Indonesia’s position in global diplomatic relations, as a member of the G-20 and the founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), is helping to make the Indonesian language more widely known.
Its vitality extends beyond being the official and national language; it’s increasingly used internationally, demonstrating its significance, security, and widespread use.
This is evident from 428 institutions offering Indonesian Language for Foreign Speakers (BIPA) programs across 52 countries.
The BIPA program is offered at UGM by the Indonesian Culture and Language Learning Service (INCULS), Faculty of Cultural Sciences.
International students who wish to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate education at this institution are required to take Indonesian language courses.
It’s not just about language; students are also introduced to Indonesian culture, with activities such as practicing gamelan music and traditional dance.
Dobrin Tsvetanov Bugov (29 years old) from Bulgaria is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Anthropology at UGM.
He began learning the Indonesian language in 2013, during his undergraduate studies in Southeast Asian Studies at Sofia University in Bulgaria.
He had the choice of taking a course on Korean language and literature or Indonesian language and literature, and he opted for the latter.
“I initially had an interest in the Korean language. When the Indonesian Embassy in Bulgaria offered the Indonesian language course, I enrolled in it because it had four credits,” said Bugov during a talk show on October 19 at the UGM Faculty of Cultural Sciences.
After completing the Indonesian language and literature course, Bugov’s love for the Indonesian language motivated him to pursue a master’s degree in International Relations at UGM in 2019. Following that, he received a scholarship for a Ph.D. in the Anthropology program at UGM.
“I have never regretted studying Indonesian; many opportunities have allowed me to develop. I am very grateful,” Bugov said.
Andrew Mulabbu (40 years old) from Uganda has a different story. He began learning Indonesian in 2008 when he was awarded a Non-Aligned Movement scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in Remote Sensing at the UGM Faculty of Geography.
As he wasn’t fluent in Indonesian, he had to attend a year-long Indonesian language course at INCULS.
“I still remember carrying a thick Indonesian language dictionary everywhere,” recalled the Ph.D. student in the Geography program at UGM.
Anne Harvey (71 years old), an American woman, had a distinct reason for coming to UGM. She traveled to UGM to learn and speak Indonesian fluently.
“If other foreign students learn the language because they want to study, I genuinely want to learn it,” she said.
When she arrived at UGM in 2015, Anne was delighted that many of her fellow students and professors communicated with her in English. However, she still wished to learn to speak Indonesian from them.
“Everyone wants to speak English, they want to practice English, and, of course, I also want to learn Indonesian. Thank you very much for this; I can practice the language here,” she concluded.
Author: Gusti Grehenson