Over the past month, Bina Antarbudaya has held a series of events called “Belajar Budaya bareng Bina Antarbudaya.” This is the newest and latest program from our Volunteer Development Team, consisting of 4 weeks of intercultural learning about the culture and the language of one country, with different topics and speakers every week, using Zoom as the platform.
The speakers, our Returnees, who have been abroad for a year on an exchange program, presented the culture of their hosted country to the volunteers and prospective students throughout Indonesia. This program has proven to be successful to be a platform for our returnees to engage within the AFS network, despite the absence of in-person activities due to the pandemic.
For the pilot program, the first country we chose was Italy, with the theme “La Bella Italia, meaning “Beautiful Italy.” We specifically designed a curriculum for this program, with many factors taken into consideration, that can bring out the maximum result for the volunteer engagement.
These factors including the combination of the presenters in each session, namely choosing the returnees from both northern and southern part of Italy (due to its cultural difference), the substance of the presentation that must include language learning such as alphabets, numbers, vocabularies, verb conjugations, and conversational exercises, also as a review factor of what did the participants learn through a Kahoot quiz at the end of the presentation.
The theme for the first session was “Overview and Introduction” which covered the overview of Italian culture, including its geographical situation, demography, nature, for the language part including alphabets & numbers alongside the pronunciation, greetings, and self-introduction.
The second session’s theme was “Grocery Shopping” where the participants can learn how to grocery shop in Italy, including types of markets/stores where you can buy food ingredients, and homemade cooking including pasta as the essential Italian dish, all in the Italian language. In this session, we also invited an Italian student who was hosted in Indonesia, to share her exchange experience and pronouncing some of Italian words & sentences so the participants can learn directly from a native speaker.

In the third session, the topic was “Culinary and Daily Activities.” Our presenters showed the types of Italian food, cuisine, the ingredients, and verbs related to the theme. As for the daily activities, our presenters showed what types of activities are usually done by Italian people in a week and on special occasions.

And the theme for the fourth session was “Travelling and Music.” The presenters explained interesting places in Italy where Italian people would love to go to, seasons, weather, natural attractions, and types of Italian musical instruments, and music genre including the national anthem, traditional/folk song, and the popular one. In this session, our presenters specifically curated a music playlist on Spotify, so that the participants can enjoy Italian music afterward.

This program turned out to be very successful, with more than 100 registrants and more than 70 attendees each week. This program also got a high number of engagement on our Instagram, with thousands of likes for each post each week.
Seeing the success of this program, our Volunteer Development Team has decided to make this a recurring program until the end of this year, as one of many solutions to keep our volunteers engaged despite the current crisis situation.