12 November 2018

Learning Diversity, Technology, and Spirituality in the ACUCA 2018

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An experience is something that money can’t buy. This expression describes my feeling once I was participating in the ACUCA 2018. I personally learned a lot, not only in the education aspect but also in moral and Christianity aspects.

ACUCA (Association of Christian Universities and Colleges in Asia) was established in Manila, Philippines in 1976. This is an annual conference and cultural sharing forum among students of Christian universities and colleges in Asia. The students were gathered to learn other countries’ cultures. The Internet’s Impact on Identity and Character Development of Students in Asian Christian Higher Education: Issues and Solutions” is the theme that we were discussing in ACUCA 2018. This program was held from October 11th to October 14th, 2018 in Christian University of Thailand Nakhon Phatom, Thailand.

The ACUCA 2018 has been a place for me since I get many benefits from it. I gain invaluable lesson not only learning new things but also sharing what I have and respecting the diversity around me. Since this was the first time I joined the international conference, I learned three aspects from the  ACUCA 2018. The first one is how I respect and appreciate diversity, the second one is how I see the impact of the internet on Christian university students character and identity and solve the problems, and the last one is how spirituality is having a big role in responding to nowadays issues.

In ACUCA 2018 I met a lot of people from eight countries to know their culture and learn new things from them. I saw the world in the bigger picture. I realize the world that I am living now is so small, and I need to see this world in the bigger picture. I learned the greetings in different languages. For example, in Thai, a woman says “sawadee ka” as hello and a man says “sawadee khap”. In Hindi, we can say “Namaste” and in Filipino, we can say good evening as “magandang hapon”. These greetings might be usual greetings that we can learn by ourselves. However, it was interesting when we learned those expressions from the person directly and responded to their native languages politely. This way, we actually apply what we call appreciating the diversity. Besides, I also learn their dances, their custom, and their food and drinks. I figured out how to make milk tea from Hong Kong. Moreover, as Indonesian representative, my friends and I presented and taught some dances such as Maumere dance and Dangdut.

Moreover, we were discussing on the Internet impacts, issues, and solution as a part of ACUCA theme this year.  We had a discussion in a group of four or five countries as well as in a group of the same country (Indonesia). We shared the impacts of the Internet, some raising issues, and their solution. For example, how plagiarism has been a common issue among the students. This phenomenon shows how the students tend to have something instant through the Internet. The internet has a big role and facilitates students to do research and homework. However, instant information and quick updates make us become a lazy person and we end up with not appreciating a process. The solution that I found is we need to share the awareness among all the university’s members including students, lecturers, and staff that a process is an important thing to be included in the learning activities. By giving continuous projects and homework, the students go through a process of learning and the lecturers monitor every single progress occur.

The last aspect that I learned from the ACUCA 2018 was about the implementation of Christian values in daily life. Nowadays, the spirituality has been forgotten by students. The existence of technology should support us to strengthen the spiritualit.  I believe that God lets the human invent the technology for good things.

To end my article, the ACUCA 2018 was a great experience that money really can’t buy. These experiences let me see the world in the bigger picture and in the other way also encourage me to learn English more so I can communicate with the world and understand others’ culture better. The most important thing is how I can share this wonderful opportunity that has a big impact to my life. In the future, I believe there will be other UKRIDA students have the same experience that might change their life. (Abigail Teja Sanger)


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