Ursula Budjak, an Indonesian student in the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) who is studying early childhood education at Pierce College, recently joined her fellow NWCCI participants at a consular reception held at Annie Wright Schools, a preschool to grade 12 independent school in Tacoma. Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman addressed the group. Here Ursula shares her experience using the networking skills she learned in an NWCCI workshop with community members and business leaders.
On September 25, I attended a great event, a consular reception that was held at the Annie Wright School in Tacoma. This evening was a great networking opportunity as many consuls from many countries that have a presence in Seattle attended this event. The keynote speaker for the evening was Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman. She is a kind lady who praised the hard work of international students.
I attended the reception wearing batik, which is our national attire, hoping that I could meet fellow Indonesians. Although I did not, the evening turned out even better than I hoped. There were many other community members, business owners and leaders that I was able to network with.
Consuls from Vietnam, India, Turkey, Ukraine and several other countries were there. And on that night I learned how to shake hands and introduce myself saying, “I am Ursula from Indonesia, studying at Pierce College”. Then, I putting myself into their discussion, showing interest in the topic they discussed, listening with good gestures, I was able to ask for a business card and be myself, acting like I am an important lady on the list.
I gained self-confidence in relating with people who have a high level of education and social status. And guess what happened? I was kind of shocked to find that they are very interested in knowing about my goals for studying in US, the courses that I am taking, my job in my country, my culture and they even offered help if I needed any. Oh gosh…a night to be remembered…practicing my elevator pitch which lead me to deal with great people in the world and to be a successful person for my community and country.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.