to solve real challenges. It starts with identifying challenges faced by local communities, be it education, waste problems, or wasted potential to create solutions such as community education, creating products, and branding strategy for a village’s touristic potential. Applying what they have learned in classrooms, they work collaboratively with their peers from various study programs applying interdisciplinary principal to tackle challenges. While working on solutions, the programs also allow the students to learn from the societal challenges and dynamics, making the learning experiences contextual and relevant to the real world’s problems.

The capstone of Program Merdeka is the empowerment of the village community and its government to tap and utilize village potentials that are unique to each village. The focus of the “Pesona Moyo” Merdeka programs is as follows: 

  1. Develop and implement educational programs for the local community to participate in the tourism sector such as simple hospitality workshops, and smartphone photography for promotional purposes, creating, and simple social media management. 
  2. Participative Need for Intervention research and mapping for long-run programs in tourism and conservation 
  3. Assisting the local community in developing a community school focused on conservation-based education using the existing local activities and wisdom, providing a safe place for the local 
  4. Working with the local community to document their folk stories and traditions 
  5. Assisting the local community to develop and implement strategies to run the local-based waste management system
  6. Developing a visual media material to promote the island tourism potential 

Participants

Participation in this program is open to all undergraduate students who are seeking an experiential learning experience related to community development, social intervention, project-based management, and participatory planning for community-based program development. In addition, this program can also cater master students or independent learners who expect to build experiences or/and conduct research in this sector. 

For Indonesian undergraduate students, the semester credit (SKS) of this program is transferable under the MBKM scenario. 

Supervisors

The program is supervised by experienced lecturers from The Sumbawa University of Technology with credentials in their respective fields. The supervisors and the students ensure the planned and developed program and activities reach their objectives. 

Output and Outcome of the Program

At the end of the program, each working group will showcase its outcome at an Expo organized by the university. 

Do you want to study for a semester on a tropical paradise island? Contact us for more information; international.office@uts.ac.id

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