Photo: Muhammadiyah Jember University.
Jember (also Djember) is a city in eastern Java with a population of around 299,000.
This is the city Niar comes from, the city she has just left to travel to Jakarta. I am guessing, I do not know, that she studied at Muhammadiyah Jember University. I can understand how she felt when she left home.
In similar vein, Tikno's story Flood In Samarinda City suddenly told us where he was and gave us a picture of his life.
Many of us try to write serious posts. Niar and Tikno are no exception.Yet we all want to know more about the people we read. We also want to know more about their lives where these are different from our own.
I write a lot, perhaps too much, on very specific personal issues. I suspect that I get the worst of both worlds: serious and sometimes very local.
However, I do try to to explain things so that they will be understood by others from different worlds.
I don't want to make this post too complicated. All I really want to say is that the best conversations, and blogging is just that, mix the personal with the serious.
I obviously believe that there is a place in blogging for long - some times very long! - pieces. But isn't it nice sometimes to learn about people as people? And I find that I do learn from those pieces.
I have just spent an enjoyable twenty minutes browsing the English language version of the University's web site. To get there, click on the English language version on the top menu.
I was struck by the apparent similarities between my old University, the University of New England or UNE, and the University of Jember, UNEJ.
Both are located in university cities in rural areas.
UNE was established in part to serve its regional area, UNEJ provides services the agricultural areas of East Java. I quote from the welcome from the University's Rector, Dr. Tarcisius Sutikto:
About 45% of Indonesian labors are engaged as farmer who cultivate approximately 31 millions ha area, and East Java Province, where University of Jember (UNEJ) located, contributes more than 40% of the national agriculture products . Therefore UNEJ has vision to become an outstanding university in developing science and technology for sustainable agro-industry.
UNEJ is also focusing on the market needs for its course and research as well as the community development program, by offering more than fifty study programs. They cover various range of the most sciences including basic sciences and applied sciences. You will find most likely a study program that suits you!
UNE helped pioneer the study of Agricultural Economics in Australia, its Rural Science Department provided a range of research based services in conjunction with local research institutions, its university extension services carried adult education to a wide range of country communities.
Both universities emphasise the vibrancy of student life, something sadly lacking now in our huge metro universities. Both emphasise the welcome international students will receive from the local community. Both point to attractions in the surrounding country.
There are obvious differences between UNE's large area stand-alone campus on the edge of Armidale and UNEJ's apparent presence in town. There are obvious differences in the visual appearances of the two towns and of the surrounding countryside. However, the apparent similarities remain striking.
There are, I suspect, other similarities too.
Just as I left Armidale to work in Canberra after graduation, so Niar went to Jakarta. Australians who study at the big metro universities often, nearly always in the bigger metro cities, stay in the city after graduation. This is one of the reasons why Australia's regional areas have such great difficulty in attracting professionals.
If you go to UNE, then you will almost certainly leave Armidale to pursue your career. I suspect that the same is true of UNEJ and Jember.
I have really enjoyed my short tour of Jember and UNEJ.
It will be good when they get the Surabaya-Jember and Denpasar-Jember domestic fllights operating. At present, the connection appears to be by road. But then, too, the main connection to Armidale was by road or rail - the long trains packed with school and university students that used to mark the start and end of term are now a thing of the past.
I wonder whether UNEJ has considered its Australian marketing? Possibly not.
You see, that future plane connection from Denpasar turns Jember from a remote Indonesian destination into a short domestic hop away from the part of Indonesia that Australian already know best. Study at UNEJ whether short course or long and have a break in Bali on the way back. It sounds attractive to me!
PS. Like UNE does in English for its overseas students, UNEJ offers Indonesian language bridging courses.
A little more information provided by Niar:
Thank you for make a short review about UNEJ. Actually Jember not only has 2 Universities, but many. UNEJ is one of national universities in Indonesia, and the others is private Universities, like Muhamadiyah University. It is right that the agricultural faculty is the best faculty than others in UNEJ, and perhaps it has a similarity with UNE in Australia.
I had no idea. When I started I thought that Jember had one uni, then I found two, now I find multiple.