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Posted on April 10th, 2023 in Educational Programs by Miriam Maddox

Visiting the United States is one of bucket lists, and I got a privilege to visit Indiana for learning about Using Service-Learning (SL) to Teach 21st Century Skills to English Language Learners and immersing with the US culture. We learned three big ideas—Global competency in the 21st century, benefits of SL in English Education, and designing SL opportunities. At first, it felt heavy because we learned to think about the world’s needs and how we can contribute as global citizens. However, session by session I joined, I could connect the dots from those broad concepts and theories (at least in my opinion) into feasible practices of SL I can implement in my context. The professors and the administrators are adorable, they are knowledgeable and well experienced in their fields, yet so humble. I could not believe those great people are ‘approachable.’

Besides learning at the IUPUI, we also visited sites, such as ProAct Indy Headquarters, Ivy Tech Community College, and Perry Meridian HS. I was astonished that the American education system has taken SL seriously, where I could not find that in my country yet. We observed that communities and schools have various SL projects depending on the needs and the resources. In the end of this program, by the help of our supportive facilitators Dr. Ulla Connor and Matthew Hume, we managed to disseminate our SL plan in our local context. Dr. Ulla seemed interested in my proposal, she and Matthew asked me to keep in touch to talk more about SL with Sociolinguistics phenomena.

Moreover, we also immersed ourselves in the US culture. We visited Eiteljorg Museum to learn more about the beauty of Native American people. We also watched basketball game, I thought it was NCAA, but it turned out NBA! I was so excited like a little boy getting to his playground for the first time. The Pacers against Rockets game was so tight, and it needed extra time to decide the winner. Luckily, during my first NBA game watching live, the team I supported won! #pacerswon. I posted so many IG stories! In addition, we visited the Indiana State House. The building is so huge and magnificent! I like the atmosphere where important people work there and decide the future of the state, including education. 

We also had informal time with our gorgeous friends from 24 different countries! We walked (got lost sometimes) together, drank beers at Sun King Brewing, went to the local church which is impossible I can find in my country, enjoyed music at the jazz club, and many more sweet memories! Those two weeks felt like a heaven! And here I need to accept the reality that I am not in Indiana anymore. I wanna cry remembering those professional developments with the qualified experts and cherishing memories with friends. Truly, this program has given a SIGNIFICANT impact to me. Thank you IUPUI, FHI 360, Indonesia RELO, and US Dept of State. I will always remember this!

Michael with Dr. Ulla Connor at the farewell dinner.

2 thoughts on "“Bucket List Opportunity” – Michael Recard Sihombing (Indonesia)"

  1. Salma el Gabry says:

    Thank you Michael. I have learned a lot from you as well. You are a great educator and a true friend. I was honoured that I have met you. It was an outstanding experience to all of us.

  2. Ayna says:

    Thank you Michael! I am so grateful to meet all of you there! We were the best team and hope we will keep in touch with each other and continue to learn from each other and collaborate!

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