Sustainable Development Goals on Asean Youth Initiative Conference 2016 – Nurhildayati’s Story

Asean Youth Initiative Conference (AYIC). This very first conference made by the students of Padjajaran University brought me to go deeply into some issues of ASEAN especially my country, Indonesia. This event was held in UNPAD Training Centre, Bandung for … Continue reading

Pre-Service English Teacher EPIC Camp 2017 -Deadline November 15, 2016

What is Pre-Service English Teacher EPIC Camp? This camp is for selected talented 4th year university students who will be future teacher of English. In an engaging, interactive format with expert teachers and American professionals, selected participants will explore innovative … Continue reading

Open Registration – MITRA Mentoring Program 2016

Gambaran Umum

Project MITRA Mentoring merupakan program bimbingan atau asistensi kepada para calon pelamar program kepemudaan, pertukaran pelajar dan beasiswa dengan sasaran project adalah mahasiswa atau orang muda Indonesia Timur yang akan dilaksanakan selama 3 bulan sejak Januari sampai dengan Maret 2017.

Ruang Lingkup

Adapun ruang lingkup program dalam MITRA Mentoring terdiri dari:

1.Pra-mentoring (Sosialisasi)

  • Survei Awal Program
  • Undangan Kolaborasi dengan Pemuda/i ASEAN
  • Pembukaan Registrasi Online
  • Seminar bersama para mentor dan mantee
  • Pembukaan Registrasi Offline

2.Mentoring (Implementasi)

Bimbingan program beasiswa, pertukaran pemuda dan pengembangan diri.

Program beasiswa yang akan dibimbing terdiri dari:

  • Karya Salemba Empat (KSE)
  • Van Deventer Maas-Stichting (VDMS)
  • Lembaga Pengelola Dana Pendidikan (LPDP)
  • Australia Awards Scholarship (AAS)
  • Indonesian Arts and culture Scholarship (IACS) dan
  • Summer School for Applied Math;

Program pertukaran pemuda yang akan dibimbing mencakup:

  • Pertukaran Pemuda Antar Negara (PPAN) dari Kementerian Pemuda dan Olahraga
  • Kapal Pemuda Nusantara (KPN)
  • Young Leaders for Indonesia (YLI)
  • YSEALI Academic Fellowship Program
  • Camp EPIC dari US Embassy
  • Indonesia Australia Pastoral Student Program (IAPSP);

Program pengembangan diri yang akan dibimbing mencakup:

  • Bimbingan Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) dan
  • Debat Bahasa Inggris.

3.Post-mentoring (Pembuatan buku dan kaset Mentoring)

Adapun kuota mentee yang akan dibimbing sangat terbatas dengan mempertimbangkan keefektifan dalam bimbingan. Sebagai bentuk kompensasinya, salah satu output dari program ini adalah pembuatan buku dari bahan daur ulang (environment friendly) dan pembuatan kaset MITRA Mentoring yang berisikan langkah – langkah pengisian formulir dan kumpulan contoh essai untuk masing – masing program, bonus informasi program kepemudaan lainnya yang tidak terimplementasi dalam program mentoring (Model United Nation (MUN), Asia Pacific Week (APW), ASEAN Youth Initiative Conference (AYIC), Be a Young Leader on Disaster (Beyond) ASEAN, bonus tips mendaftar berbagai program lain oleh peserta YSEALI dari berbagai negara di ASEAN dan link – link program kepemudaan yang tidak terimplementasi dalam program mentoring. Buku dan kaset MITRA Mentoring akan diperbanyak untuk dipergunakan oleh pemuda/i yang tidak berkesempatan bergabung dalam program mentoring.

Keunggulan dari MITRA Mentoring ini adalah dibimbing langsung oleh mentor MITRA dan mentor tamu dari Negara ASEAN lainnya yang dapat dilaksanakan via online maupun face to face, serta fleksibel. Sasaran dari program ini adalah para mahasiswa dan pemuda di kawasan Indonesia Timur.

Syarat pendaftar: Pemuda/i (Mahasiswa dan Sarjana dari semua bidang keilmuan) dari Kawasan Indonesia Timur (Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi, Papua, dan Maluku).

Link Pendaftaran : click di sini

Deadline Pendaftaran : 14 Desember 2016

Jangan lewatkan kesempatan berharga untuk mendapatkan bimbingan langsung tentang program-program Beasiswa, Pertukaran Pelajar, dan Pengembangan Diri secara gratis dari mentor-mentor MITRA dan mentor tamu dari negara-negara ASEAN lainnya yang tergabung dalam Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative.



A Brief Summary of My Journey with YSEALI Academic Fellowship-Fall Program 2016 – Albert Soewongsono

Being a representative from Eastern Indonesia in this year’s YSEALI Academic Fellowship was such an amazing experience. But I intend to make sure that this experience will not just be a benefit for myself, but also for my communities back at home. This five-week program of learning and seeing new things has taught me to be more equipped on how to realize what I can do for others. I was so blessed to able to learn about America’s social movements from the amazing teachers at the Northern Illinois University. Coming from a scientific studies background, I had only a little knowledge about the U.S. past social movements, but like a wise man once said: It’s never too late to learn new things; Indeed, I have been so inspired about influential figures in the civil rights movements, such as Dr. King, Rosa Parks, and Congressman John Lewis led people to fight for shared goals. At the end, what all of those leaders had accomplished made them become a part of history. During our study tour to places in the South, such as to Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery, we visited museums, parks, sculptures, and other historical places dedicated to these great people. These statues symbolized how the current generations remembered and commemorated the result from their works for communities. These legacies have had profound impacts on the U.S. for example, the Selma-Montgomery march in 1965 led to the freedom of vote for colored people in the U.S. to Sit-ins action and bus boycott leading by the freedom riders to end the segregation among white and colored people in the state.

My five-week journey in the U.S. was not only about learning about what had happened in the past, but also about learning from fellow delegates and seeing how things work here. I do hope that these thoughts that I am going to share with you can influence you to be a leading agent in your own communities.


Watching an American Football Match at the University Stadium


Takin A Selfie Picture with Our American Ambassador After Lunch


Group Photo After Volunteering at Feed My Starving Children in Sycamore, Illinois


Taking Photo with the Director of Northern Illinois University during the Closing Ceremony


Lessons to be brought back to Indonesia

Apart from things that I have mentioned before, I want to look back on few positive things that I think can be implemented in my country, especially to my hometown.

1. Access for people with disabilities

Disability rights were one of our lecture sessions we learned at the university. On this lecture, we were taught about the rights for people with disabilities, how they view the world and non-disability people view them as well as how the surrounding environment be adjusted for them. The concept of Universal Design is a concept of creating an environment that not only matches with people with disabilities, but also with non-disability people. The university where we studied is a disabled-friendly building as can be seen by its facilities for disabled people. During our trip in Chicago, we visited a non-profit organization, called Access Living which works to equip people with disabilities with skills to overcome social barriers in their lives. In addition, they had applied the concept of universal design in their office building. In Asia, providing proper access for people with disabilities is still a major problem. For instance, we rarely see people with wheelchair or other related equipment accessing different places here. In contrast, I observed there,- was that people with disabilities wanted to be viewed as normal people and they also can do things like what normal people do, but again, proper facilities are needed.


After the Group Tour at Access Living, Chicago


This Photo Shows that Mentally-Disabled People Can Also Be Productive like Normal People (Opportunity House, Sycamore)

2. Appreciation to nation’s history

I think, American people really appreciate their nation’s historical figures based on how they preserved the history. When we traveled to places in the South, such as Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery, we saw how museums there are not a boring place. The exhibits are beautifully and creatively displayed to engage visitors. One day in Birmingham, we were walking around 16th Baptist Church and Dr. King’s park where we came across with a guy who suddenly approached us and started telling us a story about events happened on that area in the past. I think, if we didn’t cut the conversation, that guy would keep telling us story for a long time. He earns money by doing that, and what makes me mesmerized was, he really knew about the history in a great detail. One of the benefits of preserving history is, it can boost tourism. For example, when I was in D.C, I saw tons of visitors taking photos or relaxing in places like Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, or around Smithsonian Museums. In each of those places, souvenir shops are available for visitors that want to buy authentic goods from those places. To be more emphasized, in the city centre, buildings like President Lincoln’s assassination site and the house where he died are still preserved up until now.


One of the Popular Tourist Spots in D.C. : Lincoln Memorial


Another Example on How This Nation Appreciates its Past Leaders: Jefferson Memorial


Dr. King’s Giant Sculpture in Washington D.C.


Replica of President Lincoln and His Family Being Displayed in Lincoln’s Presidential Musum in Springfield, Illinois


The Statue of President Roosevelt and His Dog

To conclude this story, I intend to say that this 5-week program has taught me with lots of new things and experience. In the next few weeks with my organization, MITRA, we will launch our mentoring program to provide direct access for young people in Eastern Indonesia about youth opportunities, such as scholarships, soft-skill developments, and exchange opportunities. Like most people already know, creating impacts must start from your own communities. (MITRA Mentoring’s Facebook Page:

P.S. Further references about YSEALI can be found through these links:







Some Useful Tips on Applying for YSEALI Academic Fellowship Program by Albert Soewongsono


Participants of Young Southeast Asian Leader Initiative (YSEALI) and International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) with Mrs. Heather Variava from the Consulate General U.S Surabaya

Written by Albert Christian Soewongsono-YSEALI Academic Fellow 2016 (Fall Program) at Northern Illinois University

“Young People Like You Have to Be the Ones Who Lead Us Forward” (Barack Obama)

Hi everyone, it has been a great pleasure for me to share some tips, based on my experience, on how to apply for YSEALI Academic Fellowship Program on Civic Engagement. A month ago, I was announced by e-mail to participate in this youth-based program, representing as the delegate from Eastern Indonesia.  To get until this step, there was a long process and effort I had to take, and also a good time management because at the time, the interview process through Skype was held during my 3-month IELTS preparation course from LPDP at UIN Sunan Kalijaga. For those who do not know before, the selection of this program is divided into two steps, application screening and interview selection.

YSEALI is established in 2013 by the U.S. government, is a media to develop leadership skills and to connect with other youths across ASEAN region. One of its programs is YSEALI Academic Fellowship which targets undergraduate students and recent graduates aged 18-25 that show both outstanding academic achievements and social activities. This fellowship program allows the participants to study about five weeks in collaborated U.S. universities in fields of Civic Engagement, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, or Environment. Besides that, the participants will also get the opportunity to do study tours, interact with local communities, and present a future project in front of policymakers and government representatives at the end of the program in Washington D.C. So, what to prepare in order to be selected into this program?

1. Determining which field you want to participate in

Before starting to fill the application form, it is necessary to check your area of interest whether in Civic Engagement, Economic Development, or Environment. You must spend some time to think about it because later on, you will need to write a short personal statement based on area that you have chosen. I suggest you to recall about your past and current activities or work to help determining the field. If your activities involve community engagement, you can apply for Civic Engagement, but if your works are related to environmental protection, you may be eligible to apply for Environment.

2. Finding someone to recommend yourself

One of the requested documents is to submit letter of recommendation from someone that know you and your activities really well. There is no limitation for the number of the letters you can submit, but please bear in mind that quality over quantity. At the time, I only submitted one letter of recommendation, and it was from Dr. Maria Lobo, my lecturer at Nusa Cendana University and the Indonesian coordinator of the UniBRIDGE Program ( The letter content must explain about your academic record and your social work. For your additional information, there is no official letter format from the committee, so it is up to you to decide the format, but in case you have no idea about it, you can search it online or see the attachment of my recommendation letter in this article.

3. Recalling your past social activities and organizations where you involve in

In the form you will be asked to list all social activities and organizations that you have involved, complete with the date and your role. You are not allowed to submit any certificates to prove that you really did the activities, so my suggestion is better for you to attach links that explain every activity you have listed, if possible, as the evidence. I think, by doing this, the reviewer will be able to know more about yourself and your responsibility in each activity, and this could be an extra point for your application to be selected. If you do not have any by now, I strongly recommend to start writing and publishing your past social activity experience on your personal blog or other online media.

4. Writing an outstanding personal statement

This step is very essential because you will be able to demonstrate yourself in more details, but you will not be allowed to write more than 250 words, so make it concise is necessary.  You will need to write about yourself in brief, your current or future project, and what you expect to gain by joining this program that can be beneficial for your yourself and your community. Spending some time on this step is suggested as well as asking for help from friends or someone to do a proofreading. To give you a reference on writing a good personal statement, you can see on mine attached in this article.

Foto 1

In front of the Consulate General of the United States of America in Surabaya, Indonesia

After following those steps, you are now ready to fill the application form. Besides the information, such as personal statement, social work lists, and recommendation letter, you will just have to fill some personal details before sending your application to Keep yourself updated for the registration date by always checking YSEALI Facebook page “Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative” or through this website:

The first selection process usually takes about a month before being announced through e-mail, so always check your e-mail near the period. The next step is the interview, and it will be conducted through Skype for around 15 minutes by people at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, or people at the Consulate General in Surabaya. There are some tips for the interview that you might consider to use.

  •  Be ready on Skype in 15-30 minutes before the scheduled time

It is always good to apply this step because you will have more time to relax yourself before the interview starts, and in some cases, the interview can be conducted before the scheduled time if the interviewer has finished earlier with the previous participant. Don’t worry; the committee will also remind you to be ready before the time.

  •  Read again your application form on the day before the interview

After a month waiting for the first selection result, you probably have forgotten some details from your application, so it is always good to recall the details back by reading again your application form, including your personal statement.

  •  Practice answering the questions

Usually questions from the interview are related to what you wrote on your application. Guessing questions that might be appeared and practice with the questions is recommended. For example, you may be asked about your current and future project as well as your passion. Remember that practice makes perfect.

  •  Give nice impressions throughout the interview

This includes your body language, your attitudes, and the way you deliver your answer. Giving a good impression to the interview surely will give you an extra point. Show to the interview that you have high passion to join the program by speaking with no hesitation and fluently.

  • Be yourself

Some people may try to imitate other’s ways of giving speech, but this will make your answer sounds unnatural. So, be yourself is important to show the interview what kind of individual you are.

Foto 2

With the other participants in front of Consulate General of the United States of America in Surabaya, Indonesia

Stay tuned for more news related to this program by always checking our facebook page and blog. I will be leaving on the next September, and I am feeling more than happy to share the stories with you all. If you intend to know more about the selection process and the program itself, please do not hesitate to approach me through my e-mail address: Wishing you all have a wonderful day today.

You may also read my personal statement as well as recomendation letter which I used to apply for this program :

Personal Statement-Albert Christian Soewongsono

Letter of Recommendation-Albert Christian Soewongsono

For more useful tips, you can also check this article written by my friend, Janu Muhammad who participated in this program early this year.


By. Laen Sugi Rante Tandung-MITRA’s Friend from Makassar

“A ship without a sail will be lost in the sea. That is us without our history as our guidance”

It was such an honored for me to be representative of Indonesia during ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program  in  Malaysia 2014. Here I had a chance to share also  discuss with 50 leaders around ASEAN region which came from different backgrounds who were aware of existence of ASEAN Cultures and youth participation  in facing ASEAN Community 2015 especially from ASEAN Socio-Cultural side where the youth involvement are really important.

Every year ASEAN Secretariat collaborates with AYVP and USAID to make youth projects which aims to tackle world issues in ASEAN Region. In 2014, the theme was heritage conservation. We were assigned to do a documentary project of heritage cultures in Kuala Lumpur and Malaka in 6 weeks program. Thousand of valuable knowledge from expertise on how to preserving ASEAN Cultures was something that we gained. On the first week of our project I was trained by Head of ASEAN Secretariat, Pangeran Negeri Sembilan, UNESCO expertise and lecturers in University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). Moving to Kuala Lumpur on the second weeks we are documenting 3 main cultures: Malaysia, India, and Chinese. I myself was assigned to documenting and interviewing Chinese traders along Petaling Street.

From Kuala Lumpur we moved to Malaka on 3-4th week of the program, Malaka is a heritage city by UNESCO where we learned about heritage conservation, handicraft and traditional foods, and history of Makala itself. I was fascinated by the way they managed by the tourism here, especially on Jonker Street road where thousands of foreigners comes to settle especially on the weekend and  especially how government make a target on number incoming tourist in Malaka, something that our government is not aware off. At the last week, everyone is assigned to learn ASEAN Cultures who are different from theirs. I have a chance to learn about Malaysia and Cambodian traditional dances.

This program is held every year with different theme. In order to pass this program make sure you are aware of several things related to your application form. Here are some tips to pass this program;

  1. The essays is consist of two essays, the first one is about the reason why you should be selected and second question is about your post project in your community. In order to answer the first essay, Make sure you make a clear motivation about yourself in limited 250 words: write your personality that might be beneficial for this volunteering program(such as social minded person or passionate learner), volunteering activities(the more related it is the better the outcome will be) how impactful the program and post program will be if you are involved in, your future activities and goals related to the program put all related background, and how your involvement is going to impact you or your community.
  2. Make a huge impact proposal, here you will be asked about your future project; make it briefly. Tell the targeted location and participant(let passionate youth to be part of your program), why is it important in your community, the addresses issues and do not forget to involved others to join your program and try to think the sustainability of the project.
  3. Lastly, before you send your application form make sure someone proofreading yours to check your grammar, to check whether your application has some grammatical errors.