“The Inspiring Journey of an Indonesian Student at Sumbawa University of Technology”
Indonesia, an expansive and diverse nation comprising 38 provinces, 17,508 islands, 1,340 ethnic groups, and 1,211 languages, exemplifies the richness of pluralism (BPS, Indonesia). Within this vast tapestry of cultural diversity, the potential for differences in tribes, customs, traditions, languages, and religious beliefs to incite disputes is palpable. However, Indonesia unites under the guiding philosophy of Pancasila, encapsulated in the profound mantra “Bhineka Tunggal Ika,” denoting unity in diversity. Against this backdrop, the imperative of providing sustainable education emerges as a cornerstone for shaping the character and enhancing the capabilities of the nation’s future generations. From elementary to college benches, these educational spaces play a pivotal role in fostering growth, and Sumbawa University of Technology (UTS), situated in Sumbawa Regency, stands as a testament to the nation’s commitment to education, embodying a microcosm of Indonesia’s diverse landscape.
The influx of students from diverse regions brings forth a rich tapestry of characteristics and distinct personalities. Hailing from South Sulawesi, students carry the vibrant Bugis culture and language, shaping their social interactions and communications. Similarly, those from Medan, Aceh, and Papua contribute the unique tapestry of their traditions and languages, creating a mosaic of cultural nuances in their interactions. The collision of these varied backgrounds becomes a reservoir of inspiration, fostering innovative works from regional perspectives.
In the convergence of one culture with another within the same space, a unique wealth is generated. The differences among these cultures spark ideas and concepts that lead to innovative creations. The beauty lies in the coexistence of two cultures, each maintaining its uniqueness yet contributing to the formation of a new culture—an amalgamation that finds common ground in social interactions. This cultural amalgamation does not erase existing traditions; instead, it cultivates a new communal agreement in the realm of social dynamics.
The presence of students hailing from every corner of the archipelago extends beyond merely encapsulating a diversity of cultures, customs, languages, and religions. It cultivates a profound sense of “multiculturalism” as a conceptual embodiment of plurality. For the local community residing alongside these archipelago students, the experience extends beyond mere coexistence—it involves shared moments of camaraderie, language nuances, and habitual patterns that emerge from intertwined interactions. United by a shared sense of belonging and mutual need, these interactions celebrate diversity without eroding traditions, all while remaining attuned to the evolving currents of change.
Illustrating the embodiment of character education within the diverse campus environment, Rais, a student enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering program graduating in 2023, shares his transformative journey after spending approximately four years at Sumbawa University of Technology (UTS). Originating from Nunukan Regency in North Kalimantan province, Rais embarked on his educational venture at UTS in September 2018.
Starting the journey from Borneo to Sumbawa
Refusing to succumb to the initial challenges posed by the seemingly distant and limited campus facilities, Rais, a resilient Mechanical Engineering student from the class of 2018 at Sumbawa University of Technology (UTS), candidly recounts his journey. Hailing from Nunukan Regency in North Kalimantan, the stark contrast in geographical conditions, especially the extreme weather during summers marked by water scarcity and drought, initially caught him off guard.
Undeterred by these circumstances, Rais found solace in introspection, questioning his purpose in college and the journey that led him to UTS. The challenges, however, proved to be profound lessons. Interacting with peers from diverse regions and immersing himself in the social fabric of Sumbawa, Rais emerged as an active participant in campus life. Impressively, he quickly picked up the Sumbawa language, showcasing his adaptability.
Rais’s engagement extended beyond language proficiency. Actively involved in organizational activities, he served as the 2019 manager of the BEM Faculty of Engineering and assumed leadership roles in the Mechanical Student Association in 2020. His commitment further manifested as an administrator and mentor in the weekly mentoring program, a character-building initiative under the Student Character Development and Parent Relations Agency (BPKO UTS) in 2021. Rais’s transformative journey exemplifies not just academic growth but a robust development of character and leadership within the diverse tapestry of UTS.
Inauguration of BEM Faculty of Engineering 2019 and BEM UTS 2022
In 2022, Rais took on the role of Chairman of BEM UTS, similar to being the Student President. He shared insights into his academic journey, highlighting his leadership in 2021 as a team leader. Rais and his team achieved success by securing funding during the Student Creativity Week in Science and Technology Application organized by KEMENRISTEKDIKTI. Moreover, he represented UTS at the West Nusa Tenggara Y20 Indonesia youth conference, an integral part of the G20 agendas.
Reflecting on his time at Sumbawa University of Technology, Rais expressed gratitude for the valuable opportunities he encountered. Little did he expect that studying at UTS would open doors for him to participate in national and even international forums. Rais’s dedication bore fruit, earning him the title of Best Graduate in the Mechanical Engineering Study Program in 2023.
Appreciation of outstanding students 2021
Represented UTS at the West Nusa Tenggara Y20 Indonesia youth conference
Best Graduate in the Mechanical Engineering Study Program in 2023