Learning through culture

Marosi Rimon Nakanacagi during one of her performances. Picture: SUPPLIED

The opportunity to travel to another country allows someone to interact with others. It also gifts someone the chance to open up and live new and unique experiences and cultures that can enhance human growth.

Those were some of the benefits that Marosi Rimon Nakanacagi enjoyed when she went on a three-month cultural exchange scholarship to Indonesia.

She said that trip of a lifetime had etched an indelible mark in her life and improved her sense of cross-cultural appreciation.

The trip was made possible through the Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship Program, hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.

Started in 2003, the program provides a non-degree scholarship for young people to learn in person about the arts, culture and local wisdom of Indonesia.

During the program, the participants are hosted in several art centres located in prominent Indonesian cities such as Jakarta, Bali, West Sumatra, East Kalimantan, and East Java.

The awardees then gather for a final performance of Indonesia Channel at the end of the program.

Forty-five individuals from 34 countries, in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Pacific participated in the unique cultural exchange.

The 22-year-old said she found out about the scholarship through the Indonesian embassy’s Facebook page, and decided to try her luck by sending an application.

“When I got the call from the embassy, I was shocked,” she said.

“I could not believe receiving the email from them. I still feel so blessed to be given the opportunity,” she said.

Ms Nakanacagi spent her three months in the city of Depok which is a landlocked city in West Java province, located directly south of Jakarta within the Jakarta Metropolitan area.

“My experience in Indonesia was the best thing that had ever happened in my life. It was my first time to travel abroad and to be in a city of Depok that had a population of over two million people was amazing.”

The Nawaisomosomo, Beqa native said the opportunity to visit the zoo, themed parks and contemporary museums were some of her most memorable moments.

Moreover, she said the trip enabled her to enjoy a new cultural experience.

Ms Nakanacagi was required to learm Indonesian dance forms as a cross-cultural learning tool.

“To learn Indonesian dance was a challenge at first as it was fast paced, unlike the slow and melodious Fijian dances but I enjoyed learning it.”

Ms Nakanacagi said she also admired Indonesia women’s eccentric costumes and jewellery, including gold, batik and silk materials and flamboyant headdresses.

The only thing she dearly missed during her travels was her family, but she was comforted by the fact that she was on a journey that taught her new ways of thinking and the importance of peacefully co-existing with others.

Ms Nakanacagi said since her return in August she had been sharing with her family and peers, rare insights about the Indonesian culture.

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