Is the world only in present? Have we ever thought about how future generations fulfill their needs? Are we aware enough of being sufficiently satisfied with our consumption? Did we realize about achieving the goal of sustainable development in many ways? At least those simple questions triggered me to think and rethink about what I have done for a better life and environment.
It was very pleasant for me to join two months exchange program in Graduate School of Economics of Kyoto University, Japan. Together with some mates from Thailand, Republic of Korea, The Philippines, Vietnam, Germany, Austria, China, and many more, I learned a lot about the concept of Sustainable Development specifically in East Asia context. Sustainable which is referred to the ability of present generation in fulfilling their needs without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs, seemed to be potential issue to be discussed and solved. So far, people are used to consume very limited resource, yet at the same time they forgot to reserve.
In the program I was so lucky to enroll in four classes; Comparative Development Studies, East Asia Economic, Environmental Management, and the last but not the least Field Research. Every class gave us brand new perspectives in taking an issue into account. The Sensei, how we call our teacher, were quite good in mediating us during a class. How they conducted a class, led a discussion, assigned some works, and encouraged students to be able to raise our opinion.
Comparative Development Studies had taught us about learning the meaning of development in other countries which were particularly more developed rather than most of South East Asia Nations. This subject was actually hold by Mr. Shuji Hisano, but then he invited two excellent professors; Ms. Maria Fonte form Italy and Mr. Ray Jussaume from Michigan University. Both had explained us how and why development was very important in human life by learning from the cases of Italy and States. That development was a utopia for present generation and the ideas to achieve its goal was in our hand.
East Asia Economy mostly talked about economy development in South East Asia like the occurrence of land grabbing in Cambodia, the development of SME, and how women entrepreneurship influenced economy in significant ways. The class was very encouraging since we discussed and shared our opinion based on what we experienced in our home country. It was more likely to open my eyes that there were a lot of issues to be concerned in Indonesia. Mr. Souk from Laos and Mr. Lambino from The Philippines were in charged in our class.
In Environmental Management Class, I met two totally different teachers. One is Ms. Inoue, Japanese who graduated from Oxford University, and Mr. Choy, a Malaysian who has concern in South East Asia environmental issues. We learned how to observe some companies in processing their product whether they were environmentally friendly enough or not. It was an area of important since many companies nowadays are aware of environmental sustainable development. Then in the end of the class, we were assigned to write a paper about how a company in our home country reflects the urgency of environmental management.
And the fourth class I took, probably the most interesting subject, was Field Research. Ms. Tokumaru was responsible for this class. We were brought to a Nuclear Power Plant in Tsuruga-Shiga, approximately 2,5 hours from Kyoto. We learned why Japan and other developed countries in the world should have reconsidered of using nuclear as main energy resources. We also visited Sake Brewery in suburb Kyoto and learned how Sake, something that makes Japan popular, were produced and distributed. And I eventually realized that Sake is more than traditional beverage. It is a part of history of Japan and that’s why it’s important to preserve.
Overall, taking part in exchange program was an honor and exciting experience. I could learn more, not only in my way of thinking, but also for being able to accept others notion. Nice ambience of Kyoto, friendly local people, and enormous historical sites were only some parts of why moving on from Kyoto was hard. I learned many about culture, languages, sustainable development, and the most noticeable part is that I learned my country more. And it is a trigger for me to do better for my beloved nation.