From classroom to culture: the unforgettable IIsma experience in south korea

Indonesian International Student Mobility Awards (IISMA) is one of the most highly anticipated and prestigious programs Merdeka Belajar - Kampus Merdeka offers. Christoffel Tambunan, a Computer Science student from the Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, managed to secure his place as one of seventy-seven awardees to Hanyang University, South Korea. Through this opportunity, he can experience how it feels to study in an international setting for one semester and immerse himself in South Korea's rich culture. During his studies at Hanyang University, he could choose which courses he wanted to attend besides his major. Apart from Natural Language Processing, he took courses such as Contemporary Korean Studies and a digital marketing nano degree program on consumer behavior, content creation, and digital marketing. By taking these courses, he better understands how South Korea came to be now and how having multiple options causes different outcomes of consumer behavior and decision-making. A remarkable moment during his studies at Hanyang University was when the Professor selected and played his video assignment during the Contemporary Korean Studies lecture. He made new friendships with local and international students, which lasted even after returning home to Indonesia.

He and other IISMA Hanyang awardees held an Indonesian Culture Exhibition near the Hanyang Plaza to introduce Indonesia's rich culture and delectable cuisines. In this cultural exhibition, they have a WARMINDO (Warung Makan Indomie), where people could try different flavors of Indonesia’s famous instant noodle brand, Indomie, and drink various Indonesian drinks. Additionally, they have a booth for Indonesian souvenirs, such as wayang, batik, sarung, and other souvenirs. They explained where each souvenir came from, their use, and why they are meaningful to Indonesians. Coming from a Bataknese family, he also gave a precious souvenir to his fellow international friends and Professors, Ulos. It meant a lot for him because he introduced and explained his culture to people who had been a significant part of his academic and personal journey.

Becoming an IISMA awardee was an eye-opening moment for him. He gained so much knowledge that he could not obtain before in his major, which would be helpful for him in the future. Throughout his IISMA journey at Hanyang University, he has become a better and more independent student who strives for excellence. Being an IISMA awardee is an excellent opportunity for students to experience studying in an international setting, develop themselves, and make new friends from Indonesia and worldwide.