Shanika Musser (US), second from right, with other BIPA students from Tunisia and Timor Leste and their lecturers

Indonesia is a study destination for Shanika Musser from the United States (US). Having an undergraduate background in agriculture from Mississippi State University, US, she decided to continue her master’s degree at the Faculty of Agricultural Technology (FAT), Universitas Brawijaya (UB). Shanika, as she is called, then tells her story of choosing UB as an option for gaining knowledge.

“At first, I didn’t know Indonesia. However, when I was studying for a bachelor’s degree in Mississippi, I met a friend from Indonesia. Since then, I learned about Indonesia from him. He told me a lot about Indonesia. I was curious. Then, I look for information about Indonesia,” she said.

Shanika is getting more intense in digging up information about Indonesia, in terms of language, culture, and education. Then, she took part in the Indonesian for Foreign Speakers (BIPA) program.

“Since knowing Indonesia, I was interested in learning Indonesian. Then I took Indonesian classes at Wisconsin University for six months. I began to know more about Indonesian culture and language from native Indonesian lecturers. After that, I started to be able to speak Indonesian,” said the student who is also proficient in Spanish.

Armed with the information she had obtained and understood about Indonesia, she tried to find a university in Indonesia with a master’s degree in agriculture.

“My Indonesian friends suggested trying to dig up information about UB. Then I opened the campus website and felt it was suitable to continue my master’s study at UB because it has a study according to my scientific background. I contacted the International Office to find out the requirements for master’s studies,” she added.

Since the study requirements file was complete, in mid-2021 she should be able to come to Indonesia. However, it turns out that there was an Indonesian government policy related to health protocols due to the increase in COVID-19.

At the end of January 2022, Shanika was finally able to fly to Indonesia to continue her master’s at UB. Arriving in Indonesia, she took the intensive BIPA program at the Faculty of Cultural Studies (FCS) UB.

“I am very happy to finally be able to come to Indonesia and learn the Indonesian language and culture at UB. I didn’t expect that learning Indonesian directly in Indonesia would be very exciting. I got a lot of new knowledge, about culture, tourism information, art, and community traditions. Indonesia is so rich. I’m getting more excited,” she said.

Since studying BIPA at FCS UB, her understanding of Indonesian increased daily. She also feels that she adapts more quickly to both culture and society. She can immediately practice the lessons and also the guidance of the lecturers in the BIPA class. In addition, she also hopes that her Indonesian language will improve. [Khi/dts/msh/PR FCS]