Khilmi Mauliddian, S. Hum., M. Li.

BIPA Lecturer, Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Brawijaya University

Khilmi (second from the right) with BIPA KNB UB students

Learning to love Indonesia, is probably the right term for foreign students who are studying BIPA (Bahasa Indonesia bagi Penutur Asing or Indonesian for Foreign Speakers). The learning process itself is not only about how to speak Indonesian but BIPA can be interpreted as a door to closely introduce Indonesia.

BIPA is indeed an Indonesian language learning program specifically for foreign students. Besides, BIPA can be said to be an opportunity for us Indonesians to introduce and instill noble values of national culture in the international world. Introducing the meaning of hospitality, cooperation, simplicity, gratitude, and so on which is reflected in the personality of our nation.

Teaching BIPA also means to ready to receive a lot of experience. An experience that of course can only be felt by teachers and students. I remember the first time I taught BIPA in a class. It was a small class with only a few foreign students. However, it was from this small class that many questions and curiosity were born. Interestingly, the class becomes a space for warm discussion, discussing, and explaining things from various points of view both about Indonesia and the students’ countries. It can be said, the presence of the BIPA class is an opportunity to be able to exchange views and knowledge between countries.

On the other hand about teaching BIPA, sometimes I find a student’s sense of humor amusing. In other words, humor can be a very important part if you can accommodate it. At that time I gave advice to students to always learn to use Indonesian well. I mean, because they are in Indonesia, they make good use of the opportunity by always using the Indonesian language. Then one of the students from South Korea suddenly answered slowly and stuttered in Indonesian, “Yaa…baik… Maaf.. Pak Khilmi, saya sudah lupa bahasa Korea, karena saya.. ter.. la.. lu banjak makan nasi goreng.. di sini.. ya… “ (Yes…alright…Sorry.. Mr Khilmi, I forget my native language, because I ha…ve… too much fried rice). Inevitably the whole class laughed. Of course, these chirps make the class atmosphere cheerful.

When teaching BIPA, it is not only the fun side. There are also many other challenges, especially building teaching strategies consistently to make students enthusiastic, happy, and proud of learning Indonesian. Bearing in mind, for students, Indonesia is a foreign country which of course has many different things from them. A common form of challenge that is often present is when students experience difficulties with adaptation, especially to culture, climate, society, and food. This is often expressed in class, so a teacher must also be prepared to become a counselor or interlocutor regarding what they are experiencing.

The experiences above are just a few examples of what I experienced. Of course, every teacher must have a different experience. But since getting the experience above, I have come to understand that BIPA is not just teaching languages. Instead, being a BIPA teacher is like a miniature diplomat where, in addition to playing a role in promotion, it also contributes to realizing good relations between countries through language teaching.

Therefore, the form of success in teaching BIPA can be seen from, one of which is, to what extent teaching can actually make a good impression. The impression that later after learning BIPA is expected to be told by the students in their countries, such as how beautiful and noble Indonesia is. It is hoped that harmonious relations will continue to be established by prioritizing the meaning of friendship and brotherhood between countries. In the end, Indonesia will also get stronger recognition and reputation in the eyes of the international community. [trans.jc/aaz/PR FCS]