SAAI Onsite Event in Jakarta Filled with Laughter and Smiles
For the first time after 2019, the much-awaited event “Reconnecting SAAI: Tighten Alumni Connection with Japan” was held onsite at Sari Pacific Autograph Collection, in Jakarta on Sunday, December 18, 2022. The number of guests totaled 83. JST and the SSC Secretariat wholeheartedly thank all three batches of SAAI coordinators, who dedicated their time to this event, amidst work, study and other responsibilities. Below, we bring main coordinator, Mr. Kadek Hendra Darmawan’s account of the event:
< The Opening >
The alumni meeting was kicked off by the opening session by Ms. Helen Kristin and Ms. Mutiara Auliya as the event’s master of ceremony (MC). The MCs warmly greeted the distinguished guest and all attendees.
The session is followed by greeting speeches. First, from SAAI representative welcoming the attendee. Through this speech, Mr. Kadek (SAAI Representative) highlighted some key points including how the Sakura Science Program (SSP) gave great memories and how this gathering aimed to reconnect and tighten alumni relation, and how success of SAAI depends on alumni participation.
At this moment, Mr. Kadek introduced the new SAAI coordinators to the attendee so that the alumni can be more familiar and be able to work together with them in the upcoming year. He also appreciated the coordinators from his batch for their dedication in the past year. He also thanked the full support from JST and JISTEC for the opportunity to hold the first offline alumni meeting, after the paucity of the pandemic.
Mr. Kazuhiko Aoki (Sakura Science Headquarters, JST) delivered the second speech in which he appreciated the attendees’ participation. He introduced the fact that “JST has invited 2400 students and researchers from Indonesia to participated in the various schemes of Sakura Science,” and that “JST is committed to support young people who can innovate in science and technology.” He also pointed out JST’s hopes for the alumni and Japan to stay connected.
After JST’s greeting, the video message from H.E. Kanasugi Kenji (Ambassador of Japan to Indonesia) was shown. Ambassador Kanasugi mentioned how SAAI activities and programs can build motivation in the field of research. He also pointed out that the survey results from majority of alumni who participated in SSP, were very positive. Participants are thoroughly satisfied with the exchange program itself.
Dr. Juandanilsyah, M.A. (Head of Subdivisions of Publications and Communications, MoECRT - Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology) was the last honorable guest who greeted the alumni. He pointed out that JST is giving many experiences to Indonesian students. In 2022, Indonesia was able to send students again to Japan through the Sakura Science Program (SSP). He pointed out that the certificate issued by JST is beneficial for high school students opting for university entrance in Indonesia. Ms. Rena Nuravianty and Ms. Bunga Chetahanastasia from MoECRT also attended the event.
With the guidance from the MCs, all attendees gathered for a group photo with the distinguished guests.
The next session was the alumni talk show, moderated by current SAAI main coordinator that invited three inspiring alumni.
< SAAI Talk Show >
Mr. Kadek kicked off the talk show by interactively asking a simple question to the attendees. The question was about collecting information on when most alumni went to Japan through SSP. From raised hands, the results were:
Two people from batch 2014
Six people from batch 2015
Two people from batch 2016
Many people from batch 2017-2020 (not able to be count)
Three people from batch 2022
The introduction to the talk show was delivered in Bahasa Indonesia for better engagement and attention.
After that, Mr. Kadek welcomed the speakers Mr. Andi Syamsul (SSP 2020), Ms. Ika Arofa (SSP 2018), and Mr. Egi Ramdhani (SSP 2016) to the stage. For the audience to get a rough idea, each speaker gave a six-minute presentation before an in-depth interactive discussion.
Mr. Andi presented about his personal experience on his transformation from “an unmanageable person” to be more productive individual after his SSP participation back in 2020. He explained about what he learned from the SSP program, which is self-regulation that successfully drove a major transformation that impact his daily life.
After participating at SSP at Kwansei Gakuin University in 2018, she had the chance to go back to the same university to pursue her master’s degree with the same professor. Therefore, in her presentation, Ms. Ika spoke deeply about her hand-on experience, living for two years in Japan, highlighting some key points on why she personally did not regret to learn about Japan. She thought it was one of best moment on her life.
Mr. Egi presented his experience on how his participation in SSP at Kobe University in 2017 was able to make a change in his current career path. He told personal stories about his communication with the Japanese professor under the SSP program which successfully inspired him to choose a non-mainstreamed major that he currently pursues.
After the brief presentations from each speaker, the talk show continued with a discussion. When asked “What is your suggestion to all alumni on realizing the small impacts from SSP in their life?” the speakers responded as follows:
Ms. Ika: “SSP is a golden ticket for study and career. Not only about science and technology, but also about work ethic.”
Mr. Andi: “The experience gives positive change.”
Mr. Egi: “SSP not only gave aspect about science and technology, but a lot about life. SSP is a golden buzzer for me.”
When asked “What is your final statement regarding the impact SSP can give to alumni’s life?” the speakers concluded as follows:
Ms. Ika: “SSP changed my life. Now I am a person with strong mentality who never gives up.”
Mr. Egi: “SSP has changed my entire life. Thank you for making me a new me. I am grateful.”
Mr. Andi: “SSP changed my self-regulation. I became a disciplined person.”
Mr. Kadek wrapped up the session by hoping that this talk show could serve as a thought-provoking moment to trigger the alumni to rethink about SSP’s impact on their lives.
< Study in Japan Session >
Ms. Rinjani Hanani Suyu from JASSO Indonesia Office successfully delivered a presentation about the entire process that needs to be taken for the alumni to continue their study within the Japanese higher institutions. She further provided the alumni with an interesting fact about the needed preparations and possibilities to get financial funding, or to supplement funds by casually working in various type of student jobs.
< Alumni Networking Session─The Heart of the Event >
The main activity beginning with a BINGO Game that successfully built a warm situation among all alumni. The aim of this BINGO games as mentioned by the MC was to give a chance for alumni to mingle and randomly meet up each other. It served as the heart of this meeting. Members were quizzed to guess others’ names using the initials of the BINGO table. If the table included the letter “R,” for instance, members would look for someone whose name starts with R. Alumni who managed to fill in the table received a special gift from Japan.
Overall, all alumni were superbly excited with the BINGO Game. Some of them perceived this activity as an effective and exciting way to know other members in a short timeframe.
At the end, six alumni who finished the BINGO sheet received the winners’ gift from Mr. Aoki.
After the BINGO games, the atmosphere was so much more relaxed and smiles were everywhere─on all alumni faces. The event continued to the Buffet Dinner where the alumni enjoy the meal while casually talking and sharing the moment.
< The Closing >
During the closing of the event, the MC prompted some alumni to give some concluding messages related to this two-hour alumni meeting. There were four alumni who voluntary came up to the stage to share his/her honest impression.
Ms. Salsabila (SSP 2019) said that she was truly happy to meet alumni after the pandemic.
Ms. Nikita (SSP 2018) mentioned that she is able to remember the experience altogether.
Mr. Kem (SSP 2019) highlighted that he got more information like website, to get to know more alumni, sharing stories.
Mr. Farid Ramdhoni (SSP 2015) prepared a special poem and read it for all attendees to hear.
At the end, the four alumni received a special Japanese gift presented by Mr. Kadek.
On behalf the event’s committee, Ms. Helen and Ms. Mutiara thanked all the SAAI alumni for their participation and effort even though the weather was not so good. The meeting ended with everyone chanting the SSC motto “Sakura Science Club─WE ARE ONE!!”
APPENDIX: Alumni Meeting Documentation
Comment from SAAI Main Coordinator - Mr. Kadek Hendra Darmawan
On December 18th, 2022 in Jakarta, the day started raining heavily but it is not impacting the enthusiasm of 83 alumni to attend the alumni meeting held at Istana Ballroom, Sari Pacific Autograph Hotel. The main event began as scheduled at 2 pm Jakarta time with almost three hours in total. Both alumni and the coordinators were so incredibly happy with the meeting, which is indicated by the smiles on each face.
“The SAAI BINGO Games was the highlight of the meeting”, one attendee came to me after the event and talk excitedly. Others also mentioned the talk show enlighten them to see how the alumni association impacts their life after completing their Sakura program in Japan. I was so happy to hear all the great comments coming from all alumni. Indeed, the three hours of the meeting are not enough to reconnect with each other physically after the fatigue of the online webinar event. Meanwhile, all the harmonious schedules of the event starting from the alumni talk show, Japan special education fair, each batch photo session, and reconnecting alumni activities through games and buffet lunch was well-prepared that successfully left good memories for the attended alumni.
This enormous success of the SAAI alumni meeting was a result of hard work and engaged communication from all coordinators of SAAI and JST/JISTEC from the last three months prior to the event. I, as the main coordinator (the president), appreciate the never-ending support from the Japanese government, in this case JST/JISTEC, for the alumni-empowering activities.
We acknowledge this on-site alumni meeting is yet able to reach the wide alumni connection which lives sporadically around the archipelago of Indonesia. Therefore, I encourage future alumni meetings to be held parallelly in some cities so would be able to accommodate the alumni who live in the east part of Indonesia. Thank you.
Mr. Kadek Hendra Darmawan, M.Sc.
SAAI President 2021-2022