YOGYAKARTA- "The atmosphere is comfortable, clean, and the area is spacious," said Yofa, second-grader of the public high school of SMA Srengat in Blitar, East Java, whilst having an educational tour to UGM campus. Yofa was one of thousands of high school students in Indonesia who made the educational tour to UGM.
Luthfi (17 years old), second-grader of SMA II Cibinong said that besides the spacious buildings, it is refreshing and pleasant to walk around the UGM campus. Luthfi also considered that UGM is one of popular and excellent universities in Indonesia. "It is refreshing here, Sir. In addition, we also want to know many excellent departments here. Who knows I might be admitted to UGM," Luthfi said at the Faculty of Agricultural Technology, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Thursday (06/24/2010).
UGM actually has long been one destination of educational tourism in Yogyakarta. During holidays many high school students who will continue their study choose UGM as their tourism destination. "UGM has long been an educational tourism destination. We want to socialize more about the learning atmosphere on campus, " Head of Public Relations and Protocol UGM, Drs. Suryo Baskoro, M.S., said.
The fact is that every year there are approximately 130 high schools conducting educational tours to this campus, both from Java and outside Java. Besides to socialize the learning atmosphere, the educational tour is expected to raise awareness among the students in order that they learn harder because of the competition for admission to UGM. "During holiday, there are about 40 students per month making trips to UGM," Suryo said.
UGM educational tour can actually attract teachers and students of high school, let alone that there are alumni who have been admitted to this campus. This was reflected in Sunaryo’s comment, counsellor at SMA Srengat whilst accompanying his students. "This year, there were 32 of our students registering here and four were admitted. Last year, there were 18 applicants and eight of them passed the UGM written test," he explained. When visiting UGM, they can also directly obtain the latest information about the UGM test, tuition fees, or the favourite faculties or departments.
Likewise, Ayu Haryati, Head of SMA 3 Cibinong, said that although her school was only founded in 2006, the students wanted to be able to continue their studies atUGM, which has been known for quite progressive achievements. That explained her bringing her students for a visit to UGM.
Looking at the prospect of UGM educational tourism that continues to be increasing, researcher of Center for Tourism Studies, Prof. Dr. Janianton Damanik, hoped that the matter can be better designed, taking into account the substance. "They should not just come and see but they should visit and obtain information, for example, in the centers of studies or Paleo-anthropology museum, Faculty of Medicine, which I think is the only one in Indonesia," he explained.
He added, besides visiting museums or centers of studies, students can also be directed to the Koesnadi Hardjasoemantri Cultural Center for performing arts, or to the “Fitness Valley” for sport events. With the development of educational tours that focus more on the substance, it will become one educational tourism destination in Indonesia in the future. "It should be better designed, but at this stage we’re not thinking about the profit," he said.