How to Be Indonesian at the International Student Summit 2019

I didn’t know what to expect coming to the International Student Summit 2019 in Surakarta, Indonesia, on 1st – 3rd November.

The International Student Summit, or the ISS, is an annual summit organised by the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education of the Republic of Indonesia. This year’s summit has an “Act for a Better Future” theme, where the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations is the main focus.

With the theme “Act for a Better Future”, ISS 2019 would like to invite International Students to play an active role in important issues in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). By utilizing local culture, especially Solo, international students are expected to be able to understand the existence and great role of regional culture in Indonesia as a supporter of the realization of sustainable development for the future of Indonesia and the world.

Before I get into it, I should probably introduce myself first. Hi, my name is Mey and I’m from Cambodia. I came to study Fashion Design at BINUS Northumbria School of Design, and this is my first semester here.

I decided to join the summit as a chance to gain more experience and as a way to meet new friends.

Day 1

After only an hour plane ride from Jakarta, we arrived in Surakarta, Solo, where we were greeted by the huge crowd at the Sebelas Maret University.

I went there with other BINUS students — Sandra from India and Sulis from China.

We took a few pictures together at the entrance of the event and went outside to get started with the first agenda: learning how to Batik.

Batik is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth, or cloth made using this technique, originated from Indonesia. Batik is made either by drawing dots and lines of the resist with a spouted tool called a tjanting, or by printing the resist with a copper stamp called a cap.

After the Batik session, we went back inside where they announced the winners for the vlog competition. This is the competition that Sandra and I joined. Unfortunately, we didn’t win this, but I still had a lot of fun.

You can check out the video that we submitted for the competition below:

Day 2

Moving on to the second day, we got to visit the Sangiran Museum, which is also one of the most important archaeological excavation sites, according to a UNESCO report made in 1995.

The museum is also part of the World Heritage Sites of UNESCO.

Afterwards, the competition continued. My friend, Sulis, went up to participate in the “Storytelling Competition”, where she shared an Indonesian folktale.

It was also during this day that I get to meet a lot of new people and made new friends. I met other students from all over the globe; Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, Palestine, Pakistan, India, China, Japan and Korea.

Afterwards, there was a competition on some trivia facts about Indonesia and an election for the new ISS president.

Day 3

For our last day here in Surakarta, we attended the Solo Car Free Day in the morning. We also learned how to wrap food and snacks using a banana leaf.

We also get to have a city tour of Surakarta, while trying and munching on various kinds of traditional Indonesian snacks before returning back to Jakarta.

Looking back on the summit, although I didn’t win the competition, I’m still glad that I get to partake in the event itself, as not only do I get to make new friends from all over the world, I also get to travel outside of Jakarta and learn more about Indonesia. I’m also proud to say that I have become a little bit more Indonesian through this experience. 😊

Chanreaksmey Loy

Chanreaksmey Loy

BNSD Fashion Design, International Student, Cambodia