Greetings from Bandung, Indonesia!
I’ve spent the past couple of weeks contemplating themes for this blog. Yes, it will center on travel, teaching, and adventure. However, I fully intend on including a multitude of introspective posts. Based on the conversations I’ve been having with my cohort over the past 2.5 weeks, I know it will be necessary to include thoughts on the ethics of working abroad, teaching English as an American working for the Department of State, and being a bule (white foreigner) living in an impoverished community.
I hope that my followers will call me out on my bullshit. I want this blog to be interactive. I want my followers to ask me uncomfortable questions and force me to look at things from different perspectives. On a personal level, these are all things that I will be attempting to do during the year ahead, so any outside help would be much appreciated hehe.
In that vain…
During orientation, we had a session about Allyhood. Here are 5 steps to be a good ally based on this awesome YouTube video by @chescaleigh:
- Understand your privilege.
- Listen and do your homework.
- Speak up, but not over.
- Realize that you’re going to make mistakes, and apologize when you do.
- Ally is a verb! Saying you’re an ally is not enough– you’ve got to do the work!
Here’s a link for one of the articles we had to read pre-departure in case you want to explore this topic more. The blog itself, Black Girl Dangerous, is also fantastic: “No More Allies”.
What can I do to be a good ally this year? Shut up and listen. LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN. I need to continue to educate myself about Islam, read as many books as possible, and have as many educational conversations with Muslim friends as possible. The foundation of the Fulbright program is cultural exchange. Throughout orientation we’ve been challenged to think about what we can do to educate our fellow Americans about Indonesia. What can I do to help break the many stereotypes Americans have about Islam? Especially considering this current election season. Here are 2 fun facts to start…
- Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world (behind China, India, and the US).
- Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world.
Indonesia has one of the only (if not the only???) functioning Muslim democracies in the world. This fact was one of the reasons why I chose to do a Fulbright teaching assistantship here. I also wanted to experience a culture drastically different from anything I’ve ever know. I know it’s been less than a month, but I’m already falling in love with this country. The food is delicious, the people are incredibly kind, and I am high-key obsessed with my cohort. Spending the past 2.5 weeks in this insanely nice hotel (the ethics of government over-spending is something I will explore in a later blog post, I promise!), has been nothing short of wonderful. It is so damn refreshing to be surrounded by intelligent people who aren’t afraid to explore the world, discuss controversial topics, and be vulnerable together. You all inspire me.
Here are some of my favorite moments from orientation. (You can scroll over images for captions):
There are only 3 days left of orientation, and our counterparts have now arrived. I’m looking forward to mock teaching with my counterpart and to get back to my site! On to the next adventure 🙂