Bridging Indonesia students to government funded opportunities with Kampus Merdeka
By Nurrizky Imani, Vincent Junition Ungu, Elan Yudhoprakoso, Fajar Kenichi Kusumah Putra—University Innovation Fellows from Universitas Gadjah Mada
As students, we never imagined that the lessons we learned in University Innovation Fellows would have such a profound effect on our fellow students. Ever since the very first training session, our Universitas Gadjah Mada team has been functioning below its potential. Due to everyone’s busy schedules outside of UIF, we regularly fell behind the target. Because of everyone’s varied schedules, we occasionally had to catch up on last week’s work. We even sometimes wonder if we’ll be able to sustain the impact beyond the UIF leadership period as we near the end of the training. It turns out, we underestimated how much it would grow.
“We discovered a missing piece of the puzzle in our community regarding how students have strong technical skills but insufficient work experience.”
During the most recent training, we developed an ambitious plan to establish three strategic priorities on campus. We thought it was too ambitious and the fact that Nurrizky, one of our fellows, was leading the UIF UGM in a different time zone 12 hours while on exchange at the University of Pennsylvania. In the end we develop these three priorities : 1) Creating a space for students to obtain industry internships. 2) Providing students with mentoring opportunities for preparing them for international experience through exchange students. 3) Creating an environment where students can learn about product engineering jobs and opportunities.
Our strategic objectives were determined by what we had learned as product engineering students in technology. We discovered a missing piece of the puzzle in our community regarding how students have strong technical skills but insufficient work experience. This has become an endless loop from which students cannot escape. On the other hand, we discovered that the Indonesian Ministry of Education is pushing a massive program called “Kampus Merdeka,” which translates to “Emancipated Campus,” to encourage students to learn off-campus via internship and exchange program.
This allowed us to test our first strategic objective, “Mentoring Kampus Merdeka: Internship,” in which we established a mentorship program to assist students in obtaining their first internship. This mentoring program instructs mentees on how to compose a personal branding and interview. During the implementation, we were able to identify nine mentors with various business and engineering responsibilities. In addition, 42 individuals signed up to be mentors, and 18 students were selected as their mentees. With only one month of mentoring, we provide the students with learning activities and modules that give them a comprehensive understanding of each interview process. This Mentoring assists mentees in obtaining their initial internship. After 5 months, 75% of our mentees were offered internships. Our first endeavor has inspired us to make a second significant contribution.
On our second priority called “Mentoring Kampus Merdeka: Exchange”, we assisted students in applying for the Indonesia International Student Mobility Awards (IISMA). This mentoring program provided students with the opportunity to study at partner universities outside of Indonesia, including the University of Pennsylvania, Melbourne University, UC Davis, and more than 50 other institutions. UIF UGM created a mentorship program that assists students with the review of their essays and each step of the activity, such as the interview and test administration. We were able to attract up to 30 mentees and assist 20 students during the second round of applications for this mentorship. We were ultimately able to help 10 students be accepted in the program. It was remarkable that ten students were able to gain international experience in world class universities. This simple, cost-free but powerful mentorship has helped students have their best college experience.
The impact of UIF UGM has led to unimaginable opportunities for students in our campus, and this has led them to a new journey of learning opportunities. This impact was not something that we expected in the first time and this led us to be excited with our next impact both on campus and also in other communities. You can check our impact in instagram on @uif.ugm
The original article can be found in the Operations and Student Life section of the 2021-2022 Change Forward Journal— Visions and Voices of Higher Education’s Future.