JOGJAKARTA (KU) – Community Empowerment Program Field Practice (KKN PPM) UGM attracts more foreign students. Starting from the year 2006, more than 150 foreign students from various countries such as the United States, Spain, Japan, South Korea, Austria, Norway and so forth, have been following this program. One of the universities is Ehime University, Japan. In the last two years they sent students to UGM. For this year, they sent 10 students to join the PPM service learning activities for 11 days, 9 to 21 August 2010. They are assigned to Banyusoca, Playen, Gunung Kidul Regency and Salamrejo, Sentolo Subdistrict, Kulon Progo Regency.
Director of International Affairs of Ehime University, Prof. Ruth Vergin, said that it is their second time to send community service students. She admitted that she was very impressed with the activities done by previous students. According to Vergin, the Japanese students, apart from establishing communication between different cultures, the 10 days experience can change their lifestyle, too." The students were very impressed last year. Although only staying for 10 days, the experience was able to change their way of life. Some of them even decided to continue their study to UGM," she said, Monday (9/8).
She did not know exactly, however, the problems that occur in the field last year. Therefore, she said that this year they picked up the theme of waste management program as it is practiced in Japan. The students will also collect various <iframe title="YouTube video player" width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/8eZHrZdEQ9Y" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> problems in the community as reference material for the program next year. "The problems that we collect can be used for the program next year," she explained.
Answering questions, Satoh Narihiro, a participant, said that his participation in the program is the first time. He hopes the experience can change his way of life. "Hopefully, this experience can change me," he said briefly. Similarly, Namba Taro, a student of science wants to learn more about waste management in Indonesian rural areas.
The responsible person for KKN PPM program for Ehime University, Dr. Fajar Falah Mohammad Affan, said that the program this time is expected to become means of exchange of relevant knowledge of local wisdom in terms of waste management. "The most important thing is to know the local wisdom of community. Perhaps society empowerment does not exist in Japan where the waste management is conducted by the government," said the lecturer of Faculty of Agricultural Technology of UGM.
Senior Vice Rector of Academic, Research and Community Service UGM, Prof. Dr. Retno. S. Sudibyo, in her remarks expected this activity can enrich the students’ experience about Javanese culture and science.
Retno expected that from this program, students can gain experience when interacting with the local community. "This activity is also expected to increase their awareness about the importanceto establish communication between different cultures," she said.