The 2012-2013 group of Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) students have returned home and we are excited to hear their success stories. Alumni and former student blogger Mursidin, who studied tourism and hospitality at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, is now a branch manager at an English language school that has partnered with the Provincial Government of Papau, a remote and impoverished region of Indonesia, to help prepare underserved students to take advantage international education opportunities. Here he shares his alumni update:
After two months of an endless and tiring job search, I finally got a job. But it was really the job who found me. My former boss invited me back to join his team at ECL Education, where I used to be an English teacher and member of the marketing team. Now I am a branch manager responsible for the whole operation of the tourism and hospitality program, a new program for students on a scholarship from the government of Papua, a province in the eastern part of Indonesia.
My former boss expects me to show far greater performance and contribution to the company, especially as an American graduate who has studied Tourism and Hospitality.
Although it’s also provided a great opportunity to have a better career, being a graduate of an American community college has also been a challenge. Moreover, the expectation from family and friends is much higher than the reality that I’m facing. They expect me to know everything and be better in every aspect of life. It took some time to help them understand that I am still the same human being I was before. Until today I am still trying my best to meet people’s expectations, especially those of my family.
My main duties as a branch manager and also as a teacher are to give and transfer knowledge, to motivate students and be responsible for my students’ progress. My students are from Papua, which is one of the poorest regions in Indonesia. The island has been extremely isolated from economic development. For years, my students have struggled just to make a living. Some of them told me that they only have meal once a day, and there’s no time to think about education. Living in Papua is far from the normal life as a human being. Realizing the situation, the provincial government of Papua created a program called 1000 PHDs.
My employer, ELC Education, is one of the partners involved with educating Papuans. We provide English education in the port city of Makassar as part of their preparation to study abroad in the UK, the USA, Australia or New Zealand. ELC Education also provides them with all basic necessities: housing, meals, counselling, preparation for university requirements and helping connect the students to their future universities. The entire program is funded by the Papua Provincial Government.
The most challenging obstacle in teaching and serving the students is to motivate them. We have 200 young students, 12-19 years old, who are far away from home. My team and I are working hard to overcome the challenge, and it takes a lot of effort to meet our goal.
Another major duty is to upgrade not only the students’ knowledge but also their attitude. We have to upgrade their English from zero to international university standard. We also helped them develop skills and manners to be successful in a big city.