By Angela Pramasdwita, International Community Engagement Exchange Program
Culture & Equity Project Blog
I was fortunate to have been selected for an exchange program called Community Engagement Exchange Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is a leadership exchange program and I was selected amongst applicants from over 77 countries. I was the only fellow from Indonesia, but I am so grateful because I gained so many friends from different cultural backgrounds. It was my first time being in America and I stayed in Los Angeles for three months. Since I am pursuing my career in teaching, I was matched with the Culture and Equity Project (CEP) at UCLA Center X. Through CEP, I volunteered in elementary schools in Los Angeles to experience the education setting in America.
Diversity. This is the best word that I can think of to describe my opinion of America, including the educational environment. I worked at KIPP Elementary School for 2 months, during which I observed and worked closely with kindergarten students. I also worked with 3rd graders at 42nd StreetElementary School during the summer for almost a month. Coming from my hometown, which is Surabaya, I am used to just one culture. I only know about other cultures from the internet or television shows. During my time in the schools, I was exposed to several cultures, specificallyAfrican American and Latino/Hispanic culture. It was definitely a new experience for me, and I really learned a lot from it.