Reflections on a Month Abroad at Tadulako University, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

By Morgan Wilbanks (UW Alum, 2013)
     Nov-Dec 2013

It is very hot during the month of November in Palu, the capital of central Sulawesi in Indonesia. Even though it was musim hujan, the season for rain, I only had the fortune of it raining a handful of times during my stay. Palu is situated in a rain shadow for most of the year, and is one of the driest places in Indonesia. Chris Grorud, a PhD student in the Southeast Asian Center at the University of Washington and I were invited to Palu by Rector Muhammad Basir Cyio and the International office of Tadulako University for the opportunity to teach informal conversational English to both the faculty and undergraduate English students. The International Office at Tadulako University prearranged funding for our travel, food, and additional spending money during our stay in Palu and Rector Basir provided us lodging in his personal residence and treated us with the upmost respect and hospitality.

Prior to my arrival, I had spent one year studying Bahasa Indonesia. However, the month I spent in Palu was essential for increasing my ability to speak this language. There is only so much you can learn in a classroom of non-native speakers, but by being emerged in the language and culture, I was able to improve my skill and communicate efficiently in this foreign environment. During our month stay in Palu our schedule consisted of teaching the Rector, Vice Rectors, Deans, and Vice Deans Monday through Friday mornings, and undergraduate English Department majors in the late mornings and afternoons. While teaching English was our priority, we were also blessed with the opportunity to share cultural experiences, make new friends and international colleagues, and most importantly, establish a collaborative experience between Tadulako University and the University of Washington. On the weekends, we were able to visit local attractions with our newly found friends. We travelled to the quaint village of Dongalla which was located next to the beautiful beach of Tanjung Karang and Pusat Laut, known in English as the Center of the sea. Pusat Laut was a beautiful salt-water filled cavern a few hundred feet inland from the ocean. Another weekend we visited and climbed Montikole waterfall nearby Palu. On the last weekend before my departure home, we travelled to Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi.

I cannot fully express my gratitude for being able to have the opportunity to travel to Tadulako University in Palu and represent the University of Washington. The experience was priceless. I would like to say thank you to Professor Randy Kyes, Director of the Center for Global Field Study at the University of Washington and Rector Muhammad Basir Cyio from Tadulako University for providing me with this wonderful opportunity to be involved in the international collaboration between the University of Washington and Tadulako University. Last but not least, I would like to give a big thanks to the International Office and staff at Tadulako University for handling the many logistics involved in hosting us at your university.

Terima kasih atas kesempatan yang diberikan kepada saya.

Morgan Wilbanks graduated from the University of Washington in June 2013 with a BA in Psychology. Morgan also is an alumna of the International Field Study Program-Indonesia, a UW study abroad program conducted in collaboration with the Primate Research Center at Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia,